Mohamed Iqbal Pallipurath

COVID-19 Myths and Facts

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.


FACT: Coronavirus transmission in hot and humid climates



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Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.

There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.




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Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease

Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

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The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

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Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.




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Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?

UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.




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How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.

However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.




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Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.




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Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?

No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.




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Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. 

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.




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Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.




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Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. 

WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.




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Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.




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Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.




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Rolling updates on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Rolling updates on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Updated 23 March 2020




• A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China on 31 December 2019.

• WHO is working 24/7 to analyse data, provide advice, coordinate with partners, help countries prepare, increase supplies and manage expert networks.

• The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020.

• The international community has asked for US$675 million to help protect states with weaker health systems as part of its Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

• On 11 February 2020, WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease: COVID-19.

• To stay up to date, follow @DrTedros and @WHO on Twitter, read WHO’s daily situation reports and news releases, and watch our regular press conferences.


WHO and FIFA team up on campaign to kick out coronavirus

23 March 2020

WHO and FIFA launched the “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign, led by world-renowned footballers. The campaign promotes five key steps for people to follow to protect their health in line with WHO guidance, focused on hand washing, coughing etiquette, not touching your face, physical distance and staying home if feeling unwell.

“We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “FIFA has teamed up with WHO because health comes first. I call upon the football community worldwide to join us in supporting this campaign to pass the message even further. Some of the greatest players to have played the beautiful game have put their names to the campaign and are united in their desire to pass the message to kick out COVID-19.”

Twenty-eight players are involved in the video campaign, which is being published in 13 languages.


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Pleased to launch “Pass the message: 5 steps to kicking out ” campaign, together with @FIFAcom Gianni Infantino & @Alissonbecker. I thank them for their active involvement in passing the message against the pandemic since the very beginning!

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Key materials:

Video: Pass the message: Five steps to kicking out coronavirus

News release: Pass the message: Five steps to kicking out coronavirus – with social tiles

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 23 March 2020

Youtube recording of media briefing

Video clips for broadcasters 

WHO Health Alert for coronavirus launches on WhatsApp 

20 March 2020

To increase access to reliable information, WHO worked with WhatsApp and Facebook to launch a new WHO Health Alert messaging service today. The WhatsApp-based service will provide vital information about COVID-19 to millions of people through their mobile phones. The services uses an AI chatbot to provide updated information on the pandemic, including how to protect yourself, questions and answers, and the latest news and press coverage. The Health Alert service is now available in English and will be introduced in other languages next week. This is part of WHO’s wider initiative to work with technology companies to get accurate health information into the hands of people that need it at this critical time.


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

I am proud to announce that today we launched a new @WHO Health Alert messaging service via @WhatsApp. This service will provide the latest news & information on , including details on symptoms and how to protect yourself. To subscribe, click here 

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Key materials:

News release 

Link to receive messages from the WHO Health Alert on WhatsApp


Young people “are not invincible” 

20 March 2020 

Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the Director-General said: 

“Although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared.

Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.

Today, I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you.

Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.

I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus.”


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Young people are not invincible from . The could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you. Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else. 

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World Health Organization (WHO)
Replying to @WHO

“I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word & not the virus. Solidarity is the key to defeating #COVID19 – solidarity between countries, but also between age groups. Thank you for heeding our call for solidarity, solidarity, solidarity”-@DrTedros #coronavirus

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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 20 March 2020

Youtube recording of media briefing

Video clips for broadcasters


#AskWHO on disability considerations during COVID-19 

19 March 2020 

The impact of COVID-19 is “felt by different groups in different ways”. 

Expert Lindsay Lee emphasises that everyone has a critical role to play to protect people with disability during the COVID-19, in her #AskWHO public Q&A session. 


World Health Organization (WHO)

on disability considerations during . 

Who @WHO

#AskWHO on disability considerations during #COVID19. #coronavirus
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Key materials:

Periscope recording of the #AskWHO on disability considerations during COVID-19 



UN Secretary-General calls for solidarity, hope and political will

19 March 2020 

The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis unlike any in the UN’s 75-year history. 

During his press briefing on COVID-19, UN Secretary-General António Guterres asked world leaders to come together and offer an urgent and coordinated global response.


Key materials:

YouTube recording of the press briefing 



WHO Regional Office for Africa holds joint COVID-19 media briefing with World Economic Forum 

19 March 2020 

Speakers included Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa and WHO Country Representatives Dr Lucile Imboua-Niava (Senegal) and Dr Owen Kaluwa (South Africa). 

Many questions remain about how the pandemic will evolve in Africa. Of particular concern is the potential vulnerability of the roughly 26 million people living with HIV, and the 58 million children with malnutrition on the continent. 



Dr Matshidiso Moeti

briefing moderated by @wef earlier today. This is one of the biggest health challenges Africa has faced in a generation. Adopting approaches which are adaptable to the African context is key to containing the spread.

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Key materials 



Launch of SOLIDARITY trial 

18 March 2020

WHO and partners are launching an international clinical trial that aims to generate robust data from around the world to find the most effective treatments for COVID-19. The SOLIDARITY trial provides simplified procedures to enable even overloaded hospitals to participate. 


Soumya Swaminathan

Research and development is an important part of our response @WHO—18-march-2020 

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 18 March 2020
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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 18 March 2020

Periscope recording of the media briefing

Video clips for broadcasters



More than 320 000 learners enrol in online COVID-19 courses 

18 March 2020

Real-time training during global emergencies is critical for effective preparedness and response. 

The OpenWHO Massive Online Open Courses for COVID-19 provide learning resources for health professionals, decision-makers and the public. More than 320 000 learners have already enrolled.

As the pandemic continues to evolve, new resources will be added, additional language versions will continue to be rolled out, and existing courses will be updated to best reflect the changing context.

Courses include: 
Operational Planning Guidelines to Support Country Preparedness and Response

Infection Prevention and Control

Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs) and basic hygiene measures to protect against infection

Clinical Care Severe Acute Respiratory Infection

Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

The Massive Online Open Course at  has now over 323,000 enrollments for courses. This platform was developed in 2017 as part of pandemic preparedness together with the “managing epidemic” handbook. 

Welcome to OpenWHO

OpenWHO is WHO’s new interactive, web-based, knowledge-transfer platform offering online courses to improve the response to health emergencies. OpenWHO enables the Organization and its key partners…
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More information: 

Managing epidemics: key facts about major deadly diseases


WHO calls for urgent, aggressive actions to combat COVID-19, as cases soar in South-East Asia Region

17 March 2020

The World Health Organization today called on Member states in South-East Asia Region to urgently scale-up aggressive measures to combat COVID-19, as confirmed cases cross 480, and the disease claims eight lives.

Key Materials

Press release


New guidance on people affected by humanitarian crises 

17 March 2020

To avoid the neglect and stigmatization of individuals in groups such as asylum seekers, internally displaced people and refugees, this interim guidance outlines ‘Scaling-up COVID-19 Outbreak in Readiness and Response Operations in Camps and Camp-like Settings’. 

WHO jointly developed the guidance with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 


World Health Organization (WHO)

NEW: guidance on preparedness & response in humanitarian situations incl. in camp & camp-like settings 

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Key materials: 


#TogetherAtHome online concert series starts 

16 March 2020 

Chris Martin played a mini gig at home to kick off #TogetherAtHome, a virtual no-contact concert series that aims to promote physical distancing and taking action for global health, presented by WHO and Global Citizen. More Solidarity Sessions are planned to promote health, to show support for people who are staying at home to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, and to encourage donations to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.


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Chris played a mini gig at home earlier today on IG Live. @glblctzn @WHO @JohnLegend #TogetherAtHome

A post shared by Coldplay🌙☀️ (@coldplay) on 



Key materials:

Instagram video of Coldplay #TogetherAtHome session

COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund



“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded.” 

16 March 2020

Countries should test every suspected case of COVID-19.

If people test positive, they should be isolated and the people they have been in close contact with up to 2 days before they developed symptoms should be sought out, and those people should be tested too if they show symptoms of COVID-19. 

WHO also advises that all confirmed cases, even mild cases, should be isolated in health facilities, to prevent transmission and provide adequate care.

But we recognize that many countries have already exceeded their capacity to care for mild cases in dedicated health facilities.

In that situation, countries should prioritize older patients and those with underlying conditions.


World Health Organization (WHO)

“We have a simple message for all countries: test test test. Test every suspected case. If they test positive, isolate them & find out who they have been in close contact with up to 2 days before they developed symptoms & test those people too”-@DrTedros

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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 16 March 2020

Full video of Press Conference – 16 March 2020

Video clips for broadcasters




WHO Mission to Iraq covers detection and response 

15 March 2020

The mission, which comprised experts from the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office and from WHO headquarters in Geneva, held a series of meetings with national health authorities to identify the disease detection dynamics and at-risk populations, in addition to providing guidance on strengthening response and control measures.

The mission also reviewed the Ministry’s overall readiness to deal with a potential increase in case reporting and the priority of establishing an Emergency Operation Centre to speed up action now that the disease has been announced as a global pandemic.


WHO Iraq

Head of @WHOEMRO team of experts Dr. Rana Hajja held a joint press conference with the MOH minister tdy. Dr Hajjih stressed the collective responsibility for containing the spread of the virus by protecting ourselves, families, and the community. 

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See WHO Iraq’s other Tweets



Key materials:

News release  

Video clip from MOH and mission press conference 


Launch of #SafeHands Challenge 

13 March 2020 

WHO launched the #SafeHands Challenge to promote the power of clean hands fo fight the coronavirus.

To support the challenge to encourage people to clean their hands with soap or alcohol-based hand rub, Twitter created a new #HandWashing emoji. 

Heads of State, footballers, singers and more have already taken part, with more people nominated to join the challenge every day. 



Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

There are several measures you can take to protect yourself from . One of the most important ones is regular & safe hand hygiene. Here are the steps recommended by @WHO 👇 Show the 🌍 where and how you wash your hands. Join the WHO challenge!

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Europe becomes epicenter of the pandemic

13 March 2020

Europe now has more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China.

More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

5,000 people have lost their lives to – this is a tragic milestone. Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China. 

World Health Organization (WHO)

Media briefing on #COVID19 with @DrTedros. #coronavirus 

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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 13 March 2020

Periscope reading of press briefing

Video for broadcasters 


Updated clinical guidance 

13 March 2020


World Health Organization (WHO)

Updated clinical guidance covers: 🔹Early case recognition 🔹Guidance for care of children, pregnant women, adults & older people 🔹Managing cases 🔹Infection prevention & control 🔹Sample collection & an update on investigational therapeutics 👉 

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Key materials 

Interim guidance: Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection when novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection is suspected



WHO, UN Foundation and partners launch first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

13 March 2020

A new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Solidarity Response Fund will raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund, the first-of-its-kind, enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts, and has been created by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with WHO. 


World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO, @unfoundation and partners launch first-of-its-kind Solidarity Response Fund. More 

Embedded video
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Key Materials:

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

Press release

Audio file of press conference – 13 March

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 13 March 2020



Expert mission to Iran concludes

12 March 2020

A five-day expert mission to Iran with experts from WHO, GOARN partners, Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and the Chinese Center for Disease Control has concluded.

“Everybody in the country is engaged in this response. The right and timely public health measures implemented on [an] adequate scale will make a difference,” said Dr Richard Brennan, WHO Regional Emergency Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region and mission team lead.

Looking forward, Dr Brennan said more work needs to be done to protect health workers. The mission also held constructive discussions on ways to advance epidemiological data collection and analysis.



.@WHO mission to IR was impressed w/ sanitariums set up to receive recovering patients & mild cases, when needed. The team has shared recommendations on case management, epidemiological analysis, infection prevention/control & monitoring the overall response.

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Key materials:

News release


Azerbaijan welcomes WHO mission

12 March 2020 

During its 5-day mission, a team of WHO experts worked with the national response committee on developing a national preparedness and response plan for COVID-19.

The Government of Azerbaijan is contributing to global efforts to address COVID-19, coordinating with neighbouring countries, and has pledged US$ 5 million to WHO’s strategic preparedness and response plan.

Key materials:

News release





WHO characterizes COVID-19 as a pandemic

11 March 2020

Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the WHO Director-General said: 

“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.

We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.

Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.

We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.

And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time.”


World Health Organization (WHO)

🚨 BREAKING 🚨 “We have therefore made the assessment that can be characterized as a pandemic”-@DrTedros

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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 11 March 2020

Periscope recording of the press conference




WHO issues schools guidance with UNICEF and IFRC

10 March 2020

WHO, UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) outline critical considerations and practical checklists to keep schools safe, with helpful tips for parents and caregivers, as well as children and students themselves. 


Henrietta H. Fore

In coordination with @WHO and @ifrc, we’ve issued guidance for schools, teachers, parents and caregivers for the prevention and control of . 

COVID-19: IFRC, UNICEF and WHO issue guidance to protect children and support safe school operations
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Key materials 

News release

Guidance: Key Messages and Actions for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools 



Mental health and COVID-19

10 March 2020

WHO is providing guidance to help people manage fear, stigma and discrimination during COVID-19.

In the #AskWHO film below, expert Aiysha Malik answers public questions about mental health and preventing stress during the outbreak. 



World Health Organization (WHO)

on mental health during . Ask your questions to our expert Aiysha Malik. 

Who @WHO

#AskWHO on mental health during #COVID19. Ask your questions to our expert Aiysha Malik.
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Key materials 

Guidance: Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak

#AskWHO Q&A with Aiysha Malik 


“The rule of the game is: never give up.”

9 March 2020

“We are not at the mercy of this virus,” said the WHO Director-General at the 9 March media briefing.

All countries must aim to stop transmission and prevent the spread of COVID-19, whether they face no cases, sporadic cases, clusters or community transmission.

“Let hope be the antidote to fear.

Let solidarity be the antidote to blame.

Let our shared humanity be the antidote to our shared threat”



World Health Organization (WHO)

“Now that the has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real. But it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled. The bottom line is: we are not at the mercy of this virus”-@DrTedros

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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 9 March 2020

Periscope recording of the press conference



Interim guidance on critical preparedness, readiness and response actions

8 March 2020

Drawing on existing materials, this guidance describes the preparedness, readiness and response actions for four different transmission scenarios:

1. No cases

2. Sporadic cases: 1 or more cases, imported or locally detected

3. Clusters of cases in time, geographic location and/or common exposure

4. Community transmission: larger outbreaks of local transmission


World Health Organization (WHO)

Every country should urgently take all necessary measures to slow further spread and to protect health systems from becoming overwhelmed with patients seriously ill with 

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Key materials


Marking 100 000 cases 

7 March 2020 

Marking this sombre moment, WHO reminded all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities.

Every effort to contain the virus and slow the spread saves lives. These efforts give health systems and all of society much needed time to prepare, and researchers more time to identify effective treatments and develop vaccines. 

Allowing uncontrolled spread should not be a choice of any government, as it will harm not only the citizens of that country but affect other countries as well. 

We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity. Every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the healthcare system, the workplace or the transport system. 


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Today for the first time 100 countries are reporting cases. This comes after the 🌍 reached 100,000 cases yesterday. While very serious, this should not discourage us. There are many things everyone, everywhere can and should do now. 

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Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

When and how to use masks


Getting workplace ready

Healthy parenting



These materials are regularly updated based on new scientific findings as the epidemic evolves. Last updated 18 March 2020


Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.


Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

  • Follow the guidance outlined above.
  • Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
  • If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.



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Be Ready for coronavirus

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Be Smart if you develop


Be Smart & Inform


Be Safe


Be Kind to support


Be Kind to address stigma


Be Kind to address fear


Protect yourself and others from getting sick










How to cope with stress during 2019-nCoV outbreak



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Stay healthy while travelling







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Uighur and the coronavirus crisis

Don’t forget the Uighur amid the coronavirus crisis

The world has been indifferent to the plight of the Uighurs, leading some to claim that coronavirus may be a punishment.

Men seen praying at the mosque at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 3, 2019 [Ben Blanchard/Reuters]
Men seen praying at the mosque at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 3, 2019 [Ben Blanchard/Reuters]

When a people are subjected to the most unimaginable forms of cruelty at the hands of a brutal regime and prominent world powers are unwilling to take any meaningful steps to stop that cruelty, where and what do they then turn to? When a tragedy strikes the government that abused them, could they be excused for believing it to be divine intervention?

The largest mass atrocity occurring in the world today, unfortunately, speaks to this sad reality. 

The Uighurs and other mostly-Muslim Turkic minorities in China are being subjected to the most brutal forms of oppression and the Chinese government’s so-called “re-education camps” are holding over a million of them out of sight. 

To counter any criticism of its treatment of the Uighurs, China has employed a language of “de-radicalisation” that has been normalised throughout the world by repressive governments to mask their own policies of death and destruction. 

While other groups that suffer under inhumane policies either at the hands of their own governments or others often find themselves championed by a competing force and score some gains while being used as a political football, the Uighurs do not seem to qualify even for that.  

Last month, US President Donald Trump signed a new trade deal with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, bringing the two-year trade war between the two superpowers to an end and making his administration less willing than usual to even mention the gross human rights violations committed by the Asian giant.

While most Muslim minorities oppressed by non-Muslim nations have at times, though decreasingly, received support, charity or at least some lip service from Muslim majority countries, the Uighurs did not get any of that either. 

Days after a group of 22 nations signed a letter addressed to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calling on China to close down its internment camps in Xinjiang, a group of 37 countries, many with overwhelmingly Muslim populations, submitted a similar letter in defence of China’s policies. In the second letter, the signatories expressed their opposition to “politicising human rights” and reiterated China’s defence of what it calls “vocation education and training centers”. 

The greatest explanation for this behaviour, aside from the general decline in all forms of Muslim solidarity, is China’s economic chokehold on the Muslim world. Most Muslim governments who depend politically on the United States for protection, depend on China for their economic survival. Given that Beijing is known for not taking criticism of its human rights record laying down, censoring China over its treatment of Uighurs simply comes at too high an economic cost for most Muslim nations. 

As a result of all this, the world largely remains mute on the plight of Uighurs, with their suffering only being mentioned in occasional news reports by a few media organisations.

In December, as the world continued to turn a blind eye to the plight of the Uighur community, a coronavirus outbreak began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. In a few months, the deadly virus infected tens of thousands of people in mainland China, killing more than 1,000 people. 

As the epidemic grabbed headlines across the world, and the international community made the outbreak its utmost priority, a debate sparked among Muslims and especially Uighurs: could the outbreak be God’s punishment for China and the world’s horrific treatment of Uighur Muslims? 

Before I write another sentence, I need to emphasise that this article is not an attempt at whataboutery. I am not trying to minimise the deaths of more than 1,000 people or the threat the virus poses to the world.  I’m simply attempting to explain why a growing number of Muslims, and especially Uighurs, are asking whether the outbreak is divine intervention. 

While many have been exposed to this debate solely through social media, I actually had a chance to speak to Uighurs themselves about it. They told me how their family members and loved ones disappeared into China’s internment camps. They told me how they felt utterly abandoned by world powers, especially the Muslim ones. And they admitted to me that when the epidemic started, they felt deep down that it may be divine aid for them. They said they couldn’t help but feel that way even though they know making such a determination is theologically flawed. 

In Islam, God determines what, who, and how he punishes in a way that is only known by him, and to opine on divine intent is to claim access to God’s unique knowledge, which no one can. We also hold that what may be a punishment to some, could be a reward to others.

Some told me that they feel sorry for the Muslims, and innocent people of other religions, suffering in Wuhan, but hope that China would economically and politically collapse for its crimes. And every single Uighur I’ve spoken to have agreed that apathy to tragedy, which they have suffered the most as a result of, is not only un-Islamic but merciless. 

But as we emphasise the un-Islamic nature of such claims and feelings, we should not ignore the injustices that sparked these sentiments in the first place.  

Why are the Uighurs wasting away in internment camps not receiving the same level of support people infected with the coronavirus do? Why does the suffering of the Uighurs receive only a fraction of the media coverage the victims of the epidemic are receiving? Is it only because the virus has the potential to spread across the world and infect others, or is there a more sinister reason why the world does not seem to care about the Uighurs?

So much of what common Chinese people are now experiencing as a result of the outbreak is similar to what the Uighurs have long been experiencing at the hands of the Chinese government.  

Before anyone was quarantined for coronavirus, the Uighurs were quarantined by the Chinese government – first in their homes and neighbourhoods, then in literal concentration camps. 

Before Chinese people were forced to cover their faces with masks due to the virus, hijabs and niqabs were being pulled off the heads and faces of Uighur women. 

Before the coronavirus spread throughout China, putting the freedom, health and wellbeing of millions of innocent people at risk, millions of innocent Uighurs were already being imprisoned, tortured and killed because they had the “virus” of Islam.

And long before the Chinese government was suspected of covering up the number of deaths and confirmed infections to carefully control the narrative about coronavirus, it was covering up its systematic abuse of the Uighur people.

Nevertheless, the same international community that swiftly came together to work to bring an end to the devastation caused by the virus and ease the suffering of its victims, did almost nothing to stop the suffering of the Uighurs.  

The coronavirus epidemic is undoubtedly a horrible tragedy that has caused more than 1,000 deaths in China, and it may cause even more devastation elsewhere in the future. It is no small deal, and our hearts should go out to the families of those left behind as well as people still living with the fear that they or their loved ones may soon catch the virus. We should do everything we can to contain the virus and encourage our leaders to take action to end this crisis as soon as possible. 

But we should also understand the feelings of the Uighurs who are now forced to watch the outpouring of  support, in part, towards the government that abused them. They are simply trying to come to terms with a reality in which their tragedy is ignored but the tragedy of their oppressors remains in the headlines. 

While it is wrong to definitively speak of God’s will in any matter, let alone a devastating disease outbreak indiscriminately affecting millions of people, we can certainly try to understand why Uighurs cannot help but feel that way. 

Also, as we worry about the spread of the virus, we should spare a minute to think how this new tragedy may affect the Uighurs themselves. After all, if the coronavirus was to spread through the closed, cramped camps holding scores of Uighurs, we almost certainly would never learn the full extent of their devastation.  

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.  


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China just laid out how it wants Google to help it persecute its Muslim minority

It looks like China just laid out how it wants Google to help it persecute its Muslim minority

ALEXANDRA MAOCT 14, 2018, 15:30 IST

google china

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018.Aly Song/Aly Song

  • Chinese regional authorities recently laid out the kind of speech suppression that Google will likely have to facilitate for the country’s persecuted Muslim ethnic minority to launch its new product in China.
  • Regional authorities in China passed new laws on how to crack down on its Uighur ethnic minority, which includes heavy surveillance, policing, and censorship from tech companies.
  • Google has received a lot of backlash from rights activists and even the Trump administration for its China plans.

Chinese regional authorities recently laid out the kind of speech suppression that Google will likely have to facilitate for the country’s persecuted Muslim ethnic minority to launch its new product in China.

Authorities in Xinjiang, a region in western China, on Tuesday, passed new local laws demonstrating how officials should root out banned speech to fight so-called religious extremists.Around 11 million Uighurs, a mostly-Muslim ethnic minority, live in Xinjiang, and are subject to some of the most intrusive surveillance measures in the world, which include being monitored by 40,000 facial recognition cameras across the region, and having their DNA samples and blood types recorded.

Tuesday’s laws made clear that authorities want tech companies to play their part in the surveillance, policing, and silencing of the Uighurs. Beijing justifies its crackdown in Xinjiang – also known to Uighurs as East Turkestan – as a counterterrorism measure, though it’s denied UN inspectors access to the region.

Google could be complicit in this persecution if its secretive plans to launch a censored search engine – codenamed “Project Dragonfly” – become a reality.

china xinjiang uighur phone

Muslim Uighur women on a cellphone in Kashgar, Xinjiang, in April 2002.Kevin Lee/Getty

Article 28 of the new laws orders telecommunications operators to “put in place monitoring systems and technological prevention measures for audio, messages, and communication records” that may have “extremifying information.”

Forms of “extremification,” as laid out in the laws, are vague. They include “interfering” with people’s ability to interact with people of other ethnicities or faiths, and “rejecting or refusing public goods and services.”It’s not entirely clear what they mean, but authorities have detained Uighurs in the past for bizarre reasons like setting their watch to two hours after Beijing time and growing a beard.

According to the laws, when telecommunications companies find content unsatisfactory to the Chinese state, they will also be ordered to “stop its transmission, delete the relevant information, keep evidence, and promptly report the case” to Chinese authorities.

The companies will also have to “assist the public security organs in conducting a lawful disposition,” which likely means giving up users’ personal information – such as their addresses – so Chinese law enforcement can find them.

Sundar Pichai

Google CEO Sundar Pichai.Getty

Google complicit if it enters China

Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, which would block out websites and search terms unsavory to the ruling Communist Party – such as human rights, democracy, and religion, The Intercept reported this August, citing leaked documents.

An early prototype of the search engine also showed that Google would link Android users’ searches to their personal phone numbers. This means that individual users could have their online activity easily monitored, and be at risk of detention if Google passed on the data to the Chinese government.

Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping looks on during a signing meeting with Maldives President Abdulla Yameen at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China December 7, 2017.REUTERS/Fred Dufour/Pool

Chinese tech giants have passed on user data and the contents of private conversations to Chinese law-enforcement in the past. Earlier this year, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced that law-enforcement officers could obtain and use private conversations on WeChat, the popular messaging app, in legal proceedings.Shortly after Google’s China plans were made public, 14 human rights organizations wrote a public letter to Google CEO that said: “Google risks becoming complicit in the Chinese government’s repression of freedom of speech and other human rights in China.”

US Vice President Mike Pence last week slammed Google’s China plans, saying: “Google should immediately end development of the ‘Dragonfly’ app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers.”

china uighur uyghur security checkpoint police

tability is a blessing, Instability is a calamity, Yarkand, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China on September 20, 2012 in Yarkand, China.Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

Tech companies already play a huge part in China’s police state

Earlier this year Yuan Yang, the Financial Times’ tech correspondent in Beijing, reported that state officials had accessed her private messages on WeChat without her knowledge or permission. A police officer randomly cited messages she had posted in a private chat, she said.

Similarly, Chinese police visited the mother of Shawn Zhang, a law student in Canada, in China after Zhang criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping on social media.

“I also didn’t expect police to respond so quickly. It suggests my social media account is probably under their close monitoring. They will read everything I say,” Zhang told Business Insider earlier this year.


An ethnic Uyghur man adjust his traditional hat called a doppa as he talks with others at a teahouse on July 1, 2017 in the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese authorities have also forced many Uighurs to download an app that scans photos, videos, audio files, ebooks, and other documents.

The app, named Jingwang (“cleansing the web” in Mandarin Chinese), extracts information including the phone number and model, and scours through its files, the US government-funded Open Technology Fund reported.The screenshots below show what the app looks like. The grab on the left shows Jingwang prompting users to delete “dangerous content” on their phone, while the one on the right shows the app’s access.

jingwang alert and access

The screengrab on the left shows Jingwang prompting users to delete &quotdangerous content” on their phone, while the one on the right shows the app’s access.Jingwang Weishi/Open Technology Fund

The type of regime Google is getting into bed with

Rights groups have accused China of imprisoning up to 1 million Uighurs in detention or re-education camps, where people have described being shackled to chairs, beaten up, and forced to sing patriotic songs in order to get food.

The new Xinjiang laws formalized the use of those camps despite Beijing’s previous claims that they did not exist.

China also appears to be creating a global registry of the Uighur diaspora, even if they are citizens of other countries. Multiple Uighurs living overseas have reported threats made directly to them or their family members in China if they did not give up personal data such as license plate numbers and bank details.

If Google sets up a base in China, it won’t just be party to Uighur abuses, either. China has a track record of publicly disappearing its critics, placing innocent family members under house arrest, and barging into people’s homes to interrupt their phone calls.

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Data leak reveals how China ‘brainwashes’ Uighurs in prison camps

Data leak reveals how China ‘brainwashes’ Uighurs in prison camps

Media caption“An electric baton to the back of the head” – a former inmate described conditions at a secret camp to the BBC

Leaked documents detail for the first time China’s systematic brainwashing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in a network of high-security prison camps.

The Chinese government has consistently claimed the camps in the far western Xinjiang region offer voluntary education and training.

But official documents, seen by BBC Panorama, show how inmates are locked up, indoctrinated and punished.

China’s UK ambassador dismissed the documents as fake news.

The leak was made to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has worked with 17 media partners, including BBC Panorama and The Guardian newspaper in the UK.

The investigation has found new evidence which undermines Beijing’s claim that the detention camps, which have been built across Xinjiang in the past three years, are for voluntary re-education purposes to counter extremism.

About a million people – mostly from the Muslim Uighur community – are thought to have been detained without trial.

The leaked Chinese government documents, which the ICIJ have labelled “The China Cables”, include a nine-page memo sent out in 2017 by Zhu Hailun, then deputy-secretary of Xinjiang’s Communist Party and the region’s top security official, to those who run the camps.


The instructions make it clear that the camps should be run as high security prisons, with strict discipline, punishments and no escapes.

A Uighur man studying at a camp
Image captionThe Chinese government says the camps are for voluntary re-education

The memo includes orders to:

  • “Never allow escapes”
  • “Increase discipline and punishment of behavioural violations”
  • “Promote repentance and confession”
  • “Make remedial Mandarin studies the top priority”
  • “Encourage students to truly transform”
  • “[Ensure] full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots”

The documents reveal how every aspect of a detainee’s life is monitored and controlled: “The students should have a fixed bed position, fixed queue position, fixed classroom seat, and fixed station during skills work, and it is strictly forbidden for this to be changed.

“Implement behavioural norms and discipline requirements for getting up, roll call, washing, going to the toilet, organising and housekeeping, eating, studying, sleeping, closing the door and so forth.”

Text from leaked official Chinese memo on detention of Uighur people
Text from leaked official Chinese memo on detention of Uighur people
Text from leaked official Chinese memo on detention of Uighur people

Other documents confirm the extraordinary scale of the detentions. One reveals that 15,000 people from southern Xinjiang were sent to the camps over the course of just one week in 2017.

Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch, said the leaked memo should be used by prosecutors.

“This is an actionable piece of evidence, documenting a gross human rights violation,” she said. “I think it’s fair to describe everyone being detained as being subject at least to psychological torture, because they literally don’t know how long they’re going to be there.

The memo details how detainees will only be released when they can demonstrate they have transformed their behaviour, beliefs and language.

“Promote the repentance and confession of the students for them to understand deeply the illegal, criminal and dangerous nature of their past activity,” it says.

“For those who harbour vague understandings, negative attitudes or even feelings of resistance… carry out education transformation to ensure that results are achieved.”

Ben Emmerson QC, a leading human rights lawyer and an adviser to the World Uighur Congress, said the camps were trying to change people’s identity.

“It is very difficult to view that as anything other than a mass brainwashing scheme designed and directed at an entire ethnic community.

“It’s a total transformation that is designed specifically to wipe the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang as a separate cultural group off the face of the Earth.”

Presentational grey line

China’s hidden camps

Presentational grey line

Detainees are awarded points for their “ideological transformation, study and training, and compliance with discipline”, the memo says.

The punishment-and-reward system helps determine whether inmates are allowed contact with family and when they are released. They are only considered for release once four Communist Party committees have seen evidence they have been transformed.

The leaked documents also reveal how the Chinese government uses mass surveillance and a predictive-policing programme that analyses personal data.

One document shows how the system flagged 1.8m people simply because they had a data sharing app called Zapya on their phone.

The authorities then ordered the investigation of 40,557 of them “one by one”. The document says “if it is not possible to eliminate suspicion” they should be sent for “concentrated training”.

The documents include explicit directives to arrest Uighurs with foreign citizenship and to track Uighurs living abroad. They suggest that China’s embassies and consulates are involved in the global dragnet.

Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming said the measures had safeguarded local people and there had not been a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang in the past three years.

“The region now enjoys social stability and unity among ethnic groups. People there are living a happy life with a much stronger sense of fulfilment and security.

“In total disregard of the facts, some people in the West have been fiercely slandering and smearing China over Xinjiang in an attempt to create an excuse to interfere in China’s internal affairs, disrupt China’s counter-terrorism efforts in Xinjiang and thwart China’s steady development.”

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Image via NeedPix/Victor Tangermann



China is running a disturbing genetic experiment on its persecuted Muslim Uigher population: trying to digitally reconstruct their faces based on genetic code.

China has rounded up at least a million Uighurs and other minorities and placed them in detention camps. And now, The New York Times reports that the country is using those camps to develop and test new mass surveillance techniques, including this new form of genetic profiling and identification.

Also disturbing is how the scientists behind the program have gained international support. American engineers and scientists have long been implicated in China’s anti-Muslim programs, but the NYT reports that prominent European agencies and scientists are supporting this genetic research financially.

“There’s a kind of culture of complacency that has now given way to complicity” within the world of science, University of Windsor in Ontario sociologist Mark Munsterhjelm told the NYT. And that international complicity is now manifesting as “essentially technologies used for hunting people.”

Chinese police prevented the NYT from speaking to anyone whose DNA had been collected, so China’s insistence that everyone consented to the study is impossible to confirm. But China’s claim flies in the face of common sense: persecuted groups who have been rounded up and concentrated in detention camps could not have feasibly offered their consent to be a part of the program.

“What the Chinese government is doing should be a warning to everybody who kind of goes along happily thinking, ‘How could anyone be worried about these technologies?’” University of Wisconsin-Madison bioethicist Pilar Ossario told the NYT.


വാത്മീകി രാമായണത്തില്‍ രാമന്‍ മാംസാഹാരിയെന്ന് വിവരിക്കുന്നു

Reposted from Rajeev Edappal’s post


RSS-1 ഗോംമാംസം ഭക്ഷിച്ചതിന് ഒരു മനുഷ്യനെ തല്ലിക്കൊന്ന കാലഘട്ടത്തില്‍ ആരെ മുന്‍നിര്‍ത്തിയാണോ സംഘപരിവാര്‍ സംഘടനകള്‍ ഇത്തരം കൃത്യം നിര്‍വ്വഹിച്ചത് എന്ന് നോക്കുന്നത് നന്നായിരിക്കും. ശ്രീരാമന്‍ മാംസാഹാരിയാണോ സസ്യാഹാരി ആണോ എന്ന് പരിശോധിക്കുകയാണ് ഇവിടെ. വാത്മീകി രാമായണത്തില്‍ കൃത്യമായി തന്നെ രാമന്‍റെ ആഹാരശൈലിയെ കുറിച്ച് വിശദീകരിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. വാത്മീകി രാമായണത്തില്‍ പല ശ്ലോകങ്ങളിലും കൃത്യമായി തന്നെ രാമന്‍ മാംസാഹാരിയെന്ന് വിവരിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്.വനവാസത്തിന് പോകുമ്പോള്‍ രാമന്‍ കൗസല്യയോട് പറയുന്നുണ്ട്, “चतुर्दश हि वर्षाणि वत्स्यामि विजने वने | मधु मूल फलैः जीवन् हित्वा मुनिवद् आमिषम् || २-२०-२९”. മലയാള പരിഭാഷ ഇങ്ങിനെ,”പതിനാലു വര്‍ഷം ഞാന്‍ ഇറച്ചി ഒ‍ഴിവാക്കി, ഫലമൂലാദികളും തേനും മാത്രം ഭക്ഷിച്ച് കാട്ടില്‍ ക‍ഴിയാം- അയോധ്യാകാണ്ഡം 2-20-29″ സുന്ദരകാണ്ഡത്തില്‍ ഹനുമാന്‍ സീതയോടു പറയുന്നുണ്ട്, “न मांसं राघवो भुङ्क्ते न चापि मधुसेवते | वन्यं सुविहितं नित्यं भक्तमश्नाति पञ्चमम् || ५-३६-४१”. മലയാള പരിഭാഷ ഇങ്ങിനെ,”രാമന്‍ ഇപ്പോള്‍ മാംസം ക‍ഴിക്കുന്നുമില്ല, ലഹരി ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നുമില്ല, വൈകുന്നേരങ്ങളില്‍ കാട്ടില്‍ നിന്ന് ലഭിക്കുന്ന സസ്യാഹാരങ്ങളാണ് രാമന്‍ ഭക്ഷിക്കുന്നത്, സുന്ദരകാണ്ഡം 5-36-41″ ആരണ്യകാണ്ഡത്തിലെ ഒരു ശ്ലോകം ഇങ്ങിനെ, “निहत्य पृषतम् च अन्यम् मांसम् आदाय राघवः | त्वरमाणो जनस्थानम् ससार अभिमुखः तदा || ३-४४-२७”. മലയാളം പരിഭാഷ ഇങ്ങിനെ,”രാഘവന്‍ ഒരു മാനിനെ കൂടി കൊന്നു, അതിന്‍റെ ഇറച്ചിയുമെടുത്ത് ജനസ്ഥാനയിലേക്ക് പോയി, ആരണ്യകാണ്ഡം 3-44-27″, അതായത് വനവാസകാലത്തും രാമന്‍ മാംസം ഭക്ഷിച്ചിരുന്നുവെന്ന് വ്യക്തം. വാത്മീകി രാമായണത്തെ പുതുക്കിപ്പണിഞ്ഞവരില്‍ ജൈന-ബുദ്ധമതങ്ങള്‍ ചെലുത്തിയ സ്വാധീനമാണ് രാമന്‍ സസ്യാഹാരിയാണെന്ന വിശദീകരണത്തിലേക്ക് എത്തിച്ചത്. രാമന്‍ മൃഗങ്ങളെ ബലി ക‍ഴിച്ചിരുന്നുവെന്നും മൃഗത്തോലു കൊണ്ടുണ്ടാക്കിയ വസ്ത്രം ധരിച്ചിരുന്നുവെന്നും വാത്മീകി രാമായണം വ്യക്തമാക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. രാമായണത്തില്‍ മാത്രമല്ല വേദങ്ങളിലും മാംസാഹാരം ഒരു ജനകീയ ശീലം ആയിരുന്നുവെന്ന് വ്യക്തമാക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. മാംസാഹാരികള്‍ക്ക് നേരെ നടക്കുന്ന സംഘപരിവാര്‍ അക്രമം കരുതിക്കൂട്ടിയുള്ള വര്‍ഗീയ നീക്കങ്ങളാണെന്ന് വ്യക്തമാക്കുന്നതാണ് മുകളില്‍ വിവരിച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന ശ്ലോകങ്ങള്‍. രാമന്‍റെ പേരില്‍ നടക്കുന്ന അക്രമത്തെ രാമന്‍റെ ജീവിത കഥ സാധൂകരിക്കുന്നില്ല. താത്കാലിക രാഷ്ട്രീയ ലാഭങ്ങള്‍ക്കും മ്ലേച്ഛമായ വര്‍ഗീയ ചിന്തകള്‍ പരത്തുന്നതിനും മാത്രമാണ് ഇത്തരം അക്രമങ്ങള്‍. ജനാധിപത്യ ഇന്ത്യ ഒറ്റക്കെട്ടായി ഈ ഇരുട്ടു മനുഷ്യന്‍മാര്‍ക്കെതിരെ അണിനിരക്കേണ്ടിയിരിക്കുന്നു

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Recordings reveal that plants make ultrasonic squeals when stressed

Recordings reveal that plants make ultrasonic squeals when stressed

LIFE 5 December 2019
The Mammillaria spinosissima cactus has been found to emit sounds when stressed
The spiny pincushion cactus has been found to emit ultrasonic sounds

Jose A. Bernat/Getty Images

Although it has been revealed in recent years that plants are capable of seeing, hearing and smelling, they are still usually thought of as silent. But now, for the first time, they have been recorded making airborne sounds when stressed, which researchers say could open up a new field of precision agriculture where farmers listen for water-starved crops.

Itzhak Khait and his colleagues at Tel Aviv University in Israel found that tomato and tobacco plants made sounds at frequencies humans cannot hear when stressed by a lack of water or when their stem is cut.

Microphones placed 10 centimetres from the plants picked up sounds in the ultrasonic range of 20 to 100 kilohertz, which the team says insects and some mammals would be capable of hearing and responding to from as far as 5 metres away. A moth may decide against laying eggs on a plant that sounds water-stressed, the researchers suggest. Plants could even hear that other plants are short of water and react accordingly, they speculate.




“These findings can alter the way we think about the plant kingdom, which has been considered to be almost silent until now,” they write in their study, which has not yet been published in a journal.

Previously, devices have been attached to plants to record the vibrations caused by air bubbles forming and exploding – a process known as cavitation – inside xylem tubes, which are used for water transport. But this new study is the first time that sounds from plants have been measured at a distance.

On average, drought-stressed tomato plants made 35 sounds an hour, while tobacco plants made 11. When plant stems were cut, tomato plants made an average of 25 sounds in the following hour, and tobacco plants 15. Unstressed plants produced fewer than one sound per hour, on average.

It is even possible to distinguish between the sounds to know what the stress is. The researchers trained a machine-learning model to discriminate between the plants’ sounds and the wind, rain and other noises of the greenhouse, correctly identifying in most cases whether the stress was caused by dryness or a cut, based on the sound’s intensity and frequency. Water-hungry tobacco appears to make louder sounds than cut tobacco, for example.

Although Khait and his colleagues only looked at tomato and tobacco plants, they believe other plants may make sounds when stressed too. In a preliminary study, they also recorded ultrasonic sounds from a spiny pincushion cactus (Mammillaria spinosissima) and the weed henbit dead-nettle (Lamium amplexicaule). Cavitation is a possible explanation for how the plants generate the sounds, they say.

Enabling farmers to listen for water-stressed plants could “open a new direction in the field of precision agriculture”, the researchers suggest. They add that such an ability will be increasingly important as climate change exposes more areas to drought.

“The suggestion that the sounds that drought-stressed plants make could be used in precision agriculture seems feasible if it is not too costly to set up the recording in a field situation,” says Anne Visscher at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the UK.

She warns that the results can’t yet be broadened out to other stresses, such as salt or temperature, because these may not lead to sounds. In addition, there have been no experiments to show whether moths or any other animal can hear and respond to the sounds the plants make, so that idea remains speculative for now, she says.

If plants are making sounds when stressed, cavitation is the most likely mechanism, says Edward Farmer at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. But he is sceptical of the findings, and would like to see more in the way of controls.

Farmer adds that the idea moths might be listening to plants and shunning stressed ones is a “little too speculative”, and there are already plenty of explanations for why insects avoid some plants and not others.

Reference: bioRxiv, DOI: 10.1101/507590

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Hungarian scientists may have found a fifth force of nature

A ‘no-brainer Nobel Prize’: 

(CNN)Physics centers essentially on four forces that control our known, visible universe, governing everything from the production of heat in the sun to the way your laptop works. They are gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong force.

Physicist Attila Krasznahorkay, right, works with a fellow researcher at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
New research may be leading us closer to one more.
Scientists at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Atomki) have posted findings showing what could be an example of that fifth force at work.
The scientists were closely watching how an excited helium atom emitted light as it decayed. The particles split at an unusual angle — 115 degrees — which couldn’t be explained by known physics.
The study’s lead scientist, Attila Krasznahorkay, told CNN that this was the second time his team had detected a new particle, which they call X17, because they calculated its mass at 17 megaelectronvolts.
“X17 could be a particle, which connects our visible world with the dark matter,” he said in an email.
Jonathan Feng, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California at Irvine told CNN he’s been following the Hungarian team’s work for years, and believes its research is shaping up to be a game changer.
If these results can be replicated, “this would be a no-brainer Nobel Prize,” he said.

Hungarian scientists are building on 2016 results

Three years ago, the Hungarian researchers published a similar paper in Physical Review Letters, one of the most prestigious journals in physics.
The nuclear physics experimental team had been studying another isotope, beryllium-8, as it decays down to a ground state. They saw electrons and positrons splitting off from the atom at unusual angles.
Those findings, which showed particles coming off beryllium-8 at around a 140-degree angle, were strange and new.
“We introduced such a new particle, which nobody saw before, and [whose] existence could not be understood by the widely accepted ‘Standard Model’ of particle physics, so it faced scrutiny,” Krasznahorkay said in an email.
The findings by Krasznahorkay’s team didn’t get much attention at first, but they raised Feng’s eyebrows. He said he “didn’t want to leave potentially revolutionary results just sitting on the table.”

Physicists in California developed a theory to explain the unusual results

In short, it could change physics as we know it, or it could have just been a simple lab error.
“Some people said they screwed up,” Feng said.
But he believed the Hungarians were for real. His research group published a paper on the heels of the Hungarians’ 2016 work, laying out a theory to observe what Krasznahorkay’s experimental team had seen.
They referred to this unseen fifth force in action as a “protophobic force,” meaning that it was as though the particles were “afraid of protons.”
Meanwhile, nuclear physicists around the world set to work looking for errors in the Hungarians’ work, and have come up empty-handed over the past few years.
“Some very well-known nuclear physicists have done that exercise,” Feng said.
The numbers seemed to add up, and no one could find ways their equipment was calibrated incorrectly.
And Feng said his own team was comparing the Hungarian experiments “with every other experiment that’s been done in the history of physics.”
The only way to explain X17 was a hitherto undetected “fifth force.”

The findings point toward the Holy Grail of physics

To move their breakthrough idea from 2016 forward, the Hungarians would need to repeat the results again. That’s exactly what their 2019 results do.
Feng says that, barring experimental error, there was only a one-in-a-trillion chance that the results were caused by anything other than the X17 particle, and this new fifth force.
He added that if another research group could repeat these results with a third type of atom in addition to beryllium and helium, “that would blow the cover off this thing.”
Experimental research groups have already been contacting him, hungry to do that.
More sightings of the fifth force could lead to scientists settling on a specific name for it, understanding its workings more deeply, and developing practical applications for how to harness its power.
They’re leading us closer to what’s considered the Holy Grail in physics, which Albert Einstein had pursued but never achieved. Physicists hope to create a “unified field theory,” which would coherently explain all cosmic forces from the formation of galaxies down to the quirks of quarks.
But the universe isn’t giving up its secrets easily.
“There’s no reason to stop at the fifth,” Feng said. “There could be a sixth, seventh, and eighth force.”
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