WHO warns of “accelerating” pandemic, says health workers must be protected

UNTV News   •   March 24, 2020   •   290

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

The pandemic of disease caused by the coronavirus is accelerating, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday (March 23), with more than 300,000 cases now recorded and infections reported from nearly every country worldwide.

While it took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, it took only 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

He called for global political commitment to change the trajectory of the pandemic, urging countries to take both defensive and attacking measures.

“Asking people to stay at home and other social distancing measures are an important way of slowing down the spread of the virus and buying time, but they are defensive measures,” Tedros told an online briefing for more than 300 journalists.

“To win we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics – testing every suspect case, isolating and caring for every confirmed cases and tracing and quarantining every close contact.”

Tedros also said that there were alarming reports of large number of health workers being infected and called for their protection. (Reuters)

(Production: Pete Brownlie, Vanessa Romeo)

New Zealand’s health minister resigns after coronavirus criticism

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2020

New Zealand’s embattled Health Minister David Clark resigned on Thursday (July 2) after security slip-ups at quarantine facilities where the coronavirus was detected just days after officials declared it had been eliminated from the country.

Clark was also under fire for personally breaching strict lockdown rules twice earlier in the year, by taking his family on a beach trip and driving to a mountain biking track.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who had earlier refused calls to sack Clark, citing his critical role in the country’s response to the pandemic, said she agreed with his decision.

Recent opinion polls have Ardern’s Labour Party far ahead of its main rival National Party, putting it on track to win a Sept. 19 general election, but public confidence in her government has been undermined by a series of blunders.

Ardern had declared in early June that New Zealand had eliminated coronavirus, although she warned there would almost certainly be new cases, as she lifted social distancing restrictions.

Just days later it was revealed that two women who arrived from Britain who were allowed to leave quarantine early on compassionate grounds later tested positive for the virus.

Ardern appointed Education Minister Chris Hipkins as interim health minister until the September election, after which she said she would consider a permanent replacement. (Reuters)

(Production: James Redmayne)

Egypt restarts international flights, opens tourist attractions

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2020

Egypt restarted international flights and reopened major tourist attractions across the country on Wednesday (July 1) after over three months of closure due to the coronavirus.

Egypt had ordered shut airports and historical sites in mid-March when the government introduced measures to help curb the spread of the virus, including a ban on large public gatherings.

Last month the government announced it would restart tourism to resorts in the coastal cities of South Sinai and the Red Sea and in Marsa Matrouh which lies on the Mediterranean.

Egyptian minister of antiquities Khaled al-Anany said that two flights had arrived this morning in South Sinai and the Red Sea with tourists from the Ukraine. He also said that historical sites in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, as well as in other cities were reopened.

Al-Anany told reporters the sites would operate mainly for Egyptians and foreigners residing in Egypt until tourism picks up worldwide.

Egypt’s ministry of civil aviation said that 16 flights took off from Cairo International Airport and while two arrival terminals were seen empty on Wednesday morning, a screen showed four scheduled flights expected to arrive from Toulouse, Kuwait, Tunis, and Amman.

Tourism, which accounts for five percent of of Egypt’s total GDP, was shuttered due to the pandemic.

Egypt has so far registered 68,311 cases of the coronavirus and 2,953 deaths. (Reuters)

(Production: Ahmed Fahmy, Sherif Fahmy, Seham Eloraby)

Antipolo City market on lockdown as 18 tenants, vendors contract COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Antipolo City government has ordered the lockdown of the city’s public market after 18 of its tenants and vendors tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The lockdown, which started on Tuesday (June 30), would be in effect for two weeks, according to Antipolo Mayor Andrea Ynares.

The patients are now in isolation for mandatory quarantine while disinfection procedures are currently being undertaken within the market’s premises. 

Meanwhile, the local government unit has started distributing relief goods to other tenants and vendors affected by the closure. 

“Ang amin pong paulit-ulit na panawagan sa atin pong mga kababayan ay sana po sumunod tayo sa mga umiiral na batas ngayon, mga alituntunin,” appealed Relly Bernardo Jr. of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

[We constantly appeal to our constituents to follow health regulations, follow the law.]

“Siguraduhin po na nakakasunod po tayo sa mga protocols gaya ng pagsusuot ng mask, regular hand sanitation, at physical distancing,” he added.

[Always make sure that we are following protocols like wearing of masks, regular hand sanitation, and physical distancing.]

Likewise, the LGU is asking for help from the private markets in the city to conduct COVID-19 tests among their tenants.

The LGU added that private market owners can request from the city hall should they lack funds. —MNP (with details from JP Nunez)

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