Overseas students form helpful volunteer group to offer assistance in Wuhan

UNTV News   •   February 20, 2020   •   317

CHINA (Reuters) – International students at a university in Wuhan City have formed a volunteer team to provide services for other students on campus since they are not allowed to go outside as part of the current epidemic control measures.

After the outbreak, a doctoral student, who goes by his Chinese name Daming and is from Benin, took the initiative to put together a group of students to help with deliveries for the 320 international students being housed at the Silk Road Institute under the China University of Geosciences.

His volunteer team is made up of students from 13 countries that include Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Madagascar, Rwanda, and Yemen.

On top of delivering essentials to each student, the volunteers also help to transport and organize supplies donated to the university.

“We published some information [appealing for donations]. Some villagers in my hometown of Jingmen City saw the information and contacted us. These Chinese cabbages, carrots and corn were all donated by the villagers,” said Xu Feng, deputy dean at the Silk Road Institute.

As the group continues to work hard, Daming has referred to the team as “Iron Men”, which he thinks reflects the braveness of the volunteers.

“Though we come from different countries, our hearts are connected. All the volunteers are resilient and we are not scared of the virus,” said Daming.

Even though his team of iron men is confident in their work, Daming’s parents were initially worried about his safety and asked if he wanted to leave.

“At the very beginning, my parents asked me whether I want to go home, as they felt very worried. I shot some videos for them and then they feel relieved and think it is okay for me to stay here,” said Daming.

All the volunteers have said they regard Wuhan as their second home and they want to help the city to get through the present difficulties through action.

“This is my responsibility and also the world’s responsibility. We all support Wuhan. Fight on,” said Yang Kang, a student from Afghanistan.

China advises foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of a coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said on Friday (April 3).

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.

Mainland China reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 29 of which were imported from overseas, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday.

The total number of infections now stands at 81,620 and 3,322 deaths have been reported from mainland China to date. (Reuters)

(Production: Shubing Wang, Irene Wang)

Coronavirus turns Japan business mood negative for first time in 7 years

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Japanese manufacturers turned pessimistic for the first time in seven years in the three months to March, the central bank’s “tankan” survey showed on Wednesday (April 1), as the coronavirus pandemic pushed the economy closer to recession.

Non-manufacturers’ sentiment also worsened to levels not seen in seven years as travel bans, event cancellations and social distancing policies hurt consumption, clouding an already darkening outlook for the economy. The data underscores the challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces in stopping the pandemic wiping out the benefits his “Abenomics” stimulus policies have brought to the economy.

The headline index measuring big manufacturers’ sentiment worsened to minus 8 in March from zero in December, the survey showed, compared with a median market forecast of minus 10. It was the first time in seven years the big manufacturers’ index turned negative.

The pandemic has hit an economy that had already suffered the fastest contraction in 5-1/2 years in the December quarter due to last year’s sales tax hike and the U.S.-China trade war. (Reuters)

(Production: Kohei Miyazaki, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

Philippines eyes COVID-19 mass testing on April 14

Marje Pelayo   •   April 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The national government is planning to kick start a massive testing for persons suspected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on April 14.

This is according to the chief implementer of the national action plan against the disease, Secretary Carlito Galvez, during a briefing on Thursday (April 2) at Camp Aguinaldo following certification issued by Research Institute on Tropical Medicine (RITM) for several hospitals to run as COVID-19 testing centers.

“We are also determined to fast track the accreditation of subnational laboratories so we can start the massive testing of PUIs and PUMs,” Galvez said.

“We expect that by April 14, we shall be able to start massive testing,” he added.

Galvez said massive testing is expected to help curb the spread of COVID-19 while noting a slow- down in infection in the recent days.

“If you’ll see the data, the increase of the new cases has been 322, which is lower than the highest cases that we have last few days ago of 538,” Galvez said.

“This is a good sign that we are gaining the battle despite the many tests that we have right now,” he added.

In the next 10 days, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) expects the completion of the conversion of several government establishments into COVID-19 quarantine facilities in Metro Manila including the Rizal Complex, the World Trade Center, the Philippine International Convention Center, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

At present, the country has a total of eight Accredited COVID-19 Testing centers:

  • Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
  • Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center
  • San Lazaro Hospital
  • Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center
  • Southern Philippines Medical Center
  • University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health
  • Lung Center of the Philippines
  • Western Visayas Medical Center

The Department of Health (DOH), meanwhile, reported a number of healthcare facilities seeking approval for COVID-19 testing to help identify suspected carriers and immediately address their conditions.

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