India's COVID surge; China growth; USA sanctions Russia

In today's episode, we revisit the COVID situation in India as the country continues to record cases in hundreds of thousands every day, discuss Chinese economic revival after a year of pandemic, and finally look at USA placing sanctions on Russia over alleged cyberattacks.
Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • India has been reporting over 200,000 daily cases since 15 April, and several parts, including its capital - Delhi have been placed under partial lockdown. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held meetings with executives and medical researchers for two consecutive days to discuss ways in which the new coronavirus variant could be restricted from spreading. Researchers are yet to determine whether the new variant spreads faster or is more lethal, but the rapidity at which the virus is infecting India’s population is alarming and Mr Modi hopes the use of 3Ts: tracking, testing, and tracing, to break the chain. 

  • China reported positive growth after having effectively controlled the coronavirus according to Chinese authorities. The country’s economy grew at a record 18.3% in the first quarter this year, compared to the same quarter last year. However, growth in terms of GDP was relatively low as Beijing had seen a 6.8% contraction in the first quarter, last year. According to statistics released by Beijing, Industrial output for March rose 14.1% over a year ago, and retail sales grew 34.2%. The first quarter of 2020 had seen Beijing registering massive losses in its manufacturing sector as well as consumer spending due to a lockdown it had imposed to contain the 2019 coronavirus. 

  • Last week, the US announced sanctions against the Kremlin for alleged cyber-attacks. Saying that Russia was responsible for last year's "SolarWinds" hack that targeted the US federal government leading to a series of data breaches, the White House called the sanctions a move to deter "Russia's harmful foreign activities". The US sanctions target 32 entities and officials accused of trying to influence the 2020 US presidential election and other acts of disinformation online and bars US financial institutions from purchasing Ruble-denominated bonds from June. The Kremlin has responded by saying that such acts would get a decisive response. 

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