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An estimated 65 percent of the country's 1.3 billion population lives in rural areas. Pixabay

Free or subsidized testing, treatment, and vaccination along with the provision of uninterrupted essential health services are essential to fight Covid-19 in rural India, public health expert Poonam Muttreja said on Tuesday.

Compared to the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, this year has witnessed a rapid rise in the number of infections and deaths in rural India. An estimated 65 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion population lives in rural areas. Citing the data repository website How India Lives, Muttreja said 714 districts in India have reported coronavirus cases, putting 94.76 percent of the population at potential risk.


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“The perception in some regions is that Covid-19 is a myth, perpetuated by permissions by authorities for large gatherings for elections as well as religious congregations and religious and political leaders flouting Covid-19 protocols,” said Muttreja, who is also executive director of national NGO Population Foundation of India, in a statement.

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“A lack of awareness and reluctance to submit to testing, treatment, and vaccination makes the rural population more susceptible to Covid-19. The problem is compounded by the fact that medical infrastructure is concentrated in urban areas. Community Health Centers are not always easily accessible,” Muttreja added.

There is an urgent need for increased surveillance and testing in rural areas to ensure early detection and diagnosis, she said. Moreover, in the long run, greater investment in public health infrastructure, capacity building of frontline health workers, and prioritizing universal health coverage are must to ensure that India’s response to health emergencies is robust, Muttreja noted. (IANS/JC)


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Rihanna was summoned from her seat to accept the honour, with the Prime Minister.

Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."

Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.

The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)


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