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tv   Al Jazeera English Newshour  LINKTV  November 19, 2021 5:00pm-6:01pm PST

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>> the dangerous and desperate journey to the border comes to an end as more refugees and migrants are sent back home. ♪ >> this is al jazeera live from doha. >> we, the jury, find kyle h. rittenhouse not guilty. >> teenager kyle rittenhouse has been acquitted of murdering two
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men. at a black lives matter protest. . the return to lockdown restrictions in austria to put a handle on the rise in coronavirus infections. troops helped with rescue efforts in one of the costliest natural disasters in canada's history. ♪ >> we begin with the crisis on the poland-belarus border. hundreds of refugees have again tried to illegally cross, encouraged by its neighbor, while belarus says it is clear to makeshift -- has. cleared a makeshift camp. . >> after five days lost along the polish border, a syrian has done better than most, just making it to safety in a hospital inside the european union. >> i came from beirut and we
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ended up at the border. developer and army take our food and water and pushed us away. and told us not to return. . we have been here five days with no food and water. >> an ngo worker takes down the details. a lawyer will help him sign a power of attorney and he completes a note formally requesting asylum. they work quickly. it will become clear why. >> [speaking foreign language] >> in the next cubicle, he occurred from northern iraq. >> i am not animal. i want to work my dream. >> in an icu bed, unidentified and unconscious, a third man suffering prolonged exposure to cold weather. these men have been on a terrible journey drawn to belarus by the promise of safe
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passage to the eu. unwitting victims in a cynical standoff in which leaders site cares about their welfare. there may be signs of the crisis easing if conditions on the other side of the border improve after diplomacy but the individuals in this hospital on the polish side of the border are lucky to be alive. they are stuck in a nightmare and it is still unfolding. here is why the presence of human rights activists matters. polish border guards arrive to take the men away. >> sit. don't panic. it is going to be ok, i pray. ok? just be nice to them, ok? ok. don't get nervous. >> poland is not a welcoming place for asylum-seekers border. that is much harder to do now that they have equal representation.
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-- legal representation. >> we are going to start to make sure the people in the refugee crisis that the guards have -- are going to be transported to the guard station and not pushed into the forest. >> are you worried they might be pushed back into belarus? >> we are always worried about that. >> border guard headquarters is the end of the line for the men for now. under international law, they should be looked after. there is no guarantee. they will be sent back. anchor: nato secretary-general says they stand ready to help all allies caught up in the crisis. >> desecration of the border, a belarus with poland, but also lithuania and latvia, is deeply
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concerning. lukashenko's regime used vulnerable people as means to pressure other countries. it is cynical and inhumane. nato stands in full solidarity with all affected allies. we remain vigilant and stand ready to further help our allies. anchor: while iraqi's return for belarus say they not only faced horrific conditions but were tricked by smugglers who took advantage of their desperation. reporting from -- correspondent: he used to live in the displacement camp in the kurdish region of northern iraq. she had gone there after her home in syria it was destroyed in the fight against iso. she paid a smuggling ring to get to europe and is back in another displacement camp after leaving belarus on every patriot and flight. she shows video of her time at the border with poland.
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she says the experience was horrific. >> we moved to turkey say for a month and got a visa for belarus, so we went there and stayed in the city for date support setting off into the woods. we were supposed to meet up with a smuggler but he never showed up. we stayed there for three days without food or water. we stayed inside the belarus borders for 13 days. the polish police would not allow us to cross the border and the belarus police would not allow us to go to the city. we were trapped on the border. correspondent: she is one of hundreds of iraqis who paid smugglers out of desperation and were tricked by false promises. she is an activist who worked for those deported or repatriated. he says the smugglers have a sophisticated network that allows them to advertise their services. >> with the spread of internet and social media, smugglers are using these networks to help facilitate the connection between smugglers and people. they convince them with low
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prices and safe paths, but i have met with many who tell me there was a line, that they were abandoned with no choice but to pay smugglers. they are charged $3000 in iraq and anything up to $10,000 in belarus. they sell homes and cars to borrow money from the loan sharks to afford it. correspondent: the kurdish government says it is cracking down on people smuggling and particularly struggling -- targeting travel agents who offer routes to europe. it is easy to find smugglers online. i'm joining a social media group called iraq migration into europe with lots of people offering their services. the word "smuggling" is not mentioned but when people pay their money, they realized what it is they pay for. judging by the amount of people offering the service, the iraqis have a challenge to stamp it out completely, particularly as the
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smugglers are international networks across the middle east and europe. there is also hope the scenes from the poland-belarus border will stop people going to smugglers, but people smugglers are one part of the issue. what still needs to be addressed is allegations of government corruption, mismanagement of resources, and nepotism in and -- employment. anchor: a jury has found a u.s. teenager kyle rittenhouse not guilty of murdering two men and wounding another. >> we, the jury, find the defendant kyle rittenhouse not guilty. anchor: he opened fire with a semi automatic rifle during black lives matter protests in kenosha, wisconsin last year. he said he was innocent and acted in self-defense. he was acquitted of all charges against him. let's bring in the director of the criminal justice institute at harvard law school from newton, massachusetts. good to have you with you. what is your response to the
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verdict? did it come as a response to you even that he broke curfew and a city he does not live in and was guarding people he was not familiar with? ronald: it did not come as a surprise to me, given the state of self-defense law in the country. when the evidence came in, it was a pretty straightforward, cut and dry case of self-defense six i. . was not very surprised by the verdict. . anchor: it came about because of the black lives matter protest over the shooting of a black man, jacob lake, by a white police officer. will this have any impact on the movement and is this a setback of sorts for racial justice in the broader sense? ronald: i do think it is a potential setback for racial justice, if we allow the case to be framed in that sort of way. i would suggest that re--- we
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reframe the verdict as a specific case about kyle rittenhouse and the law of self-defense and the gun laws of wisconsin. if we keep it in that narrow frame, and not associate it with broad claims of racial justice, i think it will not have that negative effect. many are already making a claim that this is a commentary on racial justice in america, where i think this was a simple case of the jury following its instructions. the better example of a case that might impact racial justice, much more related, is the case going on in georgia, the ahmaud arbery case. anchor: ronald, many observers, that is important because many observers say this is a white teenager who killed two white men and was found not guilty by a predominantly white jury. jacob blake's uncle said if rittenhouse was a black teenager, he have -- would have been shot dead by the police in a heartbeat's. ronald: that is probably true.
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i agree with him. if he had been a black man, he would have been probably convicted. i think that is a separate issue in that is wrong, but i think that all criminal defendants should be treated in the way rittenhouse was treated, not rittenhouse treated the way that african-american defendants are treated in the country. in other words, we ought to push our criminal justice system to level up instead of leveling down. those critiques are real and they are true and we have to keep the pressure on, such that every person who walks through the courtroom door receives the level and degree of justice that every white person in the united states receives. anchor: just a final thought to you, let's remind ourselves this was a high-profile and politically divisive trial. it sharpened the debate of gun rights in the u.s.,, the second amendment but will the verdict polarize the country even further and could we now see several lawsuits being brought
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by the families? ronald: i think so. this verdict has a lot to do with gun laws and the proliferation of guns in the country. rittenhouse, even at 17, was lawfully in possession of that firearm in the state of wisconsin. that is a problem. that is a problem. that is a problem with the existing law, not what the jury and what the jury did. we have to get a handle on these gun laws, because a lot of these right wing, white supremacist groups in the u.s. unfortunately, i think they are going to pick up on this verdict, even though rittenhouse said he is not part of it and he is not a white supremacist. he distance himself from the movement. i don't know if it is true were not but he did at the trial. the fear is they will pick up on the verdict as a rallying cry and the gun states -- balls across the country are such that they can go places with guns.
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i fear that it can revert into a wild, wild west. anchor: really good to get your thoughts here. thank you for talking to al jazeera. ronald: take care. anchor: two people have been injured during chaos in the city of rotterdam. police fired warning shots and use a water cannon after protests against coronavirus restrictions viral into violence. roots have been reimposed in response to a wave of cases what they say protesters burned cars and threw rocks at officers, prompting an emergency declaration and shutdown of public transport. austria is the first country in western europe to reimpose a full covid-19 knocked down, taking effect monday as expected to last for three weeks. austria is making vaccinations compulsory from february. dominic: since monday, only those who can prove they have been vaccinated or have the virus have been allowed out in austria but from next monday, even this will not be enough, because ministers say the
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infection rate is too high. the vaccination rate too low. >> a nationwide lockdown will apply for monday for up to 20 days and will be evaluated after the first 10 days. it will end on december 13 at the latest. the lockdown for the vaccinated will recover. dominic: alongside the lockdown is another ruling from next february. everyone in austria must be vaccinated, whether they like it or not. authors for any country in europe. there are similar steeply rising trends of infection and death in germany. rules restricting the movement of the unvaccinated are now in force. nationwide hospitals are once again filling up with infected patients. >> we need to change course now. there is no time to lose. it is like a tanker heading toward a harbor wall. if we counter steer the tanker, it will move for a while and hit the side of the harbor wall. hopefully, it will not crash
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into it head on. we must use all countermeasures now. dominic: one of those countermeasures is the vaccine. like in austria, only two thirds of germans have had their shots so far, a total the government says is still too little to end the pandemic. >> the truth is we will not be able to break away quick enough. we need measures to limit contacts. we were able to agree on a set of rules on thursday that will take attack -- affect when hospitalizations reach a certain level. dominic: the first casualties look to christmas markets. the rho variant prime minister has canceled all of his states festive gatherings. in berlin, the markets are being prepared for opening day later this month. many worry whether any customers will use the stores this year.
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>> in recent weeks, it has seemed where austria has led germany has followed, not just in terms of new infection rates and deaths but also in terms of new measures to combat covid. now that the government in vienna is imposing another lockdown on its people, the question many in berlin are asking is, is another one here just around the corner? dominic kane, al jazeera, in the german capital. anchor: the u.s. has all but approved covid-19 vaccine booster shots for everyone over the age of 18. regulators say people with two doses of pfizer or moderna six months ago are eligible. the centers for disease control director supports boosters and needs to sign up on the recommendation. 31 million americans have received a booster. u.s. president biden's one point seven $5 trillion spending bill goes to the senate after passing a divided house of representatives. the bill aimed at improving education, lowering health care costs, and tackling, change, past 220-213.
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kevin mccarthy spoke for 8.5 hours thursday night in order to delay that boat. lots more to come, including the u.k. government moving to designate all of hamas as a terrorist organization. iraqi security forces blocked bridges to stop more people joining protests against disputed election results. ♪ ♪ >> we have got signs of quiet to where they are making its way into the pacific northwest in the western side of canada. we have an area of low pressure here so still some bits and pieces. not as wet as it has been with high-pressure starting to nudge its way through. that will tend to push that wet and windy weather a little further east.
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still some snow coming in over the high ground as we make our way into sunday but the northwestern corner of the u.s. settles. our weather pushes across into central parts with lots of snow around the lakes. ontario could see rather wintry weather as we go through sunday. nothing unusual for central parts of canada. there are some very heavy rain sliding down across the great plains, pushing toward appellations as we go through the next day or so. joining us with the weather throughout florida pushing across into the yucatan peninsula, have downpours into central america. a few showers coming into cuba. a shower or two into hispaniola. for jamaica, it looks like lots of pleasant sunshine. temperatures in kingston at around 28 degrees celsius. ♪ ♪
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>> african narratives. from african perspectives. short documentaries by african filmmakers from across the continents. this is when you get to let your hair down. africa direct, coming soon on al jazeera. ♪ ♪ anchor: welcome back. our top stories here this hour, trouble on the border of poland with hundreds of refugees and
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migrants trying to cross into the eu, encouraged by valerie's. some found -- belarus. a jury found kyle rittenhouse not guilty of murdering two men and wounding another. he opened fire with a semi automatic during black lives matter protests in kenosha, wisconsin. he said he acted in self-defense. austria is the first western european country to impose another lockdown to make vaccination against the virus mandatory. restrictions will continue for three weeks after starting monday. the philippines among the last countries to reopen its goals after nearly 20 month closure due to coronavirus. the united nations children's fund says many filipino students are suffering from reduced burning. more now -- learning. reporter: after 19 months, mark and his classmates are finally back in school.
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they say it is a much-needed reunion, even if it does not seem like the weight it once was. >> i am happy to see my classmate again and to be able to get the help that they need from t-shirts after a full year experienced. correspondent: the philippines is the last country in the world to reopen its schools after the pandemic forced a month-long lockdown. out of the thousands of schools across the country, only 100 were chosen by the department of education for the two month pilot reopening. this is one of the very few schools that are allowed to reopen here in alabat island. teachers remain hopeful the reopening could also pave the way for schools to be back to normal again across the country. from sanitary stations to
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disinfection supplies, teachers made sure the details were left out. so far, so good, according to officials. >> it is very critical. in this country but also in the entire world. if it is low risk, we need to restart. where do we start, we need to start now. >> 100% of parents want him to experience face-to-face. correspondent: she says parents like her have seen the costs of distance learning. while his nine-year-old son mj says although he likes being at home with his mother, like millions of thin test filipino children, --millions of filipino children, he misses school very much. anchor: emergency crews are trying to reach thousands still stranded and the canadian province of british columbia days after floods and mudslides
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destroyed roads, houses, and bridges. major highways are reopening to limited traffic but most are cut off. the military is helping with rescue efforts and one person has died. gabriel is live in washington state. just talk it through the extent of the damage they are and how the cleanup operations are progressing. gabriel: well, i will start in british columbia, in canada, a kilometer or so behind me in that direction. that is where they u.s.-canadian border is at. british columbia has been hit hard and is trying to clean up there but as you mentioned, they are also trying to reach people that are stranded or isolated, that rescue crews have not been able to extract from the areas that have -- it is a city across the other side of the border over there. it is a city of 150,000 people in canada, the hardest hit area with a lot of farmlands and barns isolated as well.
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the army in canada is being used to help in the cleanup efforts. here in suman's in washington state, they are starting to cleanup efforts here as well but it is hard as you can see because the storm was so strong that it derailed an entire train. as you can see, the waters were rushing in this direction so strong that it burrowed under the entire tracks there. so they have crews here for the last 24 hours trying to get this area cleaned up but it gives you an idea of how bad the destruction was here. the train derailment goes all the way back as far as the eye can see. this is a town of 1500 people. 80% of the homes were damaged or partially destroyed. the good news is the vast majority of people here were able to get out of here, before the storm hit, more than 75
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percent of people just leaving when they got the warnings to evacuate. so the human life here is very minimal in terms of the human life lost. it was only one person, actually, but the description of the homes and property as bennett incredibly strong -- been incredibly strong. mainstreet completely set down -- shutdown and deserted because there used to be commerce between canada and the u.s. that is stopped because the border has been closed because of the storm. it will take a long time for this area to rebuild. people here are saying this was the worst storm they have seen in 30 years if not longer. anchor: the british government seeking to designate the palestinian militant group a terrorist was in is asian. the home secretary announced the move in washington dc.
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the military leader is prescribed as a terrorist organization. hamas says the decision is biased toward israel. more from a home office in london. correspondent: this is the clearest signal the british government will not compromise with hamas and wants to designate the organization as a terrorist organization. its military wing in 2001 was designated as such and britain's home secretary speaking in the united states says she was acting on new intelligence about its capabilities and out of a desire to connect jewish communities in britain. >> hamas is fundamentally a rapidly anti-semitic. anti-semitism is an enduring people i will never tolerate. anyone who supports or invites support from prescribed organization is breaking the law.
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that includes hamas in whatever form it takes. correspondent: in response, hamas accused the british government of being biased toward israel. >> we have to ask here whether it is the british start -- british minister or dies really minister who wants to create -- the israeli minister who wants to create more opportunities for palestinians. we will continue defending our people and fighting against. correspondent: there was concern about the possible impact on grassroots organizations in gaza that have been over the years dependent upon hamas for support. hamas and its military and political wing that is governed gaza since 2007 also has a social services wing, providing a range of supports to people in need their, including freshwater and housing, even covering people's rent in their homes were destroyed by israeli bombardments.
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there is some concern the money needed by these groups may well be stifled, as organizations and supporters around the world seek to distance themselves from hamas. nevertheless, pt is easy -- eager to get this through parliament next week, something that will happen given the governments's significant majority there. anchor: hundreds of people are maintaining their protest against the outcome of last month's election in iraq. pro-iran factions fared poorly are threatening violence. more from baghdadi. correspondent: for more than a month, they have been occupying the areas near baghdad's green zone. these are supporters of the pro-iranian political parties. the majority of them are members of the mobilization forces, the
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military wings of the political parties. security forces funded by three british leading to this area, anymore people enjoying the protest. they are calling on the electro commission to conduct a recount of all of the votes that only the disputed stations. recently high-profile officials in the country, including the imprisoned prime minister and the head of the supreme judicial council, have called for forming a government based on consensus, to diffuse the tension between the protesters and forces, to end this crisis. the shia cleric and political
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leader of the separatist movement that has state -- achieved the majority has reacted that idea. he said he is only wanting to form a government to be based on the majority. anchor: a quick reminder to catch up with all the news on our website. there it is on the screen. the address, aljazeera.com. that is aljazeera.com. ♪ anchor: time for a check of this top stories. poland says hundreds of refugees and migrants have tried to cross illegally into the you, encouraged by valerie's. some people found are seeking medical treatment. >> the situation at the border of belarus with poland but also lithuania and latvia is deeply concerning.
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lukashenko's regime used vulnerable people as means to pressure other countries. it is cynical and inhumane. nato stands in full solidarity with all affected allies. we remain vigilant and stand ready to further help our allies. anchor: a jury has found u.s. teenager kyle rittenhouse not guilty of murdering two men and wounding another. he opened fire with a semi automatic rifle during black lives matter protests in kenosha, wisconsin and said he acted in self-defense. at least two people have been injured during chaos in the dodge city of ruddiman with warning shots fired and water cannons after a protest against coronavirus restrictions file -- spiral into vibrant. loads are being reimposed. austria is the first western european country to impose of full covid-19 lockdown and make vaccination compulsory.
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restrictions will start monday and continue for three weeks. u.s. president biden's one point seven $5 trillion spending bill goes to the senate after passing a divided house of representatives. it is aimed at improving education, lowering health-care costs, and tackling climate change past 220-213. to british government is seeking to designate hamas a terrorist organization, announcing the move in washington dc. the military wing is prescribed by the u.k. already as a terrorist organization. emergency crews are trying to reach thousands stranded and -british columbia days- after floods and mudslidesi destroyed roadsn. those were the headlines in the news continues on al jazeera after contacts india, the health of the health care sector. ♪ >> syria's darkest days with one
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man leading the country throughout. >> president al-assad has lost legitimacy and needs to step down. >> how has he retained control through a decade of lord -- war? we examine the power gains of bashar ass. >> he is carrying out iranian orders. >> what kes you awake at night? assad, master of chaos, on al jazeera. >> welcome to contacts india. coming to you from mumbai, we take the time to deliver a considered analysis of this country. it's politics and its people. in each episode, we are taking a close look at a specific facet of what has been the biggest crisis india has faced since independence. covid pandemic. this our fourth and final episode, we are examining the india health care sector that crumbled under the pressure of
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the second wave of covid-19. we will look at issues of insufficient investment in public health care, the shortage of oxygen in many parts of the country, and the vaccine policy. i will speak with the former secretary of health for the government of india and the national spokesperson of the pgp. at the close of this episode, there will be an x or from pandemic art, music created in india through the covid months. we are featuring punjabi indie singer -- ♪ >> in april and may, 2020 one, indian social media space was flooded with messages like these. ♪
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>> the second wave of covid wrought havoc and it seemed the country's health care system was going under. on the first of may 2021, these were the tweets by hospitals in the capital of new delhi. ♪ >> we have just run out of oxygen. we are surviving on oxygen for the next 10 minutes. >> half an hour after this video message was issued by the executive director of a private hospital in new delhi, 12 patients there died. the oxygen ran out. it was not the first time during the second wave a lack of oxygen resulted in deaths. the delta variant of the coronavirus double charged the spread of covid in india in the first half of 2021.
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health care systems around the grove -- world had struggled with the virus. in 20 20's, there were medics in new york wearing. garbage bags as ppe. . in the u.k. in january 2021, soldiers were deployed to chronically understaffed intensive care wards. in the same months, regions in brazil struggled with oxygen shortages and critically low capacity. the crisis in india's health care sector was of a magnitude the country had not seen before. the delta variant alone does not explain the seeming collapse of so many hospitals and the most crucial phase of the pandemic. >> the indian health care system had several weaknesses before the pandemic struck. it had some strengths in the sense that the primary health care system was established right after independence.
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but it was fully inadequate and failed to serve the functions it needed to. urban family health care system was neglected, and under a false premise there would be adequate number of doctors in other areas. >> the health care system in india is between a weak, underfunded and neglected public health system, and the private sector. there is also very deep dependence on the private sector, which takes us to a large proportion of health care delivery in the country. what we ended up with is on one hand, based on optimal care that is provided through a weakened public, health system, and on the other hand, we have the private sector that operates n a -- on a profit-driven model.
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>> compared with many other countries, india weathered the first wave of covid well. the government implemented the largest lockdown in the world, which despite creating chaos due to its sudden advancement help contain case numbers. what happened after the first wave very likely contributed to the intensity of the second wave. >> it was in the second wave the biggest challenge was thrown at the health system. a combination of several factors. first of all, we had several weaknesses in the health care system. the level of population we mounted in the latter half of 2020 started becoming dism antled. then, we saw this coordination, because of a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that because of the election and the violence, super highway
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traveling across india with the large crowds gathering for religious gatherings and for elections. and at this time, the various sorts of payment. >> a key element of the response strategy has been a muniz asian drives. the vaccine manufacturing capacity in india is one of the highest in the world and supplies from india were a crucial factor in the plans put together by many countries for their own vaccination campaigns. >> [speaking hindi] >> the covid-19 vaccine global access, a covax program backed by the who and unicef, signed agreements with india in august and september 2020 or 200 million doses of vaccine medication. in february 20 21, the director general of the who tweeted this.
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by mid april, india had sold a combined total of 66 million doses to nearly 100 countries. india's domestic vaccination drive in the early months of 2021 had been slow compared to other countries. the second wave demanded action. on the 25th of march, india halted all exports of the vaccines. those supplies were meat needed to meet domestic demand. bringing immunization to full capacity in a short period of time was not easy. >> there were many changes for the vaccination policy, and along the way, there were many missteps. there was a lack of preparation when it came to the production of the vaccine, which led to a situation of shortages and slow down immunization drive at the early stages. another controversial aspect of the policy has been how the government has chosen to at
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various points involve the private sector, that is- private-hospitals specifically in vaccination. correspondent: that policy mental private hospitals were allowed to purchase and administer vaccines. by august, parliament reported 79% of the vaccines revert -- reserved for private -- private companies would be utilized. a reason for the lack of uptake was caused. indians were reluctant to pay high prices, being charged for vaccines administered for free by the state. >> six months since the peak of the second wave of covid in the country, india's immunization drive has made up a remarkable amount of ground. according to government data, at the start of october 2021, 920 5 million doses have been administered in the country. in an effort to expand distribution, drones will be tried out to deliver vaccines to remote locations.
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with domestic production capabilities increasing, india was able to resume exporting vaccines. >> there is strange vaccination drive, one of the largest in the world. for one, it created high levels of awareness about the covid vaccination in the public. another positive outcome is a lot of healthcare workers and other district administrators and staff, even in remote areas, have been enlisted and working closely for the success of the program. we have achieved, to a degree, the capability of strengthening distribution. >> while the scale and strength of the vaccination network, the second wave exposed to the chronic underinvestment and inequalities in the country's health care system overall.
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in the aftermath, specialists and policy advisers have advocated for a boost in state funding. >> over the past few decades, we have seen public financing of health care, stagnated around 1% of the gross domestic product. it has risen now in the recent years. there is still a high part of public spending that incurred with a number of people presenting inequality. we need much greater health financing, at least 3% of it gdp , as public financing of health care. they function effectively, whether infrastructure or supplies and the health workforce not pulling into place. correspondent: covid devastated numerous countries but india's experience especially during the second wave was one of the most shocking pandemic ordeals. the covid impact both insured
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and the long-term term will be significant especially in the health care sector. i'm discussing the challenges with the former secretary of health for the government of india, the national spokesperson of the pgp. welcome to context india. my first question. is to both of you. . india has inequitable record and dealing with the likes of polio, smallpox. why is it, then, that they were not able to deal with the pandemic? >> you are right. we did a tremendous job in dealing with -- we have done well in infections. it is very infectious and lethal. we were part of god. correspondent: given india's
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expertise in dealing with health pandemics, why did india not deal with the pandemic better? >> so does india. this pandemic to build at work by surprise. if you look at the deadlocked economies, there are countries, look at how many deaths they had. look at how many cases they had and how many we had. to say india did not handle it is obvious because it is something that was completely at work. if you look at casualties elsewhere, -- all the number of cases in the size of the population. secondly, you know, on a competitive scale, we did it brilliantly. look at the number of vaccinations. in the perspective, looking at how india has done and how things have happened, i think we have done it well.
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correspondent: your argument this was unknown may have been true in the first wave of 2020, but in the second wave of 2021, we have a clear idea of what this virus was and how it moved around. if i may, let me call off statistics. according to the u.n., india ranked 155 out of 167 countries on hospital dead -- bed availability. according to the union health ministry, we had one doctor per 11,600 indians. these show we could have been better prepared if our health care was stronger, which it was not. >> those are two different things you are addressing. one is the interest of the country. yes, india, given its population and economy, has inadequacy. the issue is, how did we deliver the second wave?
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these are proportions that nobody would anticipate. india is bigger than economies and has its limitations but lookingt -- it was availble. looking at the vaccination that has been done, it is successful. correspondent: do you agree with his argument here? >> i have to respectfully disagree. this does sharply prepare for such an event. much more unprepared for the second event because, given the fact that not only have we gone through day one, we also saw a new variant that popped up. uk was offering usually with a backlash of that in december. you ought to have expected the second wave.
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. there is undeniably a lot of complacency with the second wave disaster. why i disagree is it is true the health system is weakening. i imagine, because of the political neglt over the last 70 hours, whatever, from 1947, because the amount we spend is so minuscule. if you ask me one reason why we did not do as well as we could have and we have the capacity to better was because of the failure, public health leadership not being there in india, because driven by technical people who were not public health specialists, and they made several missteps which would have been foreseen easily by any expert. there were some mistakes made.
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at least now, what i worry about our statements made by political leaders. when you feel you are doing it well, it is a nice factor. in that we forget we need to see it never happens again. as a point, i would like to say that i think that we need to be more humble by the experience we have gone through. many of the deaths and suffering would have been avoided. we could have had the pet -- capacity and knowledge of india to have done better, if only the public health leadership was allowed its space and if that lesson is not, iw ould say the experience is not lost on us. correspondent: during the second wave, people were not just dying of covid. they were reportedly dying of shortage of oxygen and hospital beds.
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what responsibility does the central government do for that? >> it's a legacy issue. you need to push it into the middle of the day. it would be most unfair. it's not like putting up a tent. i would say the government did equally well in trying to operate the medical availability of beds. you like at 8000 cases a day maximum. it could go to 12,000 or 14,000 or 16,000. you don't go to 40,000 cases a day in a city like delhi. it si a fact. this country has inadequate infrastructure because it is a developing country.
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these resources are spent on sickness. how do you respond to the challenges of the population? this kind of answer would be there. i'm not saying the government did this or the opposition government did this. i think every government -- tackle the issue. they were lazy. as i said, there is no benchmark. yes, things could have always been better for everything. there was sincerity. was it succeeded? yes, that is it. correspondent: you have worked with the health ministry for over two decades. if you want to respond to his point, there was no way to predict the number of cases that
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are city saw on a daily basis. >> it is a fact. you can never -- our health system can only be expanded or ready to up to a point. even the both --best health system we had. this variant really had us. for more cases -- far more cases. you would never expect the demand for oxygen that came up due to covid because it was way beyond expectations and our ability. the problem is that our modeling was so poorly done and the data was not put out so we did not have good modeling. everything is ok. there is nothing to worry. it was not expected. that's the reason we ought to be
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transparent. the country can only benefit by more data being devleoped in the public domain so better research comes in. they were based on which decision. it is truly a and completely defenseless. yes, it's overwhelming. 30,000 cases a day i believe is something -- it was difficult. what was the effort to educate? no it was not. had we been aware this could happen, we would have been better prepared. this definition has done more for that window, thanks to the covid cases coming down from november, december, january february. it was a wasted opportunity. correspondent: a question for
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you out of the new york times dated september 14, 20 21, which said senior officials from the government forced scientists at elite institutions to downplay the threat of covid to prioritize the political goals. what is your response? >> it is a difficult case. new york times have never questioned the u.s. government. correspondent: new york times has questioned the government. that is a fact. >> i can make any kind of indications. it must be something backed by political evidence. it is backed by something. when we look at ourselves, we have facts and figures. i concede these were not things that would have been anticipated. correspondent: i come back to
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you to respond to him. do you also believe the government did the federal income making those decisions? >> i don't want toet. into a blame game. . i would say even the best were confused. it is the media and the pandemic and the way it worked out. having said that, there was some situation. if it had been far more inclusive and more transparent, -- even in the vaccine policy, i agree with him. it is amazing that we can cover 950 with a single shot. 25% of the population has gotten full protection. there is a long way to go and we would have achieved a much better in previous ambition of the prime minister could have a lot of accidental nucleary decemberould have been
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realized, h we taken what we did in april, had we done it way back last year in november,nd in january with two vaccines approved. then there were so many other steps that could have been taken after that time. anchor: my question to you -- of all the decisions made by governments now, do you think we are adequately prepared for a third wave if anything else? >> i think the proof of the political leadership, there is a lot of countries, how it is infecting for everybody to see. the reason why is because of the vaccination program. i would also say that because of it, it has given confidence. fighting a pandemic can be solve d, if you have the desire that
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the country has shown. i am very optimistic the essn ence, which this unexpected, unknown disease has given the nation, these boosters have been well understood and well learned. people of this country are prepared for it. correspondent: thank you for speaking to us and giving us your time. finally, there are a multitude of artists in india who created were throughout the pandemic and wanted to feature some of the very languages they worked in and the perspectives they bring. we are closing with an expert - - excerpt of a song that translates to "pandemic". thank you for watching context india on al jazeera english. ♪
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dawn: there's, there's only a few of us that speak out and then, you know, "oh, they're radical." are we really racal orre we ju trying to getut? in the uted stat are victims violence. del to: theye fiting r themselves and ch oth. woman: my m becomes helping women reize justow stro they are. l toro:"sistersising," on . ♪ america reframed■ was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting,

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