Locusts swarm across parts of India, attacking agricultural lands

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020   •   2466

Huge swarms of locusts took over the skies of Northern and Central India on Monday (May 25) and Sunday (May 24), affecting agricultural lands.

The pests were mostly seen across large states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

On Sunday, actions were taken in the city of Mandsaur, in central India, to contain the swarm by spraying pesticides.

One of the deadliest pests for farms produce, locusts are known to destroy crops and vegetables, and whatever they find in their way, in search of food.

Animals also get affected by eating the same leaves as the locusts and can suffer from diarrhoea.

Locust swarms are not new in East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. But climate scientists say erratic weather linked to climate change has created ideal conditions for the insects to surge in numbers not seen in a quarter of a century.

If allowed to breed unchecked in favourable conditions, locusts can form huge swarms that can strip trees and crops over vast areas. (Reuters)

(Production: ANI, Hanna Rantala, Gabriela Boccaccio)

PH extends ban on travelers from India to May 31; adds Oman, UAE in travel restrictions

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has extended its existing ban on travelers from India until May 31 to prevent the spread of a coronavirus variant first detected in the South Asian nation, Malacañang said.

In a statement on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said passengers coming from India are still not allowed to enter the Philippines until 2359H of May 31, 2021.

The Philippines also extended its travel ban for passengers coming from Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in the same period.

Roque also announced the expansion of the country’s travel restrictions to include travelers coming from Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or those with travel history to these countries within the last 14 days preceding arrival.

The entry ban on travelers from Oman and the UAE will take effect on May 15 until May 31.

Roque said the ban was recommended by the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Passengers who are already in transit from the said countries or have been to the same areas within 14 days and arrived in the Philippines before May 15 will be allowed entry.

They will, however, be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols, notwithstanding a negative Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) result.

“The Department of Transportation should ensure that airlines are directed not to allow the boarding of passengers who are prohibited from entering the country pursuant to travel restrictions imposed by the Office of the President and IATF resolutions except if they are part of the repatriation efforts of the national government,” Roque said.

Maritime authorities assist Filipino seafarers aboard COVID-stricken vessel from India

Marje Pelayo   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Maritime authorities are currently in full force in assisting all Filipino crew members aboard a COVID-19 positive vessel MV Athens Bridge from India.

A statement from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) on Friday (May 7) said that MV Athens Bridge departed from India on April 22 and arrived in Haiphong, Vietnam on May 1 for the conduct of the crew’s RT-PCR test, as reported by the vessel’s shipping agent.

It was, later on, found that out of the 21 Filipino crew members on board, 12 of them tested positive for COVID-19.

On May 6, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) received a request from the vessel’s captain to execute a medical evacuation of the two crew members who both needed urgent medical care.

The vessel, at that time, was located 12 nautical miles west of Corregidor Island.

Upon securing clearance from the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and the Department of Health, MV Athens Bridge was directed to the quarantine anchorage area designated by the One-Stop-Shop (OSS) Port of Manila.

Security was also provided by the PCG to ensure that no unauthorized vessel or banca will approach the vessel.

MARINA said that, immediately on the evening of the same day, BOQ doctors boarded the vessel to assess the condition of the crew and recommended the immediate medical evacuation of two crew members in critical condition.

The crew members in critical condition have been safely evacuated and brought to the dedicated medical facility for treatment.

The rest of the crew are contained in the vessel and shall be provided with needed medical supplies, including oxygen tanks, with assistance from the BOQ and the PCG.

The operation is spearheaded by the maritime sector of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) consisting of the MARINA, the PCG, and the Philippine Ports Authority, in cooperation with the agency members of the One-Stop-Shop (OSS) Port of Manila.

The national government assures that the situation and the condition of the crew members will be consistently monitored. Health and safety protocols will also be prioritized throughout the entire process.

Only 5 travelers from India tested positive for COVID-19, DOH clarifies

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday clarified that only five, not six, travelers from India who arrived in the Philippines prior to the travel ban have tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, the DOH said the Bureau of Quarantine recorded 149 passengers with travel history to India from April 1 to 30. Of which, 129 are returning overseas Filipinos and 20 were foreign nationals.

All of these passengers were quarantined upon arrival and tested on the 6th or 7th day of their quarantine.

“Among these cases, 5 tested positive for COVID 19 through RT PCR while 137 of them tested negative. Among those who tested positive, 1 is still in isolation while the disposition of the 4 patients are being verified,” the DOH said.

“Samples from these positive cases are currently being determined if they are adequate for sequencing,” it added.

The DOH also said that the test results of the 7 other travelers are currently being verified and that it is coordinating with concerned local government units and  Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units to get further updates on the current health status of all these travelers.

The Philippine government banned travelers from India from April 29 to May 14 following reports of another variant causing a surge in COVID-19 cases there.

 

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