Two Australian evacuees positive for virus after being cleared in Japan

first_imgJapanese health minister Katsunobu Kato challenged the Australian account, indicating some evacuees may have not been cleared.”We still don’t know the details, and to obtain details we need to communicate (with the Australian authorities), but not all the Australians who left together by a chartered flight had gotten negative test results,” he said.The Australians who left by chartered flight “include those who we recognise as people who were cleared to disembark and those who were not”.Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, said the public should not be concerned.”I just want to reassure the community that whilst this is another two cases in Australia, it’s a first for some time now. These were expected and we’re well-placed to manage them,” he said.Fifteen previous cases of coronavirus in Australia had been linked to the outbreak of the illness in China.Topics : Two Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus on their return home despite being cleared in Japan, authorities said Friday.Health officials in Canberra told AFP all 164 Australians who returned home earlier this week were tested for COVID-19 in Japan and returned negative results.But six evacuees have since been retested, and two — described as “an older person” and “a younger person” — were found to be infected. “Those two people have mild illness,” said Dianne Stephens, acting chief health officer for the Northern Territories.Australian officials stressed the discovery was “not unexpected”, given the continued spread of the disease on the Diamond Princess after testing began.Hundreds of foreigners have been allowed to leave the ship after being cleared of the virus, but many have returned to their home countries to face further quarantine.Hundreds of cleared Japanese passengers, however, were warned only to “stay at home unless absolutely necessary”, to never use public transport, and to use a mask if they venture out.last_img read more

Coronavirus puts ‘fragile’ global recovery at risk: IMF to G20

first_img“The risk is now confirmed, and so is the impact on the global economy, and it is a real concern for all G20 members.”EU economic affairs commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the G20 was ready to react with “pro-growth policies” to alleviate the downside risks.”The main risk is the outbreak of the coronavirus and the consequences that this outbreak” could have are tied to the duration of the epidemic, Gentiloni told reporters in Riyadh.’Stark reminder’ At the meeting in Saudi Arabia, the first Arab nation to hold the G20 presidency, financial leaders also discussed ways to achieve consensus on a global taxation system for the digital era.Several leaders including Le Maire voiced hope for a “technical agreement” to tax digital giants — a key bone of contention between the US and several European nations — by July and a broader global deal by the end of 2020.Le Maire said climate change was also part of the G20 discussion for the first time in three years.But the impact from the new coronavirus outbreak formed the core of the discussions, along with an action plan to shield the world economy — already facing a slowdown.The gathered financial leaders vowed to “enhance global risk monitoring” of the outbreak, according to the G20 final communique. “We stand ready to take further action to address these risks,” it said.Georgieva told the Riyadh gathering that the outbreak would shave about 0.1 percentage points from global growth and constrain China’s growth to 5.6 percent this year, in a baseline scenario.”I reported to the G20 that even in the case of rapid containment of the virus, growth in China and the rest of the world would be impacted,” she said.The IMF projects a “V-shaped, rapid recovery” for the global economy, but given the uncertainty around the spread of the virus, Georgieva urged the financial leaders to prepare for “more adverse scenarios”.She warned the global economy faced other risks including rising debt levels in some countries, but in particular urged G20 nations to cooperate to contain the spread of the virus.”COVID-19 is a stark reminder of our interconnections and the need to work together,” Georgieva said. “In this regard, the G20 is an important forum to help put the global economy on a more sound footing.”Topics : “The COVID-19 virus — a global health emergency — has disrupted economic activity in China and could put the recovery at risk,” Georgieva said in a statement.The virus has now claimed more than 2,400 lives in China, cutting off transportation, disrupting supply chains and fanning investor alarm as businesses are forced to close their doors.Paris on Friday announced a host of measures to assist French companies affected by the fallout from the epidemic.”We are ready to take any additional measures if necessary to cope with a possible worsening of the impact on the global economy,” said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who attended the G20 talks. The deadly coronavirus epidemic could put an already fragile global economic recovery at risk, the IMF warned Sunday, as G20 financial chiefs voiced “real concern” over its economic ripple effects.Global growth was poised for a modest rebound to 3.3 percent this year, up from 2.9 percent last year, International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva said after a two-day meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Riyadh.But the projected recovery was “fragile”, she warned, amid global alarm over rising Coronavirus cases in multiple countries even as Chinese authorities lock down millions of people to prevent its spread, with major knock-on effects for the world economy.last_img read more

Floods displace over 19,000 Greater Jakarta residents: BNPB

first_imgThousands of Jakarta residents are seeking refuge following widespread following, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has said.As of Wednesday, the BNPB’s command center recorded 19,901 displaced residents throughout 214 subdistricts in Greater Jakarta, with East Jakarta as the most affected area. The refugee shelters are located in 11 regencies and municipalities across the region, including Central Jakarta, North Jakarta, West Jakarta, South Jakarta, East Jakarta; Bekasi regency and Bekasi, West Java; and Tangerang, South Tangerang and Karawang regency in Banten. A total of 74,452 individuals, some 22,405 families, have been affected by the floods.  “The water levels in the affected areas vary from 5 to 100 centimeters. In some parts of East Jakarta, the water level remains at 100 cm,” BNPB spokesperson Agus Wibowo said in a statement on Wednesday. The command center has also recorded five deaths and three missing people in relation to the flooding. The fatalities were residents of Bekasi, East Jakarta, West Jakarta, and South Tangerang respectively, while two of the missing people are from Bekasi and one is from South Tangerang.  Topics :last_img read more

Erick Thohir to turn SOE-owned hotel into isolation ward for COVID-19 patients

first_imgState-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir plans to transform the Patra Comfort Hotel in Central Jakarta, which is owned by state-owned energy company Pertamina, into an isolation ward for suspected coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.Pertamina Jaya Hospital in Central Jakarta, also owned by the company and located near the hotel, also has rooms for confirmed COVID-19 patients.”There will be an additional of 52 [beds] in the hotel for people under observation [for COVID-19] on top of the 65 [beds in the hospital]. [The hotel] will become a safehouse,” SOE Ministry spokesperson Arya Sinulingga said on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com. Read also: ‘It was too crowded’: Patients find it hard to get COVID-19 tests, treatmentHe added that an additional 90 beds would be provided for confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital. The hospital will also have a laboratory to detect the coronavirus, radiology equipment as well as isolation rooms.”Pertamina Jaya Hospital will use its old buildings near Jl. Cikini Raya [in Central Jakarta] and Jl. Pramuka Raya [in East Jakarta]. There are high-pressure isolation rooms in the building, so the virus won’t be bale to go through its ventilation system,” said Arya.He added that the specialized COVID-19 sections of the hospital and hotel would be operated by 10 specialists, eight general practitioners and three trained nurses.As of Tuesday, Indonesians health authorities had confirmed 172 COVID-19 cases across the country, including in Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, Banten, Bali, North Sulawesi and West Kalimantan. The government claimed that at least five people had died from the disease, while nine others had recovered. (aly)Topics :last_img read more

Sewing machines become latest weapon against coronavirus as California volunteers swing in

first_imgA Google spreadsheet circulating online showed informal requests for almost three dozen medical facilities in the Bay Area, including the University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF), Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health. Each request described items the facilities would accept and how to deliver them.With California under a stay-at-home order, Paul rallied volunteer sewers to help. She has posted an instructional video on YouTube, provided kits with materials, and coordinated deliveries.“We’re all volunteering, and it just shows what a group of concerned citizens can do. We’ll probably get 100 masks out today,” said Paul, whose company, Indigo Handloom, is partnering with community members, including City College of San Francisco’s fashion department, to increase mask production.Anne Cocquyt, 36, in San Francisco, spent the weekend collecting unused and unopened boxes of N95-masks for nurses at Kaiser. She said she felt compelled to help after hearing reports on social media that nurses were cutting up plastic bottles to use as face shields.“That’s when we said ‘OK, we need to do something right now,'” Cocquyt said. “This is a drop in the bucket but at the same time this might be one day’s worth of supplies for the nurses in the ER.”In a statement, Kaiser Permanente said it was working to increase its supply of protective gear as quickly as possible and develop “a process to efficiently collect, inventory, inspect, and distribute these donations.”UCSF, meanwhile, set up three donation sites that opened on Monday. A statement called the donations critical for frontline employees.  Smita Paul has been sewing scarves and clothing for her small fashion business since 2003 but ever since the coronavirus struck the Bay Area and created a shortage in personal protective equipment for hospital workers, she has switched from sewing scarves to sewing masks.“We are all horrified. The idea of one of my friends having to go into this situation without having any protective gear, I just can’t imagine,” said Paul. “If we can do one little thing, we’re going to do it.”Paul is among a growing number eager to answer desperate calls from healthcare workers on social media and community forums asking for assistance in acquiring masks, gloves and other equipment needed to protect them against the pandemic that has killed at least 660 people in the United States and sickened more than 50,000. Craig Enis, 50, works as a registered subacute nurse at Generations Healthcare in Walnut Creek, California. He said the facility is running low on surgical masks, gowns for isolation rooms, and hand sanitizer.“N95-masks are just nonexistent right now,” he said.Enis is afraid for himself as a healthcare worker and for his vulnerable patients, but nothing scares him more than possibly bringing home the virus to his two children.“It’s incredibly scary because I’m a single father, and they have no choice but to be with me, so whatever I come home with, they’re exposed to,” Enis said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Jokowi calls on public to remain calm, emphasizes importance of praying amid pandemic

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on the public to remain patient and calm as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the lives of Indonesians across the archipelago.In a mass prayer event held by the Religious Affairs Ministry on Thursday morning, Jokowi encouraged the public to stay optimistic by assisting those in need during these unprecedented times.He also emphasized the importance of praying as a vital component in the country’s efforts to overcome the current health crisis.“Let us face this challenge with patience and composure. Panic is half of the disease, equanimity is half of a cure, and patience determines recovery,” Jokowi said in his opening speech.The President went on to say that he was moved by the rise of community movements that aim to provide for the needs of those bearing the brunt of the health emergency, as it signifies the country’s unwavering commitment to humanitarian causes.“[…] the rise of unity from all corners [of the nation] is a great force that strengthens my belief that we can overcome this disaster together,” Jokowi said.In the same event, COVID-19 national task force head Doni Monardo also called on citizens to support each other and keep practicing preventive measures to minimize the risk of infection.“I believe that, with the spirit of unity and discipline, we will be able to survive [this pandemic],” Doni said.Read also: COVID-19: People will feel calm if govt is credible, SBY saysThe event, which was streamed live on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel, featured several prominent religious figures, including Muslim scholar Quraish Shihab, Indonesia Confucianism High Assembly (Matakin) chairman Budi S. Tanuwibowo, and Indonesian Council of Bishops chairman Ignatius Cardinal Suharyo.As of Wednesday, Indonesia had confirmed at least 15,438 COVID-19 cases and 1,028 deaths linked to the disease.Topics :last_img read more

Jokowi holds muted Idul Fitri prayers with family, aides

first_img“If before Ramadan we were in conflict with each other, insulting each other, committing many wrongdoings, on this Idul Fitri holiday let us make a commitment to improve ourselves, get along with each other, forgive each other, unite and tighten the bonds of brotherhood,” Muhammudun said in his Idul Fitri sermon on Sunday.Beside the President’s family, the prayers at Bogor Palace were attended by presidential security detail commander Col. Achiruddin, presidential press bureau staffer Erlin Suastini, presidential aide First Lt. Mat Sony Masturi and the President’s personal bodyguard, First Lt. Windra Sanur.After the prayers, Jokowi and his family celebrated the holiday in Bogor rather than in his hometown of Surakarta in Central Java, in accordance with the governments ban of the Idul Fitri exodus that usually sees millions leave the major cities to gather with their extended families in their hometowns.The State Palace has also announced that Jokowi will be foregoing the traditional open house event due to the COVID-19 outbreak.Previously, Coordinating Legal, Political and Human Rights Minister Mahfud MD reminded the public that mass Idul Fitri prayers in mosques or public squares were prohibited this year by the Health Ministry’s regulation on large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) and the 2018 Health Quarantine Law.The country’s largest religious organizations, namely Muhammadiyah, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), had also encouraged Muslims to pray at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo performed Idul Fitri prayers with his family and a few aides in front of the Bayurini Pavilion of Bogor Palace in West Java, in accordance with the government’s proscription of mass prayers during the COVID-19 outbreak.Jokowi, First Lady Iriana and their youngest son Kaesang Pangarep joined the Idul Fitri prayers led by Baitussalam Mosque welfare council head Muhammudun. last_img read more

Syria jihadist-regime clashes leave 41 fighters dead

first_imgAn Al-Qaeda offshoot led an offensive Monday against regime forces in northwest Syria, sparking clashes that left 19 pro-government fighters and 22 jihadists dead, a war monitor said.”Jihadist factions led by Hurras al-Deen launched an assault on two villages in Sahl al-Ghab,” a region of the central province of Hama, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.They briefly seized the villages of Al-Fatatra and Al-Manara, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said. Topics : The offensive was launched from within the Idlib region, which is controlled by jihadists and rebels and is the last bastion of resistance to Damascus after nine years of devastating civil war.A truce reached on March 6 has largely stemmed fighting in the region, which President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to fully retake.Hurras al-Deen is a relatively small but powerful armed group led by Al-Qaeda loyalists.It is a rival of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance of Islamist factions dominated by former members of Al-Qaeda’s ex-Syria affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra — although the two groups cooperate at times.The Idlib truce brokered by regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey has largely kept Syrian and Russian warplanes out of the region’s skies.The calm came as the novel coronavirus pandemic spread across the Middle East.Aid groups had warned that an outbreak of the COVID-19 illness in the Idlib region could cause a humanitarian disaster of previously unseen proportions.center_img But regime forces took them back just hours later amid Russian air strikes and intense shelling, the Britain-based monitor said.Abdel Rahman said the clashes left 19 government soldiers and 22 jihadists dead.The country’s official SANA news agency also reported the attack on “two Syrian army positions,” saying it involved “explosive-rigged vehicles and suicide bombers”.Citing a military source, it said the situation was now under control after the jihadists were forced to pull out under regime fire.  last_img read more

Indonesia, 8 IORA countries form working group to protect fisheries sector

first_imgThe newly established working group is expected to roll out concrete programs to support economic recovery after the pandemic, particularly in improving fishermen’s welfare, promoting marine tourism around the Indian Ocean and increasing trade and investment in the fisheries sector.Separately, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry’s capture fishery director general, Zulficar Mochtar, revealed that more than 3.5 million Indonesian fishermen had been impacted by the pandemic, which presented a major challenge for the fishermen in addition to illegal fishing, climate change, plastic waste and fish scarcity.“With this collective effort [the initiative] through the IORA forum, we hope to see an improvement in food sustainability and poverty reduction within the marine communities,” he said.Read also: Indonesia, US declare new protected marine areas in North MalukuAccording to the statement, the delegations produced several strategic documents in the meeting, including a draft on work programs that would be implemented in the short, medium and long term under the IORA mechanism.Indonesia has been actively involved in IORA, including as the chair in 2015 to 2017, during which the country hosted the first IORA Summit in 2017 in Jakarta and produced the Jakarta Concord – an agreement to reinforce the commitment of IORA member countries to uphold the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the main norm in maintaining peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region.The establishment of this new working group is also a follow up of the Jakarta Concord and the IORA Action Plan for 2017 to 2021. (asp)Topics : Read also: Healthy oceans: Keeping Asia and the Pacific afloatAccording to a statement published on the Foreign Ministry’s website, the cluster group will perform duties related to discussion over the fisheries sector in the Indian Ocean.Through this initiative, Indonesia hopes to manifest its leadership on marine and fisheries within the IORA forum, through which it also aims to strengthen its efforts in performing economic diplomacy, preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as well as improving fishermen’s welfare.“We are facing COVID-19 as a common enemy. As an organization comprising countries in the Indian Ocean, the IORA must renavigate its focus toward marine cooperation, including in the fisheries sector,” said the Foreign Ministry’s Asia-Pacific and African affairs director general, Desra Percaya, during the meeting.   Indonesia and eight other countries grouped under the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) established on Tuesday a regional working group on fisheries management that aims to sustain marine welfare around the world’s third-largest ocean amid and post COVID-19 pandemic.The initiative came from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Oman, Tanzania and Thailand; nine country members of IORA — an international organization comprising 22 states bordering the Indian Ocean — as well as from the IORA Fisheries Support Unit (FSU), a think-tank under the organization that focuses on fishery issues.It was inaugurated on Tuesday through the 1st Meeting of IORA Cluster Group on Fisheries Management (CFGM) held virtually, in which the Indonesian delegation was represented by the Foreign Ministry and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry.last_img read more

Coronavirus pandemic ‘showing no signs of slowing down’ in Americas: PAHO

first_imgShe highlighted 900,000 new cases and nearly 22,000 deaths reported in the region over the past week, most of them in Brazil, Mexico and the United States.Etienne said there were some bright spots. Chile, Argentina and Uruguay made “important progress” in strengthening influenza surveillance and vaccination programs, and there had been “very low” circulation of influenza this year, also highlighting the value of COVID-19 prevention measures such as handwashing and social distancing.She said several Caribbean countries had implemented effective travel restrictions to control outbreak clusters, and as a result, had now been able to resume non-essential travel.PAHO officials cautioned however, that reopening to attract key tourism income should be done gradually and that testing before travel could create a false sense of security.The officials added that while developments in vaccines were hopeful, problems could still arise in the lengthy process of rolling them out to populations and prevention should still be the priority for governments in the Americas. Topics : The novel coronavirus pandemic is showing “no signs of slowing down” in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization’s director said on Tuesday, with the virus landing in Guianese shield countries on the continent`s northeastern coast and surges in Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.Carissa Etienne told a virtual briefing from PAHO’s Washington headquarters that some Central American nations were seeing their highest weekly increase of cases since the virus landed, and that because of the high burden of infectious diseases and chronic conditions in the Americas, three out of 10 people – 325 million – were at “increased risk” of developing complications from COVID-19.”The impact of co-morbidities on the spread of the virus should be a clarion call to every country in the Americas: Use data to tailor your response and make health your top priority,” she said.last_img