COVID-19

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Nine out of 10 COVID-19 patients in Dubai unvaccinated: Dubai health official

Health|: Dubai: Nine out of ten COVID-19 patients hospitalised and admitted to intensive care unit in Dubai are unvaccinated, a senior health official announced on Saturday. According to Dr Alawi Al Sheikh Ali, Deputy Director General of Dubai Health Authority (DHA), eight out of ten people who tested positive for COVID-19 were also unvaccinated. “Studies have shown that the vast majority of COVID-19 infections are detected among those who did not receive the vaccine,” Dr Alawi said. He added that several studies conducted in coordination with the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Dubai Data of the Smart Dubai Department, have proven the efficiency of vaccines and it has also been proven that they are compatible with the studies announced globally. More than 2.3 million people vaccinated In an interview with Dubai TV, Dr Alawi revealed that more than 2.3 million people have so far taken the COVID-19 vaccine in Dubai after six months of launching the first vaccination campaign in the emirate. He clarified that 83 per cent of target groups and eligible people have received the first dose while 64 per cent of them have taken the two doses. Dr Alawi revealed that 20 per cent of the target groups in Dubai have not taken the vaccine at all. “This is an important message to everyone. We need to reduce the number of infections among all target groups. Our ambition now is to vaccinate 100 per cent of the target groups," the Deputy Director General of DHA said, calling on everyone to take the vaccine in order to avoid any possible repercussions that may result from COVID-19 infection.

GulfNews UAE

Nine out of 10 COVID-19 patients in Dubai unvaccinated: Dubai health authority

Health|: Dubai: Nine out of ten COVID-19 patients hospitalised and admitted to intensive care unit in Dubai are unvaccinated, a senior health official announced on Saturday. According to Dr Alawi Al Sheikh Ali, Deputy Director General of Dubai Health Authority (DHA), eight out of ten people who tested positive for COVID-19 were also unvaccinated. “Studies have shown that the vast majority of COVID-19 infections are detected among those who did not receive the vaccine,” Dr Alawi said. He added that several studies conducted in coordination with the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Dubai Data of the Smart Dubai Department, have proven the efficiency of vaccines and it has also been proven that they are compatible with the studies announced globally. In an interview with Dubai TV, Dr Alawi revealed that more than 2.3 million people have so far taken the COVID-19 vaccine in Dubai after six months of launching the first vaccination campaign in the emirate. He clarified that 83 per cent of target groups and eligible people have received the first dose while 64 per cent of them have taken the two doses. Dr Alawi revealed that 20 per cent of the target groups in Dubai have not taken the vaccine at all. “This is an important message to everyone. We need to reduce the number of infections among all target groups. Our ambition now is to vaccinate 100 per cent of the target groups," the Deputy Director General of DHA said, calling on everyone to take the vaccine in order to avoid any possible repercussions that may result from COVID-19 infection.

GulfNews World

‘More efforts needed to end polio in Pakistan’

Pakistan|: Islamabad: More efforts are needed to reach the levels of government leadership, drive, and use of real-time data to beat Polio in Pakistan, according to the disease monitoring body of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Shahina Maqbool in The News International said that while the Polio Oversight Board (POB) has acknowledged the Pakistan government’s commitment at the national and provincial levels to end polio, the monitoring body believes “more is needed to reach the levels of government leadership, drive, and use of real-time data” as efficiently witnessed in the country’s COVID-19 response.” The POB has called upon the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health to strengthen government leadership of the Polio Eradication Programme by appointing senior officers of the Ministry of National Health Services to the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) for Polio Eradication; ensure regular engagement at the NEOC, and participating in review meetings with provincial Chief Secretaries and Ministers of Health following Supplementary Immunisation Activities (SIAs). According to The News International, Shahina said: “Similarly, while energetic leadership is available at the NEOC and PEOCs, more government staff need to be engaged in the programme at all levels.” The POB sees the current trough in virus transmission as an important opportunity to be capitalised because the “next six months are critical to setting up the programme to stop transmission in 2022.” Concluding an important meeting in Islamabad, the visiting members of the highest decision-making body in GPEI has offered strategic direction to Pakistan’s future efforts for polio eradication with a set of recommendations encompassing three key stakeholders--the government of Pakistan, GEPI partners, and the NEOC. According to a copy of the recommendations, the POB has encouraged the government to continue domestic financing of the polio programme in 2022 through development of a PC1. Importantly, it has also advised NEOC to update the National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) for Polio Eradication on priority basis, capturing agreed activities of the entire partnership; and to signal any updated resource requirement on an urgent basis for 2021 and 2022. The POB has recommended that the Chief Secretaries and Ministers of Health in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh “protect their hard-won gains by routinely reviewing the programme’s success in reaching chronically missed children in priority communities,” and that the Chief Secretary and Minister of Health in Balochistan engage Deputy Commissioners on performance management accountability linked to quality improvements in the polio programme.

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Afraid of needles, COVID-19 vaccine? 12-year-old student in Dubai has a solution

Health|: Dubai: Taking the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine turned out to be a happy experience for 12-year-old Siddharth Menon. The perky, micro blogging, preteen from grade 8 of Gems Modern Academy loves Mathematics and History and wants to be a career diplomat when he grows up. Soon after his first vaccination dose, Siddharth immediately tweeted about the experience, tagging a whole lot of people. A cheerful post-vaccination tweet In the tweet, Siddharth — displaying wisdom and eloquence far beyond his age — recently uploaded his photograph getting vaccinated, saying: “Had to miss the class for this one. Luckily I missed only one because of the vaccination drive at this centre was so well-organised! Thank You UAE! We are privileged indeed!” ‘I was very afraid of needles’ What was not mentioned in the tweet, however, was the fact that Siddharth was afraid of needles but managed to overcome the fear. Sharing this story with Gulf News, Siddarth hoped his experience would help allay similar fears in others too. “For many days, I could not get my head off the thought that I would willingly submit to an injection. The school authorities had told us that we would have to take the vaccine. I am afraid of needles and was very nervous. However, I went ahead and took the appointment at the designated Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Centre in Al Twar, near my home. “My throat was dry and I felt a bit agitated in anticipation of the sharp jab. However, as soon as I entered the centre and was greeted by a very cheerful health-care professional who got my name registered, I felt better. The centre was very well-organised. The room where I was to receive the vaccination was very cosy and the nurse very friendly. As I sat on the chair, she made me laugh. I felt completely at ease.” ‘Happy thoughts calmed me’ Siddharth said: “She took my blood pressure, which was normal as I had already begun deep breathing and was thinking about happy memories — like my happiest birthday, the time I had my favourite meal and the happy memories of a family outing. I thought of my grandparents with whom I have spent many a happy summer and am longing to meet them again. I did not feel any pain as I received the jab. It was over so soon. I feel very happy that I took this decision.” Siddharth's social media post after receiving his first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Image Credit: Screengrab Siddharth added: “I experienced a slight stiffness in the area of the jab, but that subsided quickly. It was certainly worth taking a holiday from school. I am looking forward to my next dose on June 23. That will provide me immunity and a chance of attending regular school from September.” ‘Be safe and keep the community safe’ “I want to tell all other 12-year-olds, not be afraid of the injection. It is easy to deflect the pain by thinking of a happy memory and relaxing. Just a second of discomfort can keep you safe and protected from this terrible virus and that is worth the trouble definitely. We are blessed to be in the UAE, where the authorities have taken all the necessary precautions to protect people of all ages from the pandemic. It is our responsibility now to go ahead and make sure we all are safe. All of us must play our part so that we can win together this battle.”

GulfNews UAE

Afraid of needles, COVID-19 vaccine? 12-year-old student in Dubai has a solution

Health|: Dubai: Taking the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine turned out to be a happy experience for 12-year-old Siddharth Menon. The perky, micro blogging, preteen from grade 8 of Gems Modern Academy loves Mathematics and History and wants to be a career diplomat when he grows up. Soon after his first vaccination dose, Siddharth immediately tweeted about the experience, tagging a whole lot of people. A cheerful post-vaccination tweet In the tweet, Siddharth — displaying wisdom and eloquence far beyond his age — recently uploaded his photograph getting vaccinated, saying: “Had to miss the class for this one. Luckily I missed only one because of the vaccination drive at this centre was so well-organised! Thank You UAE! We are privileged indeed!” ‘I was very afraid of needles’ What was not mentioned in the tweet, however, was the fact that Siddharth was afraid of needles but managed to overcome the fear. Sharing this story with Gulf News, Siddarth hoped his experience would help allay similar fears in others too. “For many days, I could not get my head off the thought that I would willingly submit to an injection. The school authorities had told us that we would have to take the vaccine. I am afraid of needles and was very nervous. However, I went ahead and took the appointment at the designated Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Centre in Al Twar, near my home. “My throat was dry and I felt a bit agitated in anticipation of the sharp jab. However, as soon as I entered the centre and was greeted by a very cheerful health-care professional who got my name registered, I felt better. The centre was very well-organised. The room where I was to receive the vaccination was very cosy and the nurse very friendly. As I sat on the chair, she made me laugh. I felt completely at ease.” ‘Happy thoughts calmed me’ Siddharth said: “She took my blood pressure, which was normal as I had already begun deep breathing and was thinking about happy memories — like my happiest birthday, the time I had my favourite meal and the happy memories of a family outing. I thought of my grandparents with whom I have spent many a happy summer and am longing to meet them again. I did not feel any pain as I received the jab. It was over so soon. I feel very happy that I took this decision.” Siddharth's social media post after receiving his first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Image Credit: Screengrab Siddharth added: “I experienced a slight stiffness in the area of the jab, but that subsided quickly. It was certainly worth taking a holiday from school. I am looking forward to my next dose on June 23. That will provide me immunity and a chance of attending regular school from September.” ‘Be safe and keep the community safe’ “I want to tell all other 12-year-olds, not be afraid of the injection. It is easy to deflect the pain by thinking of a happy memory and relaxing. Just a second of discomfort can keep you safe and protected from this terrible virus and that is worth the trouble definitely. We are blessed to be in the UAE, where the authorities have taken all the necessary precautions to protect people of all ages from the pandemic. It is our responsibility now to go ahead and make sure we all are safe. All of us must play our part so that we can win together this battle.”

GulfNews Entertainment

Salman Khan to announce two big Bollywood projects, rumoured to be Hindi remakes of ‘Master’ and ‘Khiladi’

BollyWood|: Salman Khan is no mood of slowing down. Despite ‘Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai’ garnering not so favourable reviews last month, the rumour mill in Bollywood claims the actor is poised to announce two big projects in the near future. One of the touted projects happens to be the Hindi remake of Vijay’s box office hit, ‘Master’ if sources are to be believed. The adaptation of the Tamil hit will be produced by Endemol Shine India and Murad Khetani, in association with Seven Screen Studios that co-produced and distributed the original actioner. Vijay in Master Image Credit: Supplied “The Lokesh Kanagaraj-directed venture was shown to Salman earlier this year before the junta curfew was imposed. It revolves around alcoholic professor JD, portrayed by Vijay, who takes up a teaching job at a juvenile home,” a trade source told Indian daily Mid-Day. The source further added: “Salman was excited about the movie and agreed to do it in principle. But things did not progress swiftly due to the lockdown. Now, the producers will meet him again to discuss the minor tweaks in the script, the possible dates for the shoot and the director.” The other big film on the horizon for Khan is a Hindi remake of yet another South Indian film, this time it is Telugu star Ravi Teja’s movie ‘Khiladi’, which has yet to release. According to several media reports, Khan has snapped up the remake rights of the film. Besides Tejas, the upcoming action thriller also stars Dimple Hayathi and Meenakshi Chowdhary Arjun. Teja plays a double role in the movie. Ravi Teja in Khiladi Image Credit: Supplied Khan already has a busy roster ahead of him with several projects in the pipeline after facing delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the world. Khan will be seen in ‘Antim: The Final Truth’, where he stars alongside his brother-in-law Aayush Sharma. The veteran actor also has ‘Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali’ in the works with Sajid Nadiadwala, along with ‘Kick 2’. However, the first release everyone is anticipating in ‘Tiger 3’, which sees Khan reprise his role of a RAW agent and will also see Katrina Kaif return to the project. The film is expected to resume shooting over the summer and the crew will be heading to Europe, according to reports, what with several countries now reopening to tourists post pandemic.

GulfNews World

At new 'Corona Mata' temple in UP village, people flock to pray for relief from COVID-19

Offbeat|India|: Pratapgarh (Uttar Pradesh): People in a Shuklapur village in Uttar Pradesh's Partpagarh district have been seen flocking to a neem tree where a 'Corona Mata' temple has come up, to offer prayers seeking protection from the deadly COVID-19 virus. Villagers claimed, "After witnessing the coronavirus pandemic and its deadly impact which snatched lives of thousands of people, we decided to set up Corona Mata temple under a 'neem' tree with full belief that praying to the deity would definitely offer respite to people from the deadly disease." A white idol named 'Corona Mata' has also been placed at the temple. The idol also wears a mask. People were seen offering prayers and sweets. The temple took shape after villagers collected donations for it. "Villagers collectively decided and set up the temple with belief that praying to the deity would definitely offer respite to people from the corona virus, which has claimed so many lives," a villager said. While they gather to worship the 'Corona Mata' idol and seek safety for people in Shuklapur and adjoining areas, the villagers are careful to follow COVID-19 safety protocols. They remind people to wear masks and maintain social distancing. A notice on the temple wall where the idol has been installed bears this notice 'Use mask, wash your hands and maintain distance. Only yellow colour flowers, fruits, sweets and others are allowed as offering'. This UP village is not the first in the country to set up a temple whose diety has been named after the disease. It has been seen, especially during the times of epidemics or natural disasters, like the chicken pox, plague or cholera goddesses were worshipped in the belief they will protect the villagers and ward off the disease. Last month a temple in Tamil Nadu' Coimbatore consecrated a 'Corona Devi' idol to protect people from the deadly COVID-19 virus. Consecrating deities to protect people from deadly diseases has been in practice for many years, said the priest at the Kamatchipuri Adhinam temple. In the early 1900s when Coimbatore district was hit by the plague, its residents seeking relief had reportedly offered prayers at the Plague Mariamman Temple.

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From the verge of depression: Indian expat in UAE shares his journey of becoming a ‘celeb’ poet

UAE|: Dubai: An Urdu poet from India living in the UAE feels more should be done to promote the love for poetry, especially in mother tongues and local languages of diverse populations. Amaan Haider Zaidi, who uses the pen name Haider Amaan Haider, has done live shows across the world and is a judge on poetry reality shows on India’s national TV channel. Though poetry has influenced people across the world over centuries, currently there is a need to make better use of social media to promote poetry among the young generations, says Haider. Haider feels there is a need to make better use of social media to promote poetry among the young generations Image Credit: Supplied Haider told Gulf News he realised the power of poetry in changing lives when he found refuge in poems when he was on the verge of depression following a personal tragedy seven years ago. “I had very depressive thoughts those days,” he recollected. To help himself get distracted from such thoughts, some of his friends took him to a mushaira (an evening social gathering at which Urdu poetry is read, typically taking the form of a contest). Source of inspiration After listening to some of the poems recited by renowned Urdu poet Manzar Bhopali, Haider said he fell in love with Urdu poetry once again after his school and college days. “I love Manzarji’s way of reciting and his poetry as well. Then I started following his poems and slowly I became close to him. With that my interest in poetry became deeper and I started writing poems.” He said he took guidance from senior poets to correct or polish his initial poems. Once his talent started getting noticed, he got opportunities to recite poems in many stages in the UAE and abroad. “I am from a small village named Walipura in Uttar Pradesh and brought up in Rishikesh in Uttarakhand,” said Haider. A post graduate in Economics, he has been living in the UAE since 2008. Over the past seven years that changed him into a poet, he has recited poems in mushairas and mehfils in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, India, Sri Lanka and across the Middle East. He has also received wide media coverage in India. Being selected as one of the celebrity judges of the first Urdu-Hindi poetry talent hunt on India’s national TV channel Doordarshan was a major milestone in his literary life. “Getting selected on the judging panel along with Hindi poet Ashok Chakradhar and Bollywood lyricist Sameer Anjaan was a big achievement for me. I just couldn’t believe when the producer of the show Gajendra Singh invited me to be a part of the show on TV with such famous figures,” said Haider. Several events this month The grand finale episodes of the pre-recorded show titled Sau Karod Ka Kavi will be telecast from June 21. Just as his first TV show is winding up, Haider has been offered another chance to be on the judging panel of a Bhojpuri singing reality show. He has been invited once again to be part of the second season of Sau Karod Ka Kavi, the shooting for which would begin once the COVID-19 situation in India becomes better. This month, Haider took part in a 132-hour record-setting virtual poetry event which aims to be the largest online mushaira and kavi sammelan (gathering of poets). UAE home of opportunities “There are many Indian poets. But not everyone gets a good platform. Being in the UAE, I have been lucky to get a lot of opportunities,” said Haider. Living in the UAE has also given him the opportunity to be friends with several Urdu poetry lovers from other countries, especially Afghanistan, including top diplomats and cricketers from the country. He is also a regular participant of cultural events hosted by Indian missions in the UAE. Haider is a big fan of poems written by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai as well as Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. “I read the translated versions of their poems. They are beautiful and meaningful. It is my big wish to meet both Their Highnesses,” he said. Most of his poems are related to patriotism and his love for India. “My heart beats for both India and the UAE. This country has given us a lot. I have tried my best to help people here during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Haider, who is currently working on his first poetry book. A poetic mission A selection of around 100 poems would be featured in the book to be titled Apni Amaan Main Rakhna (Keep me safe under you). “My mission as a poet is to send good messages to the society. Through my poems, I try have to convey the messages of peace, love, unity and happiness. “I want to tell the new generation that winning and losing are part of life and they should keep trying when they face any setbacks in life. It is sad to see many youngsters ending their lives for silly reasons. Reading is very important for the young generation. They can read poems and other creative works even online. That will help them expand their horizons and keep a positive mindset,” Haider said.