Army Chief’s Italy Visit: Indian Army chief Gen. M.M.Naravane could hardly have chosen a happier time to visit Italy, a day after Italy made it to the final of the European Cup after beating Spain in a nail-biter. He could, of course, have visited after Italy were to win the Cup this Sunday, if it does, but football was not on anyone’s mind when the visit was planned. Nor could it have figured past the preliminary pleasantries. The army chief is discussing serious defence cooperation matters with Italy. The visit is expected to deliver on some crucial Indian defence needs.
Setting Sail Again: The Ever Given ship set sail again on Wednesday morning after first getting stuck in the Suez Canal in March, and then getting impounded through a dispute in which the Suez authorities sued the ship owners over loss of business arising from the blockage of the canal. The ship lay anchored three months near the city Ismailia. The Indian crew were presented flowers and gifts as the ship finally resumed its journey. The 400-metre ship is loaded with more than 18,000 containers carrying goods worth close to a billion dollars. It’s sailing now to Rotterdam and then to the UK port Felixstowe.
New Trend in Indian Areas: The current rise in infection cases across Britain comes with a happy sub-text as a change. The incidence in many of the Indian areas of Britain is considerably below the national average; this is the first time such a trend has emerged. Through last year, and up until recently the average in these areas was considerably higher, even up to four times higher at places than the national average. The Indian-heavy Wembley has last year reported the highest incidence in all of the UK. Now this are along with neighbouring Harrow and several areas sits below average.
Covid Risk at Wembley: Wembley is safer than the average borough in Britain for now, but it risks becoming the source if not the location for a massive outbreak in cases. That’s after 60,000 fans crowded Wembley for the semi-final against Denmark, that England won to take it a step closer to an elusive dream since 1966 – of winning the European Cup. But the heavy turnout in Wembley for the semi-final, and the delirium is likely if England were to win the final will make nonsense of any Covid precautions before the lockdown actually is lifted. That’s not the history anyone wants Wembley to now make, but one that tens of thousands are risking.
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Fresh Infections: The UK reported above 32,000 infections on Wednesday, the highest since the January peak this year. But the data suggests – at the moment – that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is right to claim that the link between infections and serous illness and death has been “severed”. A similar number of infections last winter brought deaths to one in 60; that number is down now to less than one in a thousand. But scientists warn that the link has been weakened, not eliminated altogether. If the graph of hospital admissions and deaths were to begin to rise faster than it is at present, Boris Johnson may well lead Britain into an even deeper crisis than he did last year.