Europe is epicenter of coronavirus pandemic: WHO

first_imgTedros announced that the WHO was launching a coronavirus Solidarity Response Fund. This would to allow people and organizations to contribute to help fund masks, gloves, gowns and goggles for heath workers, as well as diagnostic kits and investment in research and development, including for vaccines.Facebook will match up to $10 million in donations, while Alphabet Inc’s Google will donate $5 million, the WHO and UN Foundation later announced in a joint statement.Social distancing, where people avoid close proximity or touching, is a “tried and tested method” to slow the spread of a virus but “not a panacea” that will stop transmission, the WHO’s top emergency expert Dr. Mike Ryan said.Each country must decide on its own measures to protect its population, he said, adding: “But we’ve also consistently said that blanket travel measures in their own right will do nothing to protect an individual state.” Europe has now become the epicenter of a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed 5,000 lives around the world, “a tragic milestone”, the World Health Organization said on Friday.More than 132,000 cases of the virus have been reported in 123 countries since it emerged in December in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference.”Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of world combined apart from China,” he said in Geneva. Detection and isolation of infected people, as well as tracing their contacts and wider testing, must be part of a comprehensive strategy, Ryan said.”As part of an overall comprehensive strategy, there is a place – particularly inside national borders – for potentially restricting movement between zones, as we’ve seen in certain places,” he said.”But there is rarely a justification for blanket bans, unless of course the context and the risk defines that.”US President Donald Trump has announced sweeping travel restrictions to prevent people from 26 European countries – except for Britain and Ireland – from travelling to the United States in a bid to limit the virus spread.A number of other countries in recent days have announced stepped up border checks, and cancelled flights to other countries, in an effort to contain the spread.Trump on Friday declared a national emergency over the fast-spreading coronavirus, opening the door to providing what he said was about $50 billion in federal aid to fight the disease.center_img Topics :last_img read more

"Europe is epicenter of coronavirus pandemic: WHO"

Starbucks sees 47% drop in second-quarter earnings on coronavirus hit

first_imgTopics : The world’s largest coffee chain said same store sales in the United States began to decline on March 12 and have steadily worsened.The company also said revenue in China faced a shortfall of about $400 million compared with its expectations, with a 50% decline in comparable store sales for the second quarter ended March.Like most other restaurants, Starbucks had to close its cafe areas and move operations to drive-thru, carry out and delivery only in response to customer concerns and government mandates to help stop the spread of the deadly virus by limiting social contact.The company expects to report its second-quarter earnings on April 28.  Starbucks Corp on Wednesday forecast a 47% drop in second-quarter earnings, scrapped its full-year forecast and warned that the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic would extend into the final quarter of the fiscal year 2020.The company also said it would temporarily suspend its share buyback program and take steps to cut costs, but would maintain its quarterly dividend.Starbucks said it now expects to report second-quarter earnings of about 28 cents per share, reflecting the impact of lost sales for the period as well as higher costs. It had reported 53 cents per share in the year-earlier period.last_img read more

"Starbucks sees 47% drop in second-quarter earnings on coronavirus hit"

UK government issues guidance on safe sports training

first_img“Enabling athletes to get match-fit is an important milestone towards restarting competitive sport behind closed doors — but we have not given a green light yet,” said Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.”We are clear that this can only happen on the advice of medical experts and when it is safe to do so.”Many football clubs are already carrying out individual sessions for players and are hoping for a return to group training as early as next week, with the Premier League aiming to resume its season by playing games by mid-June.Restrictions on golf and tennis were eased in England on Wednesday, with the public allowed to play with one member of another household.However, the clamor of sports authorities to return to action has been met with some resistance from professional athletes, worried that their health is being put at risk.England international footballers Raheem Sterling and Danny Rose raised their concerns earlier this week.The Premier League held talks on Wednesday with unions representing players and managers. “The choice to return to training is also a personal one,” said chief executive of UK Sport Sally Munday.”Every sport is different and everyone’s personal circumstances are different and whilst clearly there are many who are keen to return to training as soon as possible, there are those who will have genuine concerns or personal circumstances that make this challenging.”England’s Rugby Football Union said it would have further talks with players and staff before resuming training.”There is still significant work to do and discussions to be had with players and staff before any form of training can resume,” the RFU said in a statement.”Their welfare will be at the heart of our decisions.” That can include individual training or groups of individual athletes training in the same facility but adhering to social-distancing rules.Step two would allow “social clustering”, with athletes and staff able to come into closer contact, for example tackling, sparring and sharing equipment.A move to the second stage would only take place once the government had given the go-ahead.The guidance also states that each sport should have a COVID-19 medical officer. The British government issued guidance on Wednesday on how elite sportsmen and women can safely return to training, paving the way for the potential relaunch of top-level action.Professional sport, currently on hold due to the coronavirus, can return behind closed doors in England from June 1.Under step one of the guidance, athletes, players and coaches can return to training premises for “organized individual program training”.center_img Topics :last_img read more

"UK government issues guidance on safe sports training"

UN agency recommends health guidelines for airlines

first_imgTopics : ‘Global reference’ But the ICAO does not advocate leaving every other seat open to assure physical distancing, a restriction that the airline industry sees as a threat to its profitability.The organization, nevertheless, asks passengers to remain as far from one another as possible.It also advocates that food on board be pre-packaged and that aircraft be regularly disinfected.Temperature checks should also be taken on a flight’s arrival.The measures aren’t obligatory but they are the product of a broad consensus that imparts “an authority that will make them a global reference for the first time on this issue since the start of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Philippe Bertoux, France’s representative on ICAO’s board, which led the “task force” debate.”These measures will facilitate a safe and sustainable return of the air travel,” Bertoux told AFP.To reopen after having been grounded for months and brought to its knees financially, the airline industry is pressing for rules to be harmonized to reassure passengers and states that have closed their borders in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.The ICAO estimates that the pandemic will reduce the number of air passengers by 1.5 billion by the end of the year. Mask wearing, temperature controls, disinfection of aircraft: the International Civil Aviation Organization on Monday published a series of health recommendations for the pandemic-hit airline industry as it relaunches air travel.The protocol was drawn up by an international task force formed by the Montreal-based ICAO with the help of other UN agencies like the World Health Organization and the powerful International Air Transport Association (IATA).Its report on relaunching aviation in the wake of COVID-19 was expected to be approved Monday by the ICAO’s executive committee. Online check-in before arriving at the airport should be given priority, and passages through security should be re-thought to limit physical contact and waiting in lines.Mobile tickets are advised, as well as other forms of no-contact technology, such as facial or eye scans.”This will eliminate or greatly reduce the need for contact with travel documents between staff and passengers,” the protocol said.Passengers are encouraged to travel as light as possible, with just one small piece of hand luggage. Newspapers and magazines will no longer be allowed on board, and duty-free sales will be limited.The wearing of a mask or face covering should be obligatory inside aircraft and terminals, where physical distancing of at least three feet (one meter) should be respected.Terminal access will be limited to passengers and their companions, such as those accompanying disabled travelers, and airport personnel.Aboard planes, passengers should wear masks, move as little as possible within the cabin, and not line up outside toilets to lessen the risk of infecting other passengers. People will be assigned specific toilet stalls on the plane in relation to where they are seated.Flight attendants will be provided with personal protective equipment that could include visors, gloves and medical masks. The changes being suggested are the most important for air travel since security measures put in place after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.IATA’s director general, Alexandre de Juniac, unveiled the main measures proposed in the “best practices” guide at the end of last week.The recommendations are intended to serve as a “framework” for assuring the safety of passengers and workers on planes and at airports.On their arrival at airports, travelers should present a health certificate and undergo an initial temperature check, under the guidelines.last_img read more

"UN agency recommends health guidelines for airlines"

COVID-19: Jokowi increases daily testing target to 20,000

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has increased the COVID-19 testing target to 20,000 samples per day as new cases mount in several regions of the archipelago.He has called on all stakeholders to make plans to achieve the new testing target.“I’m thankful that the previous target of 10,000 samples per day has been surpassed. I expect the next target to be 20,000 samples per day. We must start planning [to meet that target],” he said in his opening speech at a virtual limited Cabinet meeting on Thursday. According to a report published by the national COVID-19 task force on Wednesday, the total number of tests has reached 11,970 per day.The President also urged the national COVID-19 task force, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police to focus on mitigating the spread of the virus in the country’s three hardest-hit regions: East Java, South Sulawesi and South Kalimantan.“Please make them [a priority] so that we can further flatten the infection curve,” he added.As of Wednesday, East Java had reported 5,318 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 429 deaths; South Sulawesi had reported 1,668 confirmed cases and 75 deaths; and South Kalimantan had reported 1,033 confirmed cases and 90 deaths.Surabaya in East Java has been designated a “black zone” as the region had recorded 2,803 confirmed cases and 256 fatalities linked to the disease as of Wednesday, making it the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the province.Topics :last_img read more

"COVID-19: Jokowi increases daily testing target to 20,000"

AP I sees passenger surge in June as economy reopens

first_imgState-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I (AP I) has recorded a significant increase in passengers in June, as the government relaxes travel restrictions and gradually reopens the economy.The number of passengers in the country’s 15 airports managed by AP I was recorded at more than 222,000 passengers in the first half of June, a stark contrast from around 76,000 passengers flying in the entire month of May. Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi was the busiest among AP I managed airports in the first half of June, tailed by Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, which recently became an emerging COVID-19 epicenter. The airport in the country’s main tourism hub Bali, I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, recorded the steepest passenger decline with 4.76 million passengers as of May, a 47.13 percent yoy decline, as the country temporarily banned foreign visitors from entering Indonesia in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.Another airport operator, state-owned Angkasa Pura II (AP II), also recorded an increase in passengers in early June following the government’s travel restriction relaxation policy, which came into force June 8.The number of passengers in AP II’s 19 airports doubled to 14,700 passengers on June 10, from an average of 7,000 passengers on June 8 and June 9.The passenger traffic hike in both companies’ airports was also supported by airlines that had resumed flight operation. The country’s biggest airliner, Lion Air Group, resumed operations on June 10, after a temporary flight suspension earlier this month.“The number of passengers is slowly rising and stakeholders in our airports are working to ensure that health protocols are implemented,” the company’s president director, M. Awaluddin, said on June 11 in an official statement. Topics :center_img “Throughout the beginning to mid-June, there was an indication of passenger traffic increase from May, when the government was still implementing travel restrictions. AP I is optimistic that passenger traffic will gradually increase,” the company’s president director, Faik Fahmi, said in a press release Wednesday.As a guideline for air travel during the transition to the “new normal”, the government recently issued a circular on air travel. The regulation allows airlines to increase passenger numbers per flight to 70 percent of the respective aircraft’s capacity, up from the previous 50 percent, seen as a major boost to the ailing aviation industry.The pandemic-related large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) have severely weakened demand for air travel. According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the number of domestic air passengers fell 85.18 percent year-on-year (yoy) in April to around 840,000, while international air passenger numbers fell 98.26 percent yoy.Despite the surge in June, AP I’s total number of passengers between January and May dipped 40.36 percent to 18.7 million from the same period last year.last_img read more

"AP I sees passenger surge in June as economy reopens"

Singapore PM’s brother won’t contest election

first_imgThe PAP – which has ruled unbroken since independence in 1965 currently holds all but six of parliament’s 89 seats and has never seen its vote drop below 60 percent.The only opposition party with seats in parliament – the Workers’ Party – has warned they face a potential wipe-out in the upcoming election where physical campaigning has been severely restricted by virus safeguards.Lee Hsien Yang, 62, was a senior business executive who had largely stayed out of the public eye before his father’s death in 2015 sparked a feud with his brother over their family home.”It would have been the most natural thing for me to have entered political office. But political leadership in Singapore needs to be much more than about one family or one man,” Lee Hsien Yang said in his Facebook post. Topics : “I have chosen not to stand for political office because I believe Singapore does not need another Lee,” Lee Hsien Yang said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, the deadline for candidates to register their intent to stand in the election.Lee Hsien Yang was earlier seen with members of his new Progress Singapore Party near the nomination center for a seat which his father held for 60 years until his death in 2015.PSP chief Tan Cheng Bock told media on Tuesday Lee Hsien Yang did not want voters to think the family dispute was his motivation for entering politics.Prime Minister Lee, 68, declined to comment on his brother on Tuesday and has previously said the election is not about family disputes.center_img The Singapore prime minister’s estranged brother said on Tuesday he will not contest the July 10 election as the city-state “does not need another Lee”.Lee Hsien Yang, who has been embroiled in a bitter family dispute with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, last week joined the opposition to the party their father, Lee Kuan Yew, led through the city-state’s independence and rise as a nation.He has made multiple criticisms of the government in recent weeks, including its decision to hold the vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, but his emergence was seen as unlikely to challenge the People’s Action Party’s tight grip on power.last_img read more

"Singapore PM’s brother won’t contest election"

Esemka carmaker takes wing with Garuda SUV production

first_imgAccording to the Home Ministry’s data on vehicle ownership transfer fee (BBNKB), the Esemka Garuda 1 is worth Rp 278.25 million (US$18,854) before taxes.Prior to commencing production of the Esemka Garuda 1, PT SMK launched two pickup trucks called the Bima 1.2 and the Bima 1.3 in September 2019.The company is currently developing two other cars in cooperation with state-owned weapons manufacturer Pindad: an electric double cab truck called Digdaya and an unnamed VVIP bulletproof SUV.Pindad secretary Tuning Rudyati said earlier in April that the two companies were discussing the development of a new line for the President’s official car.”Pindad has the competence to build armored and bulletproof vehicles, but we need further research to domestically produce commercial bulletproof cars,” she said at the time. “We’re still discussing the technical aspects of the plan.” (nal)Topics : Indonesian carmaker PT Solo Manufaktur Kreasi (PT SMK), known for its Esemka car brand, has started manufacturing its first SUV, the Esemka Garuda 1.PT SMK spokesperson Sabar Budhi confirmed the production of the Garuda 1 but remained tight-lipped about the model’s price.”We have started production, but we have not yet determined the price,” Sabar said on Monday as reported by read more

"Esemka carmaker takes wing with Garuda SUV production"

Djokovic urges ‘support’ for line judge after trolling

first_imgProminent members of the tennis community said there was no doubt that Djokovic, who was playing Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in the last 16, had to be disqualified.The United States Tennis Association said he was defaulted under the Grand Slam rules for “intentionally hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences”. Novak Djokovic urged his fans to be “supportive and caring” of the line judge at the center of his US Open default row after she was attacked by online trolls.Djokovic said the official, who was hit in the throat by a ball bashed away in anger by the world number one, had “done nothing wrong at all”.Some critics on social media accused the line judge, who fell to the ground and appeared to have trouble breathing, of exaggerating the extent of her injury. Topics :center_img “Please also remember the linesperson that was hit by the ball last night needs our community’s support too,” the 33-year-old Serb tweeted on Monday.”She’s done nothing wrong at all. I ask you to stay especially supportive and caring to her during this time.”Djokovic was disqualified because of the incident as he missed the chance to win his 18th Grand Slam title and close the gap on Rafael Nadal (19) and Roger Federer (20).He later said he was “extremely sorry” for causing the accident and said he had apologized to US Open organizers for his “behavior”.last_img read more

"Djokovic urges ‘support’ for line judge after trolling"

Australia to ease border limits and allow more citizens home

first_imgMorrison said there were an estimated 24,000 stranded Australians wanting to return home which the government has pledged to facilitate before Christmas.”With the success we have had as a country in recent months, we can start opening up again and we can start helping Australians getting home again,” Morrison told a press briefing.Australia is also looking to ease quarantine restrictions for returned travellers from New Zealand which has effectively stamped out the virus, and who account for 15% of returns, to free up hotels for other travellers, Morrison said.Australia closed its international borders early in the pandemic, and imposed strict lockdowns and social distancing measures, dramatically reducing the spread of the virus. It currently has a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for all international arrivals. Australia said on Friday it would increase the number of citizens allowed to return home each week to 6,000 as it manages to get new COVID-19 infections under control.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the cap on the number of people allowed into Australia each week would increase by 2,000 by mid October after a National Cabinet meeting where states agreed to boost quarantine capacity.The country’s weekly limit is currently set at 4,000 people. Australia has reported more than 26,800 coronavirus cases and 829 deaths, well below the infection and death rates of other developed countries.The bulk of its infections have been in the hotspot state of Victoria, were new infections have been falling for weeks.Victoria logged 45 fresh cases overnight and five deaths, the highest number of new cases in more than a week, following 28 new cases on Thursday which was the lowest in three months.Its rolling two-week average of new infections has been falling, raising hopes lockdown measures confining residents to their homes may be eased before the Oct. 26 deadline.Average cases over the last two weeks in Melbourne, the state’s largest city, fell below 50 this week, the benchmark the state set to start easing curbs.Australia’s six states and two territories have either closed domestic borders or severely limited entry.Queensland state said that it would open up its border to residents of the national capital Canberra, which has had no new infections in 10 weeks.The island state of Tasmania will begin accepting some workers from virus-free states from next week and will look at opening boarders more widely from Dec. 1, its premier said. center_img Topics :last_img read more

"Australia to ease border limits and allow more citizens home"