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Flights suspended: How Australia will aid India’s critical shortage of medical supplies

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As Coronavirus case numbers continue to soar in India, other nations are lending support

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today revealed an initial support package to help India, as it struggles with a critical shortage of medical supplies.

Australia will send 500 ventilators, 1 million surgical masks, 500,000 P2 and N95 masks, 1 million surgical masks, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields.

DFAT will manage the movement of the items

The crisis has also resulted in Australia suspending all flights to and from India until the 15th of may, following emergency talks today.

Australian prime minister scott morrison announces inital support package while the UK, Germany and US have already pledged medial aid.

“I stress this is an initial package, there’ll be more to follow,” 

Mr Morrison said.

Shocking scenes of overflowing hospitals and bodies being burnt in makeshift crematoriums paint a grim picture of the Covid crisis gripping India.

People bury the bodies of victims who died due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a graveyard in New Delhi, India, April 16, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

In a single day the number of new infections climbed above 350 thousand, a new record.

India has more than 17.3 million infections overall and almost 200 thousand deaths.

The country has now ordered its armed forces to help tackle the soaring infection numbers

the Chief of Defence Staff says oxygen will be sent to hospitals from armed forces reserves and retired medical military personnel would join COVID health facilities.

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Jab or jail: Duterte’s warning to Filipinos

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The President of the Phillipines is threatening his citizens with jail, if they don’t get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine hesitancy is a serious problem in the Phillipines.

In a country where more than 23,000 people have died from COVID-19, a recent poll indicated only a third of Filipinos are willing to get inoculated.

The nation’s leader has threatened those who fail to do so.

In a televised address, Rodrigo Duterte warned: ‘You choose, Covid vaccine or I will have you jailed’.

He says that village leaders should “keep a list of those who refused to be vaccinated”.

“If you’re a person who’s not vaccinated and a potential carrier, to protect the people, I have to sequester you in jail.”

The comments put the hardline leader at odds with health officials who say vaccines are voluntary.

Last year the President ordered police and military to kill citizens who defied lockdown restrictions.

There have been more than 1.3 million cases of coronavirus in the country since the start of the pandemic.

“Don’t get me wrong, there is a crisis in this country,” Duterte told citizens in his address. “I’m just exasperated by Filipinos not heeding the government.”

“The first wave has really depleted the resources of government,” the President said. “Another one would be disastrous for this country.”

Duterte claims that is why “the stricter you are, the better”.

In response to his comments, the nation’s Justice Secretary says he believes the President “merely used strong words to drive home the need for us to get vaccinated and reach herd immunity as soon as possible”.

Menardo Guevarra added that there is currently no law that penalises people who refuse to get a COVID vaccine.

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Millions of American families are about to get cash in their pockets

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From next month, around 36 million American families are due to begin receiving payments totalling up to $1800 through to December this year.

Lawmakers have temporarily expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) available to families with children in 2021.

Known as the enhanced Child Tax Credit, it was signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the American Rescue plan.

The efforts will increase the previous $2,000 annual tax credit to $3,600 per child, with half being paid in cash instalments and the rest claimed on 2021 tax returns.

Families will get monthly payments of up to $300 for each child 6 years old and under and up to $250 for each child 6 to 18 years old.

These funds can help parents afford necessities like diapers, school supplies, and food. But this increase in the CTC payments has only been approved for 2021.

The Biden administration has also proposed to extend this new cash-back system for five years if successful.

An estimated 90 percent of children in the United States will automatically get the CTC. Even if a parent is making little to no income, they can still be eligible for the new CTC.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris says residents need to “spread the word”

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Fresh study reveals divide in the U.S

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A new poll has found that around one-third of Americans are convinced that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.

The Monmouth University study found that 32 percent of respondents are of the impression that widespread voter fraud was the reason President Biden won the election.

In similar polls conducted by the university in November, January and March, this figure has remained steady.

The study’s director says “the continuing efforts to question the validity of last year’s election is deepening the partisan divide in ways that could have long-term consequences for America’s Democracy”.

Unsurprisingly, the research also found that the majority of those who believe in the voter fraud theory are either Republican or Republican-leaning.

The Monmouth poll surveyed 810 U.S. adults from June 9-14. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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