VIF Neighborhood News Digest: March 11, 2020
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PAKISTAN
Balochistan reports first coronavirus case: Dawn
March 11, 2020

Balochistan’s first coronavirus case was reported in Quetta on Tuesday while two more cases were detected in Sindh, raising the countrywide tally to 19. Confirming the Quetta case, Dr Noorullah, Medical Superintendent of the Fatima Jinnah Hospital, said the patient was a 12-year-old boy who had travelled to Iran with his family and returned via the Taftan border crossing. The boy has been admitted to the isolation ward of the hospital. Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Ghani Signs Decree to Release Taliban Prisoners: Tolo
March 11, 2020

President Ashraf Ghani signed an order on Tuesday night to pardon and release Taliban prisoners in order for the peace talks between Afghanistan's government and the Taliban to start, said Palace spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi. According to the first part of the decree, which was released to the media on Wednesday: The prisoners that will be released are required to make a written commitment not to return to the war. The prisoners will be released after a biometric process. Click here to read...

BANGLADESH
Air quality: Dhaka ranks 2nd worst, Baridhara remains very unhealthy: Dhaka Tribune
March 11, 2020

Bangladesh's capital Dhaka has ranked second worst on the world Air Quality Index (AQI) as its extreme air pollution makes it one of the most polluted cities. On the real-time rankings, Dhaka showed an average AQI score of 167 at 9:34am on Wednesday, according to AirVisual, which monitors global air quality. Dhaka's air quality was classified as "unhealthy." Residential areas like Baridhara and Bashundhara showed AQI scores of 220 and 188, respectively. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
EIA process for Kyaukphyu port to start: Myanmar Times
March 11, 2020

Chinese state-owned CITIC is set to initiate bidding for its environmental impact assessment (EIA) consultant for its port project in central Rakhine following the environmental ministry’s response to its project proposal. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (MONREC) last month designated the Kyaukphyu deep-sea port project as an EIA-type project after screening the proposal submitted by the consortium led by CITIC in September 2019. Click here to read...

NEPAL
A government team consisting of Army has been quietly measuring Nepal’s border with India: The Kathmandu Post
March 11, 2020

Ever since the release of India’s new political map that placed Kalapani within its borders, the Nepal government has taken a lot of flak for failing to do anything of substance to press India on its cartographic incursion. The KP Sharma Oli government might not have said much publicly but the Post has learned that two teams, consisting of representatives from various ministries as well as the Nepal Army, have been quietly measuring Nepal’s border, paying special attention to disputed areas. Click here to read...

Sri Lanka
First Sri Lankan infected with Covid-19 found: Daily Mirror
March 11, 2020

The first Sri Lankan infected with Covid - 19 (Coronavirus) has been found and currently being treated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Angoda, informed sources said. They said that the infected person, a male in his middle age, has been identified as a tour operator. Click here to read...

BHUTAN
Preparing for worst case scenario: Kuenselonline
March 11, 2020

An economic contingency plan is being devised although no major economic disruptions have been reported following the first COVID-19 case in the country. Officials from the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) said that Bhutan might, if at all, feel the economic distress towards the end of the month. On the command of His Majesty the King, an emergency meeting between RMA and the finance ministry was held on March 8. Click here to read...

CHINA
The gains from China's measures outweigh costs: China Daily
March 11, 2020

An editorial in the magazine Economist claimed in February that it was still too early to tell if the gains from the containment policy adopted in China in response to the new coronavirus epidemic were worth the price paid in economic and individual terms. Click here to read...

Italy passes 10,000 case milestone as outbreak ramps up: China Daily
March 11, 2020

Italy's total number of positive diagnoses of the novel coronavirus passed 10,000 on Tuesday as the country endured its first day of total shutdown. At least 631 people have now died in Europe's worst outbreak of the disease, an increase of 168 on the previous day's total. Click here to read...

Xi Focus: Moment of truth: Xi leads war against COVID-19: Xinhuanet
March 11, 2020

Standing in a hospital hall, a man wearing a medical respirator waved to a big screen. On it, a patient lying in bed flanked by two gowned medical workers waved back. "What you should do now is stay confident. We all should be confident that we will win this war," the man said through a video link at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, in central China's Hubei Province. Click here to read...

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