WHO chief says widespread travel bans not needed to beat China virus

UNTV News   •   February 4, 2020   •   430

Passengers wearing protective masks as they arrive at the airport on the last China flight before new travel restrictions take effect | Image taken from a Reuters video

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday (February 3) there was no need for measures that “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade” in trying to halt the spread of a coronavirus that has killed over 360 people in China.

“We call on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent,” Tedros told the WHO executive board, reiterating his message from last week when he declared an international emergency.

China is facing increasing international isolation due to restrictions on flights to and from the country, and bans on travelers from China.

There have been 17,238 confirmed infections in China including 361 deaths, as well as 151 confirmed cases in 23 countries and 1 death which was reported from the Philippines on Sunday (February 2), Tedros added.

Referring to the virus’ spread abroad, he said it was “minimal and slow”, while warning that it could worsen.

Tedros, who held talks in Beijing a week ago with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders, coughed and interrupted his speech to take a drink of water, quipping: “Don’t worry, it’s not corona”.

China’s delegate took the floor at the WHO Executive Board and denounced measures by “some countries” that have denied entry to people holding passports issued in Hubei province – at the centre of the outbreak – and to deny visas and cancel flights. (Reuters)

(Production: Marina Depetris, Ardee Napolitano)

China warns of consequences if UK offers residency to HK citizens

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2020

China’s foreign ministry said on Thursday (July 2) that Britain would bear all consequences for any move it took to offer Hong Kong citizens a path to settlement in the UK.

China reserved the right to act against Britain over the issue, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing, without specifying what countermeasures Beijing might take.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday (July 1) that China’s imposition of a security law on Hong Kong was a “clear and serious” violation of the 1984 Joint Declaration and that Britain would offer around 3 million residents of the former colony a path to British citizenship. (Reuters)

(Production: Joseph Campbell, Wang Shubing)

UK says China’s security law is “clear violation” of Hong Kong treaty

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2020

The United Kingdom said on Wednesday (July 1) that China’s imposition of a security law on Hong Kong was a “clear and serious” violation of the 1984 Joint Declaration and called on the People’s Republic to honor its international obligations.

“We have very carefully now assessed the contents of this national security legislation since it was published last night,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Reuters and the BBC.

“It constitutes a clear violation of the autonomy of Hong Kong, and a direct threat to the freedoms of its people, and therefore I’m afraid to say it is a clear and serious violation of the Joint Declaration treaty between the United Kingdom and China.”

Raab said he would set out shortly the action Britain would take with its international partners.

Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule – imposed after Britain defeated China in the First Opium War. (Reuters)

(Production: Will Russell, Hanna Rantala, Polly Rider)

Pilipinas, nangangailangan pa ng higit 70K contact tracers – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Aminado ang Department of Health (DOH) na malaki pa ang pangangailangan ng bansa pagdating sa bilang ng contact tracers sa gitna ng nagpapatuloy na banta ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Sa televised press briefing ngayong Mierkules, Hulyo 1, sinabi ni DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire na mahigit sa 70-libong contact tracers pa ang kailangan sa bansa upang maabot ang lagpas 130,000 benchmark ng contact tracers batay sa panuntunan ng World Health Organization (WHO).

Ani Vergeire, nasa 54-libo lang ang contact tracers sa ngayon kaya masasabing mababa ang contact tracing efforts sa bansa.

“Ang naging sistema kasi nilagyan natin ng standard at dapat sa 800 persons in a community dapat may isa kang contact tracer,” paliwanag ng opisyal.

Una nang sinabi ni WHO Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe na kailangan pang palakasin ng pamahalaan ang contact tracing efforts dahil isa ito sa mga mahahalagang hakbang upang masugpo ang pagkalat ng coronavirus disease.

“What we are advocating is that–the DOH and the government—invest in- as they invest in expanding testing capacity —to invest in actually contact tracing, identifying contacts, and quarantining and isolating them so that we prevent further transmission from those cases. Unfortunately, this aspect of the Philippine response needs a little more strengthening,” ani Abeyasinghe.

Sinabi naman ng DOH na batid nila ang pangangailangang ito ngunit hindi ito ganap na masolusyonan dahil sa kakulangan na rin ng pondo para sa hiring ng dagdag na contact tracers.

“Actually those are valid observations. Meron naman talaga tayong observations na ganyan that some LGUs (local government units), meron talaga tayong kakakulangan for contact tracing,” ani Vergeire.

Aabot sa P11.7 bilyon ang pondong kailangan para makapag-hire ng mas maraming contact tracer.

Una nang tinutulan ng ilang senador ang planong ito ng DOH, at ipinanukalang gamitin na lamang ng ahensiya ang mga health worker sa bawat barangay gayundin ang contact tracing solutions na ginagamit na rin ng ilang lokal na pamahalaan.

Ngunit giit na Vergeire, dapat pumasa sa qualifications na inirekomenda ng Department of the Interior and Local Government ang mga magsisilbing contact tracers.

“Maipaliwanag nila sa pamilya kung ano ba talaga ang COVID, kung bakit tayo nagte-trace ng contacts, ano ba ang consequences kapagka kumalat and so on and so forth,” sabi ng opisyal.

“So, kasali rin sila doon sa monitoring team sa grounds. So, maraming task na in-identify,” dagdag pa niya.

Patuloy na nananawagan ang DOH sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na palakasin at dagdagan pa ang kanilang contact tracing teams upang mapabilis ang isolation ng mga nagkaroon ng direct contact sa mga taong nag-positibo sa COVID-19. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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