Singapore’s DBS evacuates 300 staff after employee contracts coronavirus
UNTV News • February 12, 2020 • 241
Singapore’s biggest bank DBS evacuated 300 staff from its head office on Wednesday (February 12) as a precautionary measure following a confirmed coronavirus case at the lender, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
Singapore has reported a total od 50 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, one of the highest tallies outside China, including mounting evidence of local transmission. The government has been trying to calm nerves after it raised the virus alert level last week, sparking panic buying of essentials such as rice and toilet paper.
“DBS confirms today that one employee has been infected with the novel coronavirus,” the bank said in a statement. It said an employee was tested on Feb. 11 and the bank was informed of the confirmation on Wednesday morning.
As of noon, the bank asked all employees on the affected floor to vacate the premises and work from home, it added. The statement did not say how many staff were impacted.
The bank said it was conducting detailed contact tracing related to the infected employee. (Reuters)
Nine people died and hundreds of buildings collapsed in southeastern Turkey on Sunday (February 23) after a magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck near the border with Iran, injuring dozens in villages and towns in both countries, government officials said.
Three of those killed were children and 37 Turks were injured, including nine critically, Turkey’s health ministry said.
The shallow tremor caused more than 1,000 buildings to collapse in Turkey, prompting a brief rescue effort to find those trapped under rubble.
The quake damaged buildings some 90 km (56 miles) to the west in the Turkish city of Van, and to the east in dozens of villages in Iran, where state TV said 75 people were injured including six in hospital, though there were no fatalities.
Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.—Yesim Dikmen via Reuters Connect
Five new drugs are in clinical trials as researchers and Chinese authorities are launching more systematic vaccine tests for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), officials said Friday.
Some antiviral drugs and traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) have been proven effective in treating COVID-19 patients, Chen Shifei, deputy director of the National Medical Products Administration, told a press conference in Beijing.
“In the current clinical treatment, doctors on the frontline have incorporated a combination of pharmaceutical drugs and TCMs that are safe and effective in their medication plans. That includes some broad-spectrum antiviral drugs and Chinese patent medicines previously approved to hit the market, as well as some widely used hospital formulations. It is learned that more than 80 kinds of TCM formulations have been used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients and these medicines have proven quite effective,” he said.
While paying the utmost attention to medical safety and quality, the National Medical Products Administration has accelerated the approval procedure of new drugs, according to Chen.
“Five new drugs have entered clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment, and so far the trials are progressing smoothly,” he said but did not disclose the names of the drugs.
“We have taken precedence for innovative and generic drugs that have been thoroughly researched and listed as key projects for treating COVID-19, prioritizing their examination and approval process so that doctors can choose to use the drugs for clinical treatment on the precondition of ensuring patients’ safety,” Chen continued.
The official added that the development of vaccines is in the pipeline.
“For vaccines that are safe, effective and controllable in quality, the National Medical Products Administration will race against time to conduct technical reviews and authorize permission to let them join the fight against the viral pneumonia,” said Chen.
China has been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic since December, with the epicenter in Wuhan City in the central province of Hubei.
By the end of Thursday, the new virus had infected more than 75,400 and killed over 2,200 nationwide, while more than 18,200 have been discharged from hospital after being cured.
The Japanese government on Thursday (February 20) defended their efforts to tackle the novel coronavirus’s rapid spread and the quarantine operation that has sparked criticism of authorities just months before Tokyo is due to host the Summer Olympics.
Japan has well over half the known cases outside China due to the ship infections and the rapid spread of the virus and the quarantine operation has sparked criticism of authorities just months before Tokyo is due to host the Summer Olympics.
Infectious disease specialist Kentaro Iwata of Japan’s Kobe University Hospital, who volunteered to help aboard the ship, described the infection control effort on board as “completely inadequate,” and said basic protocols had not been followed.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that after measures were put in place to isolate passengers on Feb. 5, the number of new infections is now almost at zero.
Two elderly coronavirus-infected passengers from a cruise ship moored near Tokyo have died and two more government officials have been infected, the Japanese government said on Thursday, as more passengers disembarked after two weeks’ quarantine.
More than 620 of the passengers on the Diamond Princess liner have been infected on the ship, which has been quarantined since Feb. 3, initially with about 3,700 people on board.
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