Declared coronavirus-free, ‘Albatros’ passengers start Lombok tour

first_imgHundreds of passengers disembarked the MS Albatros on Monday morning to start their holiday on the West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) island of Lombok, following the Mataram Port Health Authority’s (KKP) declaration that the vessel and all aboard were coronavirus-free.Mataram KKP head Wayan Diantika said all passengers and crew on board Albatros had to undergo medical check-ups before the ship was allowed to dock at the resort island.”Before the ship docked, our team boarded the cruise ship to check the passengers’ travel and medical documents. We carried out medical check-ups in accordance to the standard operating procedures. We also scanned all passengers with a thermal scanner,” Wayan said on Tuesday.The cruise liner, carrying 317 crew and 344 passengers from various countries, was finally permitted to dock on Monday at Gili Mas Port in Lembar district, West Lombok regency.Read also: Viking Sun passengers disembark in Bali after COVID-19 health clearanceLalu Bayu Winda, the head of the West Nusa Tenggara Transportation Agency, said all crew and passengers were free of the novel coronavirus.”Based on the KKP’s report, all passengers are healthy,” said Bayu, adding that he had also boarded the vessel on an inspection.He said that the Bahamian-flagged Albatros, operated by German company Phoenix Reisen, implemented a high health standard.”When I went [aboard] with the officers from the Mataram KKP and the Lembar Port Authority [KSOP], we were also required to undergo an onboard check-up. So they also have strict prevention measures,” he said.Bayu added that the ship’s medical staff would check all passengers before they reboarded.”We will carry out similar precautionary measures for all cruise ships that [enter] West Nusa Tenggara to ensure that all of our residents are safe,” he said.Read also: Is cruising still safe? Will I be insured? What you need to know about traveling during the coronavirus crisisThe Albatros passengers are scheduled to visit several tourist attractions in Lombok, including the NTB State Museum, Lingsar tourism village, Kuta Mandalika Beach and a Sasak traditional village.Albatros is traveling from Monaco to Italy, and stopped at several ports in Australia before embarking on the Indonesian leg of its itinerary on March 5 to 12. Its next scheduled port of call is Singapore, according to Cruise Mapper.Earlier, NTB Governor Zulkieflimansyah stated he would welcome all tourists and cruise ships visiting the province.”We will carry out measures to prevent coronavirus infection, but we don’t need to panic or be paranoid about tourists coming to our region,” he had said. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

PREMIUMHotels, banks, airlines join forces to attract tourists amid Covid-19 pandemic

first_imgLog in with your social account Google Forgot Password ? Topics : Facebook Indonesia tourism travel-packages BCA Hotel Airlines Garuda discount bni Linkedin LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Indonesia’s hotels, airlines and banks and other tourism-related sectors have joined together to offer attractive travel packages to promote domestic travel, despite the government’s appeals for people to stay home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.Under the theme “My Destination Indonesia” hotel chain Plataran Indonesia, Bank BNI, Bank BCA, airline Garuda Indonesia, the Yayasan Putri Indonesia foundation and beauty brand Mustika Ratu are offering vacation packages that bundle together airplane tickets, accommodation and exotic tours to certain tourist destinations.  “We have to look at our domestic market. Indonesia’s domestic market is our safety net for our economy,” Plataran Indonesia founder and CEO Yozua Makes said during the launch of the promotion in Jakarta on Thursday.As the initiator of what he described as…last_img read more

‘Strings attached’: Governments offer financial lifelines to airlines, at a price

first_imgShattered airlines were left counting the cost of government support as politicians in the United States and New Zealand set out conditions for bailouts needed to absorb the shock of coronavirus.Conditions include provisions that loans may convert to government equity stakes, with Air New Zealand Ltd’s bailout also dependent on suspending its dividend and paying interest rates of 7% to 9%, while US airlines cannot increase executive pay or provide “golden parachutes” for two years.New Zealand on Friday offered its national carrier a NZ$900 million (US$510 million) lifeline, which Finance Minister Grant Robertson said would help it survive after the government banned all non-resident arrivals to the country. “That puts us in a very good position over the next several months,” Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran told reporters of the loan, which it will not draw down immediately. “We would expect the airline industry will look different at the end of this. Not all airlines are going to survive.”Under the $58 billion US proposal for passenger and cargo carriers, the US Treasury Department could receive warrants, stock options, or stock as a condition of government assistance in order for the government to participate in gains and be compensated for risks.”We are not bailing out the airlines or other industries – period,” US Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said in a statement. “Instead, we are allowing the Treasury Secretary to make or guarantee collateralized loans to industries whose operations the coronavirus outbreak has jeopardized.”Norway will back airlines with credit guarantees worth up to 6 billion Norwegian crowns ($537 million), half of it to Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, but conditions include raising money from commercial lenders and the equity market. Topics :center_img The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has forecast the industry will need up to $200 billion of state support, piling pressure on governments facing demands from all quarters and a rapid worsening in public finances as economies slump.”Money is very tight in most countries so governments need to step back and be hard-nosed about any form of rescue, which could come in various forms – cash, equity, loans, bonds etc – but it all must come with strict conditions or strings, attached,” Shukor Yusof, head of Malaysia-based aviation consultancy Endau Analytics, said in an email.Even with financial assistance, airlines around the world are placing thousands of workers on unpaid leave, deepening the shocks to local economies.Air Canada has more than 5,100 excess cabin crew after cutting its flying schedule and plans to start notifying them they will be laid off at least temporarily, its flight attendants union said in a statement.The airline said it had begun talks with unions about temporary lay-offs but did not have final numbers yet.On Friday, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said it would slash passenger capacity by 96%, and possibly more in April and May, as new government curbs make travel more difficult.Its low-cost carrier, HK Express, will suspend operations from Monday until April 30, bringing forward plans to put employees on unpaid leave.Some airlines are looking to place their staff with temporary employers. Air New Zealand may redeploy some workers to the government, possibly in health roles and contact tracing, New Zealand’s finance minister told reporters.Qantas Airways Ltd is talking to Australian retailer Woolworths Group Ltd about job opportunities as grocery sales surge, while more than 1,000 laid-off SAS airline workers in Sweden are being offered fast-track healthcare training to help fight the coronavirus.The only bright spot for the industry is the cargo market. Passenger planes normally carry about half the world’s air cargo in their bellies, with the remainder hauled in dedicated freighter aircraft.The collapse in passenger flights has tightened the cargo market, leading some carriers to fly planes empty of passengers and baggage but with cargo in their bellies.American Airlines Group Inc said on Thursday it would use some of its grounded Boeing 777 passenger jets to move cargo between the United States and Europe, in its first scheduled cargo-only flights since 1984 when it retired the last of its 747 freighters.Normally 65% of cargo capacity from mainland Europe and the Britain to the United States is belly space on passenger aircraft, according to Seabury Consulting.”Space is available, but at premium rates and without transit time guarantees,” logistics company Agility said on its website.In the Asia-Pacific, Qantas, Cathay, Korean Air Lines Co Ltd are also operating some flights with empty seats but bellies full of cargo. last_img read more

Friend, hospital in Blitar throw doubts on Dutchman’s claim of COVID-19 positive result

first_imgThe Singapore government announced its first confirmed case in the country on Jan. 23.He said he did not want to go to the hospital and stayed home in a sick condition for another three days. Afterward, he went to a hospital in Blitar, the Budi Rahayu Catholic Hospital, for a checkup. He said he was hospitalized there for two days before the hospital recommended that he go to a hospital in Malang as it could not find out what was wrong with him.“I went to Aisyiyah Islamic Hospital […] where I was hospitalized again for four days. And then I went to Saiful Anwar General Hospital and was hospitalized again for three days,” he wrote.The resident of Helmond in the Eindhoven metropolitan region told Eindhovens Dagblad he had no idea what had been wrong with him until he got a message from his doctor on March 19, informing him of the positive result of the medical test he had taken at a hospital in East Java back in January.Read also: Months after returning home, Dutchman learns he had COVID-19 in IndonesiaThe news outlet published a screenshot of a text message from a person named Dhea Daritsh, who claimed to be a staff member of Aisyiyah Islamic Hospital – a screenshot that also circulated on the internet. The message, in Indonesian, said that it related to Joey’s “visit” to the hospital on Jan. 22.The hospital has since issued a statement, saying the information was false. Aisyiyah said they never had a patient named Joey Schouten.“Just because one hospital denies it, it doesn’t mean that it’s not true,” Schouten told the Post.On Feb. 3, Schouten posted a photo on his Instagram account showing himself lying on a hospital bed, geotagged to the Saiful Anwar General Hospital.Schouten did not provide any exact dates for his version of events while he was in Indonesia, except for the screenshot of the message he received from someone he claimed to be his doctor. A friend’s version of eventsThe Post interviewed a man, Rino TH, 25, a resident of Garum subdistrict in Blitar regency, East Java. Rino claimed to be Schouten’s friend during his stay in Blitar. Rino said he first met Schouten in 2018 when the latter visited Blitar. After months of living in the city, Schouten returned to the Netherlands.At the beginning of November last year, Schouten returned to East Java, lived in Tulungagung for about one week before moving to Blitar on Nov. 16 and then renting a house, Rino told the Post.On Dec. 20, Joey and Rino went on a bike trip to Bali from Blitar, and then stayed on the island for about four days, before arriving in Blitar on Dec. 28. On Jan. 6, Schouten went to Singapore to extend his visa and return to Blitar on Jan. 10 after a one-night stay in Surabaya, Rino said.About seven days later [Jan. 17], Rino said Schouten felt his throat hurt and had difficulty swallowing food and drink. On Jan. 22, Rino took him to the Budi Rahayu Catholic Hospital in Blitar.After having a blood test, the hospital said Schouten had hepatitis, a diagnosis that was refuted by Schouten. Following a suggestion from Rino, Schouten asked a “referral note” to be transferred to the Saiful Anwar General Hospital in Malang – about 70 kilometers east of Blitar. Both left the Budi Rahayu Hospital later in the afternoon, just hours after Schouten got examined.The next day, on Jan. 23, Schouten told Rino that he went to the Saiful Anwar Hospital by online taxi Grab. He also told Rino that he might be hospitalized for about two or three days there.The two did not communicate with each other until Jan. 25, when Schouten told Rino that he was leaving the hospital and returning to Blitar. Later that day, Rino met Schouten and Rino said he looked weak.“He also told me about his confusion regarding what kind of illness he was suffering from. He said he did not receive any clear information from the hospital,” Rino told the Post.Days later, Schouten decided to return to the Netherlands to get medical treatment even though his health had not fully recovered despite having no more difficulty in swallowing, according to Rino.  On Feb. 23, Schouten departed for the Netherlands.Schouten and Rino have not communicated with each other since Feb. 25. On March. 21, Schouten reached out to Rino, saying that his name was all over the news. Rino then looked for the news until he found an article in Indonesian media outlet about Schouten’s COVID-19 positive result being sent to him from someone claiming to work at Aisyiyah Islamic Hospital.Rino said he did not know how the hospital’s name was included as one of the hospitals where Schouten was treated during his time in Blitar and Malang.In his reply to the Post, Schouten insisted he went to Aisyiyah hospital before he went to Saiful Anwar. “It is possible that Joey contracted the coronavirus when he visited Singapore for the visa extension, or maybe not,” Rino told the Post last week. Rino said whatever Schouten had, he had not contracted it, because he had been healthy since January.Hospitals’ versionBudi Rahayu Catholic Hospital confirmed a Dutch national named Joey Schouten visited the hospital on Jan. 22 to seek medical treatment for his illness. The hospital spokesperson Anton Y. Subandi told the Post on Saturday that Schouten had difficulties eating and drinking because of a problem in his throat. The hospital told Schouten the diagnosis of his illness after conducting a laboratory test of his blood, Anton said. Schouten submitted health insurance from a European insurance company to the medical service cost that the hospital rejected because it had no “cooperation” with the European insurance company.Schouten’s friend, a local, then suggested that Joey be given a “referral note” to get treatment at Saiful Anwar Hospital in Malang, said Anton. Anton refused to specify the hospital diagnosis but asserted that the hospital did not have adequate medical equipment to conduct a test for COVID-19. Earlier, Saiful Anwar Hospital confirmed they treated a patient named Joey Schouten from Jan. 23 to 25. Schouten confirmed to the Post that the dates Saiful Anwar provided were correct.Aisyiyah hospital, meanwhile, denied that they ever treated a patient named Joey Schouten.Schouten’s version vs others’The information given by Rino and the three hospitals all add up, in which Schouten visited two hospitals: a few hours on Jan. 22 at Budi Rahayu hospital in Blitar, traveled about 70 kilometers to Malang using a ride-hailing service on Jan. 23 and spent three days and two nights at Saiful Anwar from Jan. 23 to 25, or about four days in two hospitals. The information throws doubt on Schouten’s claim that he spent two days in Budi Rahayu and four days in Aisyiyah hospital afterward before being hospitalized in Saiful Anwar for three days. Schouten, however, insisted to the Post he went to Aisyiyah, although he did not provide the exact dates.Topics : Last month, news of a Dutchman who claimed to have contracted COVID-19 in Indonesia in January emerged, stoking speculation that the disease had spread in Indonesia months before the country announced its first positive cases in March.Joey Schouten, 21, a Dutch traveler said he came back to Indonesia in January after spending a couple of days in Singapore. Eindhovens Dagblad – a local newspaper in Eindhoven, the Netherlands — on March 20, recalling his visit.Schouten told the news outlet that some Indonesian bystanders took him to a hospital when he was feeling ill during his visit to East Java, where he spent nine days in three different hospitals, on IV and ultrasound machines.Schouten’s version of eventsSchouten told The Jakarta Post on March 26 that he went to Singapore to extend his visa in January. He visited tourist sites including Chinatown, before returning to Blitar, East Java, where he suddenly felt sick about 10 days later.last_img read more

As China splashes out vouchers to revive retail, many just buy necessities

first_img“Lots of coupons are spent on daily necessities,” said Zhang Qidi, visiting researcher at the Center of International Finance Studies at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. “When consumers use coupons to purchase them, they could actually save the cash they’d spend otherwise.”China’s draconian virus containment measures earlier this year threw the economy into its first decline on record in the first quarter.Retail sales plunged 15.8% in March year-on-year, extending the decline seen in the first two months of the year. Specifically, spending on cooking oil, food and grains rose 19.2% while auto sales dropped 18.1% and catering plunged 46.8%.To help the retail sector, local authorities, companies and e-commerce platforms in China have been handing out shopping vouchers. Shen Minggao, chief economist at GF Securities, said as a short term solution, vouchers may spur consumers to shop, but not necessarily splash out.”If the value of coupons is small, don’t expect it to be a big driver of consumption,” Shen said.Instead of creating new spending, coupons can bring forward consumption that would happen anyway. With coupons, people buy goods like cooking oil, rice and toothpaste that they would otherwise have paid cash for, undermining the stimulative intent.In the past two months, the governments of Chongqing, Jiangsu, Guangdong and other provinces have rolled out coupons for locals to spend in restaurants and shops.Winnie Du, a 28-year-old real estate agency employee, received five supermarket coupons worth 10 yuan ($1.41) each from Hangzhou city this month and used them on shampoo, hand cream and toothpaste.”Many people are using vouchers when they pay,” she added.By comparison, the United States is sending checks for $1,200 to millions of Americans, while economically battered Hong Kong plans to give each resident HK$10,000 ($1,290) in cash.How effective? Citic Securities predicted in a report last month that 34.9 billion yuan worth of coupons would boost consumption by 62.9 billion yuan, or 1.8 times the value of the coupons.However, the Hangzhou Commerce Bureau said the city had offered a subsidy of 257 million yuan in coupons by April 10 and believed it has increased spending in the city by 2.66 billion yuan.Retail giant Suning, which sells electronics, clothing and also runs supermarkets, handed out 600 million yuan worth of vouchers in late March to around one million people and saw purchases of chicken breast, beef, beverages and snacks more than double in a week.Li Daxiao, chief economist at Shenzhen-based Yingda Securities, said that China’s economic priority should now be to encourage spending on food and daily necessities, while spending on bigger ticket items like automobiles could be helped in a later stage.”Coupons are preferable in China compared with giving out cash like in the U.S., because China’s saving ratio is high,” Li said. “People need to consume in order to use the coupons, so it’s more effective in simulating economy.”China’s savings rate has dropped to 45% from 50% 10 years ago, but remains the highest worldwide, former central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said in a November speech.Elsewhere, some Chinese cities have encouraged a two-and-a-half day weekend to boost consumption, as well as asking Communist Party officials to set an example by spending on food and shopping, and encouraging their friends and family to do the same. Topics :center_img China is handing out billions of yuan in shopping coupons to support retailers crushed by the COVID-19 outbreak, but the subsidies are doing little to support the kind of discretionary spending needed to revive the economy.Instead, a big chunk of the vouchers end up spent at supermarkets on daily necessities, with little boost seen in spending on restaurants, tourism, or bigger ticket items.As Beijing scrambles to revive consumption and get its economy back up, analysts doubt vouchers will have much effect in restoring spending.last_img read more

Britain set to launch ‘test and trace’ in England

first_imgThe British government said Wednesday it will launch its coronavirus “test and trace” service across England on Thursday, a key pillar in its strategy to ease a nationwide lockdown introduced in late March.The new service aims to allow anyone with virus symptoms to be tested, and those who have been in close contact with someone showing positive results to be traced and told to isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.The government has hired 25,000 dedicated staff and aims to be able to trace the contacts of 10,000 people a day, which it said could be scaled up if needed. It has also been ramping up the country’s testing capability to 200,000 tests a day, through the establishment of 50 drive-through sites, more than 100 mobile testing units and three mega laboratories.Unveiling the new strategy at the daily Downing Street briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it meant “we can start to replace the national lockdown with individual isolation”.”This will help us restore some of the basic freedoms that matter so much to people and doing some of the things that people are yearning to do… while controlling the virus and keeping people safe,” he added.  Topics : Europe’s highest tollBritain has Europe’s highest death toll from the pandemic, with more than 46,000 fatalities attributed to the virus by mid-May, according to official statistics.The government, whose separate tally of deaths confirmed by a positive test now stands at 37,460, has faced sustained criticism over its handling of the crisis.Some experts believe the government’s decision to abandon a small-scale testing and tracing regime in March has hampered Britain’s response to the virus.”Other countries implemented this early and have kept doing it since the start of the pandemic but the UK abandoned it at an early stage and is now playing catch up,” said Linda Bauld, public health professor at Edinburgh University.Facing a grilling from senior lawmakers on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted the “brutal reality” was Britain did not learn the lessons of recent epidemics.”We didn’t have a test operation ready to go on the scale that we needed,” he said.Under pressure to chart a path out of the lockdown instituted on March 23, Johnson vowed last week to have the 25,000 virus tracing staff recruited by the end of May.He said at the time that the UK system would be “world-beating”.On Wednesday, he cautioned the scheme would need time to improve.”It will be getting steadily better to become a truly world-beating test and trace operation in the course of the next days as we go through June,” he added. App delayed The service was originally planned to operate alongside a smartphone tracing app developed by the National Health Service (NHS), but that is still undergoing testing.The app is now due to be launched “in the coming weeks”, the health ministry said, following a “successful” rollout on the Isle of Wight off the southern English coast in recent weeks.Until then, tracers contacting people will ask them to share information about their recent interactions to identify those they have been in close contact with.New guidance means those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms, to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.While the system will go live in England on Thursday, the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are adopting their own approaches.Belfast has already rolled out a tracing scheme, Edinburgh has announced its version will begin Thursday while local leaders in Cardiff are due to unveil their service early next month.Johnson eased some aspects of the social distancing regime in England earlier this month, but leaders in the other UK nations opted to keep the stringent stay-at-home rules in place.last_img read more

Jokowi demands strong law enforcement against COVID-19 budget corruption

first_img“If there is a potential case, please immediately warn the government officials and do not leave them mired in [corruption]. Build an early warning system, strengthen good governance that is transparent and accountable,” he added.Jokowi went on to say that law enforcement must work in line with corruption prevention in the fight against the coronavirus.The President called for increased synergy between external inspection agencies and law enforcement officers. He also requested that the BPKP and the National Public Procurement Agency (LKPP) strengthen focus on efforts to prevent corruption.Echoing Jokowi’s statement, National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis warned that the ease in disbursing COVID-19 funds should not be misused for corruption, saying he would not hesitate to act against anyone being convicted of such actions.“In a pandemic situation like this, if there is a misuse, the National Police will never hesitate to brush off the crimes,” Idham said in a statement on Monday, as quoted by said the National Police had formed a special task force under its criminal investigation department (Bareskrim) to crack down on corruption practices.Read also: Perppu on COVID-19 aid puts graft fight at stakeThe KPK also said that it would act decisively against corruption involving the COVID-19 budget, including cases of bribery, receiving kickbacks, gratuities and conflicts of interest.KPK chairman Firli Bahuri said perpetrators of corruption in times of national disasters such as the current pandemic could be prosecuted with capital punishment as regulated in the 2001 Corruption Law.Topics : “But if there are those who are still stubborn, if there is an intention for corruption, there is a mens rea, please ladies and gentlemen, bite them hard. The state’s money must be saved, we must maintain the people’s trust,” Jokowi said as livestreamed on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel.The government has increased the budget allocation for the acceleration of COVID-19 handling and the recovery of the national economy to Rp 686.2 trillion (US$48 million) from Rp 677.2 trillion, as reported by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani during the meeting.The President said that such a large amount of funds required good budgetary management with simple procedures to provide on-target and maximum output for the people during this crisis.Read also: Experts, activists call for heightened public scrutiny of COVID-19 policies, funding President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on law enforcement officers to work hard to anticipate and act decisively against his functionaries found to be taking advantage of the current pandemic to enrich themselves.Jokowi made the request before ministers, regional heads, the National Police, as well as officials from the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), the Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP), the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Attorney General’s Office during the opening of a national coordination meeting on Monday.The President stated that the government was not playing when it came to accountability and that efforts to prevent corruption would be prioritized to realize good governance in the use of the state budget for COVID-19 countermeasures.last_img read more

India virus cases hit 1.5 million, but slum study casts doubt on official data

first_img“At least in the slums, we think it is largely because social distancing wouldn’t work simply because of the population density,” Kolthur told AFP.Last week a similar study indicated that almost a quarter of people in the capital, New Delhi, have had the virus — almost 40 times the official total.There are, however, also doubts about the accuracy of such tests, since other coronaviruses — not just the novel COVID-19 — may also produce antibodies that could give a false positive result. The Mumbai survey also covered a relatively small sample of around 7,000 people.India now has the third-highest number of cases in the world behind the United States and Brazil, although the official number of deaths in the South Asian nation is far lower.As a proportion of its population, India also lags behind, with only 1,110 cases per million population compared to 13,148 for the United States, according to an AFP tally. The South Asian giant, home to some of the world’s most crowded cities and where health-care spending per capita is among the world’s lowest, passed one million cases only 12 days earlier.But many experts have said India is not testing enough people, and that many coronavirus-linked deaths are not being recorded as such.A study released Tuesday that tested for coronavirus antibodies reported some 57 percent of people in Mumbai’s teeming slums have had the infection — far more than official data suggests.The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s Ullas S. Kolthur, who was involved in carrying out the survey, said he was surprised by the results. Coronavirus infections in India passed 1.5 million and deaths neared 35,000 on Wednesday, but test results in Mumbai cast further doubt on official data in the world’s second-most populous nation.Even as case numbers soar and more areas impose lockdowns, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this week India was in a “better position that other countries”, and winning international praise.The health ministry website — which no longer includes total infections as the government puts more emphasis on recoveries — on Wednesday reported almost 50,000 new infections and 768 more deaths.center_img Topics :last_img read more

WHO sees hope despite looming 750,000 virus death toll

first_imgVaccine rushThe race to produce a safe and effective vaccine is well under way at unprecedented speed.A total of 165 candidate vaccines are being worked on around the world, according to a WHO overview.Of those, 139 are still in pre-clinical evaluation, while the other 26 are in the various phases of being tested on humans, of which six are the furthest ahead, having reached Phase 3 of clinical evaluation.However, WHO health emergencies program director Michael Ryan said that finding a vaccine would not automatically spell the end for COVID-19.”We have perfectly effective polio and measles vaccines, and we still struggle to eradicate or eliminate those diseases,” the Irish epidemiologist said.”Having an effective vaccine is only part of the answer. You’ve got to be able to deliver that vaccine to a population that want and demand to have that vaccine.”Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, said experts did not yet have an answer as to whether people infected with one of the four globally-circulating common cold coronaviruses had some level of protection against the new coronavirus. “If we suppress the virus effectively, we can safely open up societies.”The novel coronavirus has killed at least 731,500 people and infected nearly 19.9 million worldwide since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Monday. The World Health Organization insisted Monday there was still hope of conquering the coronavirus pandemic despite the  suffering behind the looming landmarks of 750,000 deaths and 20 million cases.With both figures expected to be reached within days, the WHO stressed it was never too late to take action to suppress the COVID-19 crisis that has gripped the planet.”This week we’ll reach 20 million registered cases of COVID-19 and 750,000 deaths,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference. Outsmarting the enemyScientists think COVID-19 originated in bats and could have been transmitted to humans via another mammal.Ryan said that adding billions to the global population, living in densely-packed conditions and exploiting the environment was fostering the conditions needed for diseases to jump species from animals to humans.”We are actively creating the pressures that are driving the breaches of those barriers. We need to do better at managing the risks associated with that,” he said.Ryan said the virus it was “brutal in its simplicity and its cruelty but it doesn’t have a brain”.He said humanity could therefore outsmart it “but we’re not doing such a great job right now”.Van Kerkhove said the goal of the new coronavirus was to “make more virus” and find individuals to pass between without killing too many of its hosts and thereby ending its chances of transmission.The US expert said it could be beaten with the “very unsophisticated” measures available now, such as physical distancing, regular handwashing, wearing facemasks and respiratory etiquette.”Everybody on the planet needs to understand they have a role to play,” she said.Topics : “Behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering. Every life lost matters. I know many of you are grieving and that this is a difficult moment for the world.”But I want to be clear: there are green shoots of hope and… it’s never too late to turn the outbreak around.”Tedros gave examples of countries that had successfully clamped down on the spread of COVID-19, citing New Zealand and Rwanda, and praised nations that had suffered major national outbreaks and were now responding quickly to local spikes.”My message is crystal clear: suppress, suppress, suppress the virus,” he said.last_img read more

Police to question person putting Southeast Sulawesi island up for sale online

first_imgHe said the records included all the names of taxpayers who had lived on the island during the Dutch colonial era. The heirs also submitted other evidence, including historical records of the island during the Buton Sultanate.The Buton Police have conducted an initial investigation into the case.Buton Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Adi Benny Cahyono said the alleged perpetrator, identified only as IS, was currently residing in West Jakarta.“The perpetrator took advantage of the moment. Maybe he saw that the government paid less attention to [the island], so he ventured to advertise it,” he said.Adi said the Buton Police had formed two investigative teams that would also cooperate with the National Police’s cybercrime unit to arrest and investigate the suspect.Local authorities have reportedly planned to turn Pendek Island, with its exotic natural scenery, including the white coastline, coral reefs and abundant fish, into a tourist attraction in Buton regency.Read also: 16,000 Indonesian islands registered at UNThe island is currently only inhabited by one person named La Hasa, who said it was a shock to learn the place he lived in was being offered for sale.La Hasa said that, under a government program, residents of Pendek Island had moved to the mainland in 1971, but he had decided to stay there and grow crops.Buton regent La Bakry said Pendek Island was categorized as an “other designated area” (APL) under the authority of the regional government, as stipulated in a forestry clause by the Southeast Sulawesi administration.He said the government had moved the islanders to the mainland to ease public service delivery, but some residents from the villages of Boneatiro and West Boneatiro still had some plantation work on the island. (syk)Topics : “This is a national issue and should be handled by at least the precinct police. Most of the witnesses to be questioned live outside of Buton regency. I will bring this report to the [Buton] Police chief,” La Ajima said on Thursday, as quoted by Boneatiro village head Ilyas, who is himself one of the heirs of the former islanders, said they had included in their report records of tax payments for 334 former islanders paid in the period of 1937 to 1940.“The evidence of tax payments is the basis for our police report,” he said.Read also: West Sulawesi turtle conservation island allegedly sold for Rp 2 billion Local authorities in Buton regency, Southeast Sulawesi, are investigating how the province’s Pendek Island ended up for sale online, following a report filed by the heirs of former islanders.The sparsely populated island of 242 hectares belonging to Boneatiro village in Kapontori district was offered on an e-commerce site at a price of Rp 36,500 (US$2.47) per square meter. The site has since taken down the offer.Kapontori Police chief First. Insp. La Ajima said police had received a report from the heirs of former islanders and would coordinate with the Buton Police in the further investigation.last_img read more