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FCC Panel: Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Pandemic in India

In the spring, distressing scenes of India’s second coronavirus wave spread across the globe, showing hospitals desperately trying to cope with an unprecedented surge in admissions and dwindling oxygen supplies. As a result, experts were left wondering, ‘What could we have learnt from the first wave to more adequately prepare?’, ‘What evidence and logic is guiding decision making?’, and ‘What impact will lockdowns and supply chain disruptions have on India’s already declining GDP growth prior to the pandemic?’ 

To get answers to these questions, Bloomberg correspondent and FCC Correspondent Governor Iain Marlow moderated an insightful discussion on India’s handling of the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic with a panel of revered experts of global health, public policy and economics.

“To me, in some ways the most visible political act of the second wave that ran thought he month of April and May was the national government completely abdicating itself of all responsibility, and trying to push blame [and] responsibility on to state governments,” said Yamini Aiyar, President of New Delhi’s Center for Policy Research. She went on to discuss the implications of an extreme push toward centralized decision making by Narendra Modi’s government, in a country long governed by complex state and religious laws.

Devaki Nambiar, program head at Australia’s George Institute for Global Health discussed the importance of healthcare infrastructure in handling the COVID-19 pandemic alongside concurrent health emergencies such as a Zika outbreak in Kerala and a Calicut airplane crash, as well as “extraordinary exclusion[s]” stemming from English-based vaccine registration platforms “in a country where just about 4% of the rural population has access to computers.”

Mihir Sharma, Bloomberg Opinion columnist and research fellow at India’s Observer Research Foundation, outlined the challenges of surveying India’s large informal workforce noting, “We’re probably not going to know for the next 6-8 months exactly what the situation is in terms of employment and welfare on the ground”. 

With declining GDP and tax revenue leading to a “situation where for the foreseeable future, for the years to come, we are a 90% or 85%-90% debt-to-GDP country… that makes a big difference to what the government thinks, and what the government thinks it can take on in terms of welfare, in terms of growth and in terms of supporting Indian citizens through what will be a fairly problematic return to normal,” said Sharma.

Watch the full discussion below:

Fox Sports Asia Presenter Matthew Marsh on F1 in the COVID Era

In a lunch talk hosted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, Fox Sports Asia analyst and FCC member Matthew Marsh gave a behind-the-scenes look at F1 in the age of COVID. 

He highlighted F1’s now Executive Chairman, Chase Carey, as “the person who performed best… [leading] a team that put on 17 races across 12 countries” in 2020 as the sport grappled with challenges brought about by the pandemic. He added that F1 is “much more financially sustainable now than it was before.”

Having presented much of his F1 coverage from his home in Hong Kong during the pandemic, Marsh also discussed the nuances of in-person versus remote journalism, and he shared his thoughts on how F1 coverage after COVID may evolve. 

“As a journalist, being able to talk to other journalists, being able to talk to team people, being able to watch the way they behave is critical,” said Marsh, comparing the experience of firsthand, in-person reporting versus remote reporting.

The flip side of that is… when I interview drivers on Zoom or whatever it is we’re using, it’s better. Would you believe?” said Marsh.

“When it’s one on one… the person looks at me the same way they probably do with their friends.”

Watch the full event below:

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club Awards Clare Hollingworth Fellowships

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club Awards Clare
Hollingworth Fellowships
Amy Sood
Amy Sood is joining AFP after recently earning her master’s degree from the University of Hong Kong’s journalism program. She has previously interned with CNN and NBC News.
Hillary Leung
Hillary Leung is an Associate Editor at Coconuts Hong Kong, where she covers everything from politics to social issues. She was previously a reporter for TIME magazine and an intern at news verification agency Storyful.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong is pleased to announce that it has chosen Amy Sood and Hillary Leung as recipients of the third annual Clare Hollingworth Fellowship, named in honor of the preeminent and path-breaking journalist.
The panel of judges noted the winners offer clear potential as future leaders both within the FCC and the wider Hong Kong journalism community.
The Fellowship is focused on early-career journalists and current journalism school students in Hong Kong.
The open competition drew significant interest from a cross spectrum of applicants. The adjudicators noted the high standard of applicants and encouraged all to apply again next year.
For further information on the Clare Hollingworth Fellowship, please visit

FCC Influenza Vaccination 2021

FCC Influenza Vaccination 2021
Dear Members,

All FCC staff will participate in an influenza immunization programme in October 2021. The vaccination will be administered by a registered doctor from a reputable clinic in Central.

There will be 50 doses available for FCC members on specific dates at a discount price HK$220.

Anyone who is interested please complete the reply slip and reserve with the FCC concierge at (tel) 2521 1511, (fax) 2868 4092 or (email) [email protected] on or before Thursday, October 7, 2021.

  1. The influenza vaccine is only available for the child above 6 months.
  2. Any person who is hypersensitive to egg protein, suffer from acute severe febrile illness or previous severe allergic reaction to flu vaccine etc. is not suitable to take the influenza vaccine.
  3. The influenza vaccine can only be taken after the completion of 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and that 14 days have passed from the date of receiving the 2nd dose.
  4. Most people achieve protection from influenza vaccine approximately 2-3 weeks after receiving the immunization, so travelers should allow adequate time for vaccination before departure.
  5. It is recommended to consult your personal doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking the vaccine.
  6. Confirmation will be sent to you once your booking is accepted. If you do not receive a confirmation within two working days, please contact our Concierge.
  7. The amount shown below will charge to your FCC membership account in November 2021.
  8. Booking period: October 11–22, 2021 (Weekdays, 10am-12nn; 2:30pm-5pm / Saturday, 10am-12nn / Sunday & Public holiday will be closed)
Click here to download the form

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