Soca Warriors Online Discussion Forum

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Flex on February 01, 2020, 11:15:57 AM

Title: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 01, 2020, 11:15:57 AM
Maharaj on travel ban: Don't leave citizens stranded in China
By JULIEN NEAVES (NEWSDAY)


GOVERNMENT must provide assistance to any citizens who travelled to China and are affected by the new coronavirus two-week travel restriction, said former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.

He was responding to a restriction announced by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh at the post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday as part of measures to interrupt transmission of the respiratory virus which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared an international emergency. On Friday it was reported that the US is placing any citizen who has been in China's Hubei province (where the recent outbreak originated) in up to 14 days mandatory quarantine.

Maharaj told Newsday Government has a duty to help citizens abroad and if they have to be in another country assistance should be provided through the High Commissioner's Office. He also said such assistance should be announced, especially for those in China and those areas around China.

"You cannot leave citizens at the mercy of a foreign country through no fault of theirs stranded with no help. To impose a 14-day wait and provide no assistance I think that is not right. I think Government has a duty to assist citizens in that situation."

Asked whether the restriction itself breached any human rights Maharaj said a country needs to take whatever steps it thinks necessary having regard to its resources to prevent a disease or an infection of any communicable disease from spreading.

"It cannot be doubted that we do not have resources like China, America or England and therefore Government has to deal with it in a way that you may have inconvenience for some of the citizens. If you do not have the required quarantine facilities you could expose the population to dangers of health or even death."

On Deyalsingh's statements that T&T is prepared to deal with the possibility of multiple cases Maharaj compared the response to the crisis in China where they have resources to build a new hospital in a day and a lot of medicine and staff.

"We do not have that kind of resources and facilities at this time."

He said that if the minister wants the population to be happy, he should enumerate and state publicly what are the facilities to address the coronavirus and the quantity of medicine and staff.

"We have no such information."

He said events like these made it imperative for governments of small countries to take appropriate steps to ensure they have resources and availability of required skill to deal with future situations or "the entire population or a substantial part could be affected."

T&T national and teacher Shilohna Phillanders in China has complained about the lack of communication from the T&T embassy in China.

Former senator Gerald Ramdeen also commented on the travel restrictions and said while the restriction of someone's liberty should be a matter of concern the safety and security of the health of citizens trumps any other interest. He added, however, that there should be specifics on the travel restriction and other measures instead of broad brush statements.

"From the reactionary way Government dealt with the crisis it is clear what is happening is unplanned and not properly thought out. And that will only lead to disaster because we are dealing with the health and well-being of the country."

He referenced the comments by Public Services Association president Watson Duke who called for proper gear and equipment to ensure the safety and health of immigration and customers workers and said the response by Deyalsingh and National Security Minister Stuart "left a lot to be desired." He said that neither answered the critical question that the equipment being supplied were ordinary masks and cannot be intended to protect those working on the borders and at the doorstep of a global crisis.

Ramdeen also said the ministers did not report whether the workers had received the requisite training.

"There are no details on what the Government is doing."

On Government not following recommendations of the Pan American Health Organisation and the WHO Ramdeen said that every citizen has to be concerned.

"We had Ebola and Sars before and you would have thought we learned from those experiences to take the necessary precautions. Are we as country ready if one case (of the coronavirus) is detected?"

He said that in Seoul, South Korea, infected people would be put in an institution and stay for 14 days.

"We are doing nothing close to what WHO said we should be doing and that leaves lot to be desired. I hope whatever is being done we take guidance from international organisations and health and safety remains a priority."

Attorney Gregory Delzin said the travel restrictions were in the interest of the society's welfare.

"Human rights is not an absolute right. If it is for the good of the society and the restrictions are necessary it may be an understandable restriction on the freedom of movement."

The total coronavirus deaths in Hubei has reached 249 and more than 9,709 cases have been confirmed in mainland China as well as a handful of cases in the US, England, Russia and Thailand.

Newsday sought clarification from Deyalsingh on the travel restriction on what would happen to a citizen unable to remain in China or another country and whether they would be allowed to enter T&T and quarantined he replied in a WhatsApp message "No sir. I was clear." He was also asked where the individual would be stopped but he did not respond up to news time. An attempt to get clarification from Young was also unsuccessful.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 05, 2020, 02:15:49 PM
Court hearing involving Chinese citizen adjourned over coronavirus concerns
By Derek Achong (Guardian).


A High Court Judge was this morn­ing forced to ad­journ the hear­ing of a cor­rup­tion case in­volv­ing a 47-year-old Chi­nese woman, who was al­lowed to re­turn Trinidad on Sat­ur­day, be­fore this coun­try's 14-day trav­el re­stric­tions over the on­go­ing glob­al coro­n­avirus out­break, took ef­fect.

Yan Fang Hong was sched­uled to ap­pear be­fore High Court Judge Hay­den St Clair-Dou­glas at the Hall of Jus­tice in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day morn­ing for the con­tin­u­a­tion of her case for at­tempt­ing to bribe a po­lice of­fi­cer in 2007.

How­ev­er, when the case was called, St Clair-Dou­glas in­formed the court that be­cause of in­ter­na­tion­al re­ports on the coro­n­avirus he had in­struct­ed the Supreme Court Reg­is­trar to ask Hong's at­tor­neys for her not to at­tend.

St Clair-Dou­glas then ad­journed the case to March 2.

Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that Hong, who has been on bail since be­ing charged over a decade ago, was grant­ed per­mis­sion to re­turn to Chi­na to spend Christ­mas with her chil­dren.

Be­fore Hong left Chi­na, last Thurs­day, her lo­cal at­tor­neys led by Ra­jiv Per­sad con­tact­ed the Im­mi­gra­tion Di­vi­sion to find out whether she would be per­mit­ted to en­ter the coun­try.

At the time, the im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials al­leged­ly claimed that they had not re­ceived any of­fi­cial di­rec­tive on the trav­el re­stric­tions, which were an­nounced by Health Min­is­ter Ter­rance Deyals­ingh at the post-Cab­i­net press brief­ing, last Thurs­day.

Hong ar­rived at the Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port on a Caribbean Air­lines flight from New York, around 9 pm on Sat­ur­day night.

Sources said that she was ini­tial­ly screened and cleared at the John F Kennedy (JFK) In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port in New York be­fore be­ing al­lowed to board a con­nect­ing flight to Trinidad.

When the woman re­port­ed­ly ar­rived in Trinidad, she was screened once again and did not show any symp­toms. She was then al­lowed to leave with one of her at­tor­neys, who came to the air­port to ob­tain doc­u­ments, which would have been nec­es­sary if she (Hong) was de­nied en­try and missed her sched­uled court ap­pear­ance be­fore St Clair-Dou­glas.

Hong is fac­ing a charge un­der the Pre­ven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act for brib­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer on April 5, 2007.

Hong was at a casi­no in Princes Town, which she man­aged, when po­lice raid­ed the busi­ness for hav­ing 40 more gam­bling ma­chines than per­mit­ted in its li­cence.

She al­leged­ly of­fered a se­nior of­fi­cer a $10,000 to for­go pros­e­cut­ing the of­fence but was in­stead ar­rest­ed and charged for cor­rup­tion.

The max­i­mum penal­ty for the of­fence is a $500,000 fine and 10 years in prison.

Ac­cord­ing to a World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) sit­u­a­tion re­port pub­lished on Tues­day, there are 20,630 con­firmed cas­es glob­al­ly.

Of the cas­es, 20,471 were con­firmed in Chi­na with 2,788 se­ri­ous cas­es and 425 deaths.

There have been 159 con­firmed cas­es in 23 oth­er coun­tries with one re­sult­ing in death.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: asylumseeker on February 05, 2020, 02:28:47 PM
2007 events, 2020 case in court.  Impressive.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 05, 2020, 04:29:55 PM
Female passenger refused entry on travel restriction
T&T Guardian Reports.


A fe­male pas­sen­ger who ar­rived at Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port from Guyana on Mon­day night on a jour­ney that orig­i­nat­ed in Hong Kong was sent back to the port of em­barka­tion.

This was con­firmed by Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer Dr Roshan Paras­ram who said the woman “did not have any symp­toms or any­thing that was sus­pi­cious but she was re­turned be­cause of the trav­el re­stric­tions from Chi­na.”

He told Guardian Me­dia: “I be­lieve she would have gone through oth­er ter­ri­to­ries, in­clud­ing Hong Kong, New York and Guyana and then to Trinidad. Based on our trav­el re­stric­tions for per­sons leav­ing Chi­na with­in 14 days of de­par­ture, she was re­turned to the last port of call based on the Cab­i­net note and the im­mi­gra­tion laws.

“I don’t know what flight she came in from but I on­ly know of that woman who came in from Guyana and she would have spent some time at our air­port wait­ing on de­par­ture back to the port of call.”

Com­ment­ing on the in­ci­dent dur­ing an in­ter­view of CNC3’s The Morn­ing Brew, Chief Im­mi­gra­tion Of­fi­cer Char­maine Gand­hi-An­drews said of­fi­cials at this coun­try’s ports of en­try are alert­ed right away—via ad­vance pas­sen­ger in­for­ma­tion from air­lines—when pas­sen­gers orig­i­nate from Chi­na.

How­ev­er, some per­sons have more com­pli­cat­ed trav­el itin­er­aries and im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials are on­ly able to de­duce their ori­gin dur­ing the in­ter­view and by look­ing at all their trav­el doc­u­ments and pass­ports. “We had one such case yes­ter­day and that pas­sen­ger was re­turned to their port of en­try,” she said.

“They were screened by port health; there was no is­sue. How­ev­er, be­cause of the trav­el ban, that per­son was re­turned to their port of em­barka­tion.”

Ghan­di-An­drews said cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents of this coun­try can­not be re­fused en­try. How­ev­er, they will be screened and pos­si­bly even quar­an­tined if they have re­turned from a coun­try of in­ter­est for the virus, and pose a po­ten­tial in­fec­tion risk.

The in­ci­dent caused some con­cern among air­port work­ers, in­clud­ing Im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms of­fi­cers, who are call­ing for more strin­gent screen­ing process­es, in­clud­ing full-body sani­ti­sa­tion spray­ing for all ar­riv­ing pas­sen­gers as they dis­em­bark from the re­spec­tive air­craft.

One air­port work­er, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, said: “We think that there should be more pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures at the air­port... maybe have a sys­tem where all pas­sen­gers are screened and sani­tised by full-body spray­ing be­fore they en­ter the ter­mi­nal. The avail­abil­i­ty of more gloves, face masks and hand sani­tis­ers too.”

Ghan­di-An­drews said 1,000 masks were or­dered last week and it is be­com­ing “more im­per­a­tive that all of­fi­cers utilise it.”

With re­gards to the screen­ing process, she said an as­sis­tant chief and two Grade IV of­fi­cers have been as­signed to the air­port to over­see the coro­n­avirus screen­ing process. Dr Vish­wanath Par­taps­ingh, Prin­ci­pal Med­ical Of­fi­cer at the Health Min­istry, said risk of the nov­el coro­n­avirus nCoV-2019 spread­ing to T&T is rel­a­tive­ly low, com­pared with oth­er places. How­ev­er, while there is no need to pan­ic, the coun­try can­not af­ford to be com­pla­cent. Dr Par­taps­ingh says the screen­ing sys­tems are ex­treme­ly de­tailed to de­ter­mine trav­ellers’ pos­si­ble ex­po­sure to nCov-2019, once they are com­ing from coun­tries of in­ter­est.

“When you look at the ex­it screen­ing of those com­ing out of these ports, it is quite in­tense. There is a tem­per­a­ture scan­ning. There is al­so the ex­po­sure his­to­ry as­cer­tained: ‘Did you trav­el or go to a mar­ket with live an­i­mals? Did you have any live an­i­mals? Did you come in­to con­tact with any­one who dis­played any of the symp­toms?’ That is the base of the screen­ing,” he said.

“When you look at the cas­es in the oth­er coun­tries out­side of main­land Chi­na, the cas­es all had a di­rect ex­po­sure his­to­ry—ei­ther trav­el to or had a di­rect, close con­tact with some­one who was con­firmed with a case.”

Dr Par­taps­ingh said re­duc­ing risk ul­ti­mate­ly comes down to each per­son prac­tis­ing good hy­giene at all times, es­pe­cial­ly when cough­ing and sneez­ing, and most im­por­tant­ly—fre­quent­ly wash­ing one’s hands with soap and wa­ter.

He al­so warned about cross con­t­a­m­i­na­tion for those us­ing masks and gloves to pro­tect them­selves from pos­si­ble in­fec­tion.

“You have a mask on; you think all is well. You have gloves on; you think all is well. But then you’re on the phone. You have the pen. You touch the pass­port. You ad­just the mask. And so, you have the po­ten­tial to cross con­t­a­m­i­nate for any virus or any sort of pathogen that comes in.

“Hand wash­ing is key. Main­tain­ing a dis­tance with some­one who you know is sneez­ing and cough­ing is key.”

Last Thurs­day, Cab­i­net agreed to a trav­el re­stric­tion on any­one trav­el­ling from Chi­na to T&T, in light of the spread of the coro­n­avirus. Health Min­is­ter Ter­rance Deyals­in­gh an­nounced that “per­sons who are present­ly liv­ing in Chi­na or vis­it­ing Chi­na, re­gard­less of na­tion­al­i­ty, will not be al­lowed en­try in­to Trinidad and To­ba­go for 14 days af­ter leav­ing Chi­na.”

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 06, 2020, 06:37:33 AM
Travellers from China arrive after ban announced
By Rishard Khan (Guardian).


Days af­ter the trav­el re­stric­tion was an­nounced by Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh, sev­er­al trav­ellers who re­cent­ly trav­elled to Chi­na were let in­to the coun­try.

The rev­e­la­tion came on the heels of a Chi­nese na­tion­al’s case hav­ing to be ad­journed by High Court judge Hay­den St Clair-Dou­glas at the Hall of Jus­tice in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day morn­ing, due to con­cerns over the coro­n­avirus.

Yan Fang Hong, 47, who was due to ap­pear in court yes­ter­day, left Chi­na on Thurs­day and en­tered the coun­try through a con­nect­ing flight in New York on Feb­ru­ary 1. (See ar­ti­cle be­low)

Asked how Hong could en­ter the coun­try af­ter the ban was an­nounced on Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 30, Deyals­ingh said: “The Pres­i­dent had to sign off on that or­der which she did on the 31st. The Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer (CMO) has to sign off an or­der and that was done on the 31st. Im­mi­gra­tion has to be alert­ed. So al­though Cab­i­net took the de­ci­sion on Thurs­day 30, it would take some time to the pol­i­cy to reach down on the ground to Im­mi­gra­tion.”

Deyals­ingh was un­able to in­di­cate when the or­der reached Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials and said he would need to find out from At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi. Guardian Me­dia at­tempt­ed to reach Chief Im­mi­gra­tion Of­fi­cer Char­maine Gand­hi-An­drews, Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Stu­art Young and AG Faris Al-Rawi to as­cer­tain when the or­der was of­fi­cial­ly im­ple­ment­ed. How­ev­er, no re­sponse was giv­en up to press time.

Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer Dr Roshan Paras­ram al­so re­vealed to Guardian Me­dia that “we would have had a cou­ple peo­ple com­ing through.”

While ac­knowl­edg­ing the de­lay in im­ple­ment­ing the re­stric­tion, he al­so of­fered a dif­fer­ent ex­pla­na­tion to Deyals­ingh’s, ex­plain­ing that a de­ci­sion was made to al­low in­to the coun­try, those trav­ellers who were al­ready en route to T&T when the re­stric­tion was an­nounced.

“It was ac­tu­al­ly on­ly now in ef­fect and what we had agreed is that peo­ple who were com­ing in that kind of grey area who had al­ready left their coun­tries of ori­gin. It’s un­fair for us as a coun­try to do a ban to­day and then peo­ple who are en route to turn them away be­cause they would not have known.”

“What we were do­ing is fol­low­ing them up for the 14 days to make sure they passed the in­cu­ba­tion pe­ri­od. And once they passed that pe­ri­od and have no symp­toms then fine. But if they have symp­toms at any point—we mon­i­tor them every day—and they have num­bers to call in the event that some­thing hap­pens at night and we would take them in­to hos­pi­tal and do the nec­es­sary test­ing.”

He said those trav­ellers are al­so equipped with the nec­es­sary equip­ment such as face masks and have a li­ai­son through the coun­ty med­ical of­fi­cer.

How­ev­er, Min­is­ter Deyals­ingh in­di­cat­ed dif­fer­ent­ly say­ing in cas­es such as Hong’s, “they would be put in iso­la­tion just as we did with the stu­dent who came in.”

When con­tact­ed, Caribbean Air­lines com­mu­ni­ca­tion man­ag­er Dionne Ligoure told Guardian Me­dia: “Caribbean Air­lines is acute­ly aware of the coro­n­avirus and the air­line is proac­tive­ly en­sur­ing that mea­sures are in place to safe­guard its cus­tomers and crews.”

Dr Paras­ram it­er­at­ed that cur­rent­ly there aren’t any con­firmed or sus­pect­ed cas­es of the nov­el coro­n­avirus in the coun­try.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 09, 2020, 04:25:31 PM
China's virus death toll surpasses SARS but new cases fall
Associated Press


BEIJING (AP) — Mainland China's death toll from the new virus outbreak has risen to 811, surpassing the number of fatalities in the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic.

However, the number of new cases reported over the last 24 hours on Sunday fell significantly from the previous period, something experts see as a sign the spread of the virus may be slowing.

Another 89 deaths were reported, while 2,656 new cases were added for a total of 37,198. On Saturday, 3,399 cases were reported for the previous 24 hours.

SARS is widely considered to have killed 774 people and sickened 8,098, mainly in mainland China and Hong Kong. The response this time has been much quicker and countries around the world are enforcing stricter measures to contain the spread.

A 60-year-old American was among the new fatalities in Wuhan, the hardest-hit central Chinese city where the virus was first detected in December among people who had visited a food market where live wild animals were sold. He is apparently the first American death in the outbreak, while a Japanese citizen being treated in Wuhan who was a suspected case also died.

China's ruling Communist Party faces continuing anger from the public over the death of a Wuhan doctor who was threatened by police after trying to sound the alarm about the disease over a month ago.

On Saturday, Japan reported three more cases aboard a quarantined cruise ship for a total of 64 . There are 3,700 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess who must remain on board for 14 days.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said foreign passengers on another ship, Holland America's Westerdam, won't be allowed into Japan because of suspected virus patients on board. The ship, with more than 2,000 people, was near Okinawa and was seeking another port.

Hong Kong began enforcing a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from mainland China on Saturday. The territory has refused to completely seal its border but hopes the quarantine will dissuade travelers from the mainland.

China's leaders are trying to keep food flowing to crowded cities despite anti-disease controls and to quell fears of possible shortages and price spikes following panic buying after most access to Wuhan and nearby cities was cut off.

Public anger continued to simmer over the authorities' treatment of a young doctor who was reprimanded by police for issuing a warning about the virus before being infected and dying this week.

In death, 34-year-old Li Wenliang became the face of anger at the ruling Communist Party's controls over information and complaints that officials lie about or hide disease outbreaks, chemical spills, dangerous consumer products or financial frauds.

The 34-year-old ophthalmologist died overnight at Wuhan Central Hospital, where he worked and likely contracted the virus while treating patients in the early days of the outbreak.

Police in December had reprimanded eight doctors including Li for warning friends on social media about the emerging threat. China's supreme court later criticized the police, but the ruling Communist Party has tightened its grip on information about the outbreak.

Users of China's Weibo microblogging service have left hundreds of thousands of messages mourning Li's death and criticizing the authorities over their treatment of him and other whistleblowers.

Following the criticism, the government announced a team from Beijing would be sent to Wuhan to investigate “issues reported by the masses involving Dr. Li Wenliang.”

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 12, 2020, 09:10:12 AM
T&T donates masks to China
By Rishard Khan (Guardian).


The gov­ern­ment has do­nat­ed thou­sands of masks to Chi­na to help con­trol the coro­n­avirus out­break.

Min­is­ter of For­eign and Cari­com Af­fairs, Den­nis Moses told the me­dia yes­ter­day that the do­na­tion in­clud­ed 13,600 N95 res­pi­ra­tor masks, 1,000 N95 sur­gi­cal masks and 400 oth­er masks.

The masks were val­ued at TT$150,000.

Cur­rent­ly, there are two Trinidad and To­ba­go na­tion­als at the heart of the virus out­break. One is lo­cat­ed in the virus’ epi­cen­tre of Wuhan while the oth­er, who isn’t in the cap­i­tal city re­mains in the Hubei province.

“Our ad­vice is - and it has been de­ter­mined- the safest op­tion and the best op­tion is to re­main in place and fol­low the guide­lines of the lo­cal Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties.”

He added: “There are suf­fi­cient rea­sons so as to not en­ter­tain leav­ing Chi­na at this point in time,” Moses said as he al­lud­ed to the dif­fi­cul­ty in leav­ing the coun­try due to in­ter­na­tion­al trav­el re­stric­tions for any­one leav­ing the Chi­nese main­land.

How­ev­er, he not­ed that this ad­vice was sub­ject to change as the sit­u­a­tion con­tin­ues to de­vel­op. This is why he said the min­istry is con­tin­u­ous­ly mon­i­tor­ing the un­fold­ing sit­u­a­tion in Chi­na and any changes would be com­mu­ni­cat­ed to the ap­prox­i­mate 120 T&T cit­i­zens liv­ing in Chi­na.

But in the same breath, he not­ed that no cit­i­zen would be barred from en­ter­ing the coun­try.

“Should na­tion­als choose the op­tion of leav­ing and mak­ing there way back to Trinidad, of course, they would be wel­comed. They would not be de­barred but part and par­cel of that arrange­ment would be the need to sub­ject one’s self to quar­an­tine and the trav­el re­stric­tions that are in place,” he said.

Min­is­ter Moses said the T&T Em­bassy in Bei­jing was keep­ing track of those T&T na­tion­als in Chi­na who checked in with them.

“Mem­bers of staff from the em­bassy, on a day-to-day ba­sis, are in con­tact with per­sons who are on the Wechat (Chi­nese mes­sag­ing app) plat­form and they of­fer up­dates and of­fer ad­vi­sories, per­sons in dis­tress are ac­com­mo­dat­ed,” he said.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 24, 2020, 08:07:14 AM
Coronavirus cases surge globally as Italy confirms fifth death; China delays National People’s Congress.
By Adam Taylor and Rick Noack


China’s leaders on Monday postponed the biggest event on their political calendar, the National People’s Congress, as the country’s battle against the deadly coronavirus outbreak disrupts the ruling Communist Party’s agenda and hammers the domestic economy.

In a speech to party officials a day earlier, President Xi Jinping warned that the outbreak was a “crisis” that would inevitably jolt the country’s economic development, but he pledged that the disruption would be temporary and manageable.

Beijing also abruptly backtracked on an earlier announcement that it would relax travel restrictions on the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan, amplifying concerns about the government response to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the epidemic is surging around the world. Just four days ago, Italy had only confirmed three cases. As of Monday, it has the largest known outbreak outside Asia, pushing the world closer to a pandemic.

Here are the latest developments:

● Official figures released Monday showed there had been 409 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 150 new deaths from the outbreak in China by the end of Sunday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 77,150, with a cumulative death toll of 2,592. The majority of the new cases — 398 — were in Hubei province, as were all but one death.

● Six Chinese provinces lowered their emergency ratings, with businesses reopening and workers leaving quarantine.

● Xi spoke Sunday and gave some of his starkest public warnings about the virus, telling party members that the outbreak was both a crisis and a test for Beijing.

● The outbreak widened in other countries; South Korea announced Monday that it now has 833 confirmed cases, seven of which have resulted in deaths. Afghanistan reported its first case. Kuwait, Iraq and Bahrain reported new cases, as well.

● The coronavirus has arrived with force in Italy, with case numbers spiking almost hourly and the virus jumping from one region to the next across the country’s north.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 26, 2020, 01:40:53 PM
FA charges Tottenham midfielder Alli over social media post mocking coronavirus
By PA Sport Staff
PA Media:


Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli has been charged by the Football Association over his social media post mocking the coronavirus.

Alli posted a video on Snapchat poking fun at the deadly virus while also singling out an Asian man in an airport earlier this month.

He hastily deleted the video and then posted a separate apology on Chinese platform Weibo.

The FA wrote to him seeking his observations and has now decided to charge him with misconduct.

If he is found guilty, the 23-year-old could face a hefty fine and a suspension, which would be another blow to Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho.

A statement from the governing body read: “Dele Alli has been charged with misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post.

“It is alleged that the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder’s post breaches FA Rule E3(1) as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.

“It is further alleged that the post constitutes an “Aggravated Breach”, which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included a reference, whether express or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin and/or nationality.

“He has until Thursday 5 March 2020 to provide a response.”

Any ruling would be subject to an appeal which means the situation could still drag on into the middle of March.

Alli would have been hoping a swift apology might have been enough to avoid a charge, but he is now facing sanction, with the FA setting precedent earlier this season when banning Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva for a similar offence.

He posted on Weibo: “It wasn’t funny and I realised that immediately and took it down. I let myself down and the club.

“I don’t want you to have that impression of me because it wasn’t funny and I realised that straight away and took it down.

“It isn’t something that should be joked about. I’m sending all my love and all my thoughts and prayers to everyone in China.”

His boss Mourinho will be dreading a ban as it would leave him with even less options in attack following possible season-ending injuries to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

Mourinho has previously said: “I feel that (a ban) would be unnecessary, but I am nobody. In relation to these decisions, I am nobody.

“I am somebody in relation to Dele’s process of, let’s say, professional education and I felt it so, so easy because of the way he reacted.

“So I think it is unnecessary because the player understands the naivety of the situation, the player is a good guy, the player even in the dressing room has a big Asian friend that he loves.

“So there was no intention at all. He immediately regrets, immediately makes a public apology. I feel it is unnecessary but I am nobody.”

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 28, 2020, 03:22:04 PM
Jamaica intensifies measures against COVID-19
T&T Guardian Reports.


Ja­maica has an­nounced new mea­sures as the coun­try pre­pares for the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an out­break of COVID-19.

The coun­try has ac­ti­vat­ed quar­an­tine, screen­ing and oth­er an­ti-virus coun­ter­mea­sures since the out­break wors­ened in Jan­u­ary, in­clu­sive of four ad­di­tion quar­an­tine fa­cil­i­ties, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of any de­vel­op­ments.

Ja­maican au­thor­i­ties re­port that as at Feb 26, 141 per­sons ar­rived in Ja­maica who had been in Chi­na 14 days pri­or: five per­sons have been quar­an­tined in Gov­ern­ment fa­cil­i­ties; five are in home quar­an­tine; and two per­sons are in iso­la­tion, for whom test re­sults are still out­stand­ing.

Ja­maica’s Min­is­ter of Health and Well­ness, Dr Christo­pher Tufton, has ad­vised that ad­di­tion­al coun­tries have been in­cor­po­rat­ed in­to the coun­try’s ex­ist­ing trav­el re­stric­tions, be­cause of the fact that the ma­jor­i­ty of cas­es in those coun­tries have been due to in-coun­try trans­mis­sion.

The de­ci­sion was made, based on the lat­est risk as­sess­ment car­ried out by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO)—Sit­u­a­tion Sit­u­a­tion Re­port 37 on the COVID-19—dat­ed Feb­ru­ary 26, 2020.

The re­strict­ed coun­tries are as fol­lows:

• Italy (322 cas­es, 11 deaths);

• South Ko­rea/Re­pub­lic of Ko­rea (1,261 cas­es, 12 deaths);

• Sin­ga­pore (91 cas­es, no deaths); and

• Iran (95 cas­es; 15 deaths).

The Ja­maican au­thor­i­ties add that they are re­view­ing the sit­u­a­tion in Japan, where there are 164 cas­es and one death, and an ad­vi­so­ry on Japan will fol­low short­ly.

In ad­di­tion, the Ja­maican au­thor­i­ties al­so gave an up­date on the cruise line—with more than 4,500 pas­sen­gers and more than 1,600 crew mem­bers—which was de­nied ac­cess to the port of call in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on Tues­day 25 Feb­ru­ary 2020.

They note that the ves­sel ar­rived at ap­prox­i­mate­ly 8:30 a.m. and, up­on in­spec­tion by Port Health Of­fi­cials, it was dis­cov­ered that a crew mem­ber had been put in iso­la­tion on board. The crew mem­ber had a cough, fever and as­so­ci­at­ed mus­cle pains, to­geth­er with a trav­el his­to­ry to a coun­try of in­ter­est re­lat­ing to COVID-19.

The de­ci­sion to de­ny en­try was in ac­cor­dance with the coun­try’s Quar­an­tine Act of 1951.

Ja­maica’s Na­tion­al Co­or­di­nat­ing Com­mit­tee, which was set up to han­dle the COVID-19 is­sue, will host its first meet­ing ear­ly in March and will ex­am­ine all of the pre­pared­ness func­tions of the en­tire Gov­ern­ment ap­pa­ra­tus.

The com­mit­tee is co-chaired by the Prime Min­is­ter and the Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, and is com­prised of a wide cross sec­tion of stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing mem­bers of in­dus­try, the pub­lic sec­tor and civ­il so­ci­ety.

LAT­EST AD­DI­TIONS TO JA­MAICA’S TRAV­EL RE­STRIC­TIONS

a) All Ja­maicans who have vis­it­ed Italy, South Ko­rea, Iran, and Sin­ga­pore in the last 14 days will have land­ing priv­i­leges in ac­cor­dance with the law but will be sub­ject to a health as­sess­ment and quar­an­tine;

b) Per­sons who have vis­it­ed Italy, South Ko­rea, Iran and Sin­ga­pore in the last 14 days and who do not have per­ma­nent res­i­den­cy or mar­riage ex­emp­tion in Ja­maica will not be grant­ed land­ing priv­i­leges at any of the coun­try’s ports of en­try;

c) Non-Ja­maicans who have per­ma­nent res­i­dence and mar­riage ex­emp­tions who are land­ed and who had vis­it­ed Italy, South Ko­rea, Iran, and Sin­ga­pore in the last 14 days will be sub­ject to a health as­sess­ment and quar­an­tine;

d) Per­sons who have vis­it­ed Italy, South Ko­rea, Iran and Sin­ga­pore and have been grant­ed land­ing priv­i­leges and clas­si­fied by the Min­istry of Health and Well­ness as high risk will be quar­an­tined in Gov­ern­ment fa­cil­i­ties; and those who are as­sessed by the Min­istry of Health and Well­ness as low-risk will be quar­an­tined at home un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the Parish Health De­part­ment; and

e) In­di­vid­u­als re­turn­ing from Italy, South Ko­rea, Iran and Sin­ga­pore who have been grant­ed land­ing priv­i­leges and who dis­play any symp­tom of COVID-19, as per the case de­f­i­n­i­tion pub­lished by the Pan Amer­i­can Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion/World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, will be placed in im­me­di­ate iso­la­tion at a health fa­cil­i­ty.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 03, 2020, 08:24:27 AM
'You are the biggest clown I have ever seen' - Inter president Zhang blasts Serie A chief over coronavirus chaos
Goal.com.


Inter president Steven Zhang has launched an impassioned criticism of Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino over his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

A number of Serie A fixtures, including Inter’s title shoot-out with Juventus, had initially been scheduled to be played behind closed doors before being postponed until later in the season.

Now, Inter's game with Juve is set to be played on the evening of Monday, March 9, with an extra round of midweek matches over May 12-14 - a decision Inter aren't happy with.

Zhang wrote on his Instagram story: “Playing around the calendar and always putting the public health as secondary consideration.

“You are probably the biggest and darkest clown I have ever seen. 24 hours? 48 hours? 7 days? And what else? What’s your next step?

“And now you speak about sportsmanship and fair competition?

“How about we don’t protect our players or coaches and ask them to play for you 24/7 non-stop?

“Yes, I’m speaking to you. Our Lega President Paolo Dal Pino. Shame on you. It’s time to stand up and take your responsibility! This is what we do in 2020!

“Everybody around the world, doesn’t matter if you are Inter fan or Juve fan or no fan at all. Please be safe!

“This is the most important thing for you, your family, and our society.”

On Sunday, a government decree extended the suspension of all sporting events in regions affected by coronavirus until March 8.

Serie A announced an emergency assembly to “examine the consequences the governmental measures related to coronavirus have had on the fixture list”.

Inter chief executive Beppe Marotta has been critical of the league’s handling of the disruption, suggesting the league season might not be completed as “the balance of the championship has been altered” with some teams seeing games postponed and others seeing theirs going ahead.

Aside from concerns directly related to the virus outbreak, there are worries over the physical and psychological effects on players if fixtures stack up before the end of the season.

All elite football competitions in the 2019-20 season must be completed by May 24 due to Euro 2020 coming at the end of the campaign.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 07, 2020, 11:25:35 AM
Hotel collapse traps 70 in eastern China
AFP


Around 70 people were trapped after the collapse of a hotel used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in eastern China on Saturday evening, officials said.

At least 38 people have so far been rescued from the rubble of the 80-room Xinjia hotel in coastal Quanzhou city, said the local government.

Footage circulating on microblogging platform Weibo showed rescue workers combing through the building's wreckage in the dark and reassuring a woman trapped under heavy debris as other wounded victims were carried into ambulances.

The hotel's facade appeared to have crumbled into the ground, exposing the building's steel frame, and a crowd had gathered around the area as the evening wore on.

Officials have yet to confirm whether anyone died in the accident.

Quanzhou authorities said over 700 rescue workers had been deployed to the scene along with ambulances, excavators and cranes.

Representatives from Beijing are also en route to Quanzhou to assist in relief efforts, Xinhua news agency reported.

Quanzhou has recorded 47 cases of the COVID-19 infection and the hotel, which opened just two years ago, was recently repurposed to house people who had been in recent contact with confirmed patients, the People's Daily state newspaper reported.

China is no stranger to building collapses and deadly construction accidents, which are typically blamed on the country's rapid growth leading to corner-cutting by builders and the widespread flouting of safety rules.

At least 20 people died in 2016 when a series of crudely-constructed multi-storey buildings packed with migrant workers collapsed in the eastern city of Wenzhou.

Another 10 were killed last year in Shanghai after the collapse of a commercial building during renovations.

(https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/9wQjAO0F2kjlbRRYIYUqng--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQ3MA--/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/SfVYzpdbYQZj4.mQb4XgjA--~B/aD01MTI7dz03Njg7c209MTthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg--/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/afp.com/00b2e1d4ef34f5558df8a0949b321142e293f1fb.jpg)
Dozens have so far been rescued from the rubble of the 80-room Xinjia hotel in Quanzhou city (AFP Photo/STR)

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 08, 2020, 12:52:32 PM
Costa Magica ban blow for Tobago.
BY COREY CONNELLY (NEWSDAY).


The Tobago business community has welcomed Government's decision to ban the Italian cruise ship, Costa Magica, from entering local shores over fear that some of its passengers may have been exposed to the coronavirus (covid19).

However, they said their businesses would suffer losses.

Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association vice-president Carol-Ann Birchwood James told Sunday Newsday the businesses, including hers, benefit tremendously from the patronage of tourists on board the cruise ship.

She said the Costa Magica, which has a capacity to accommodate about 4,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members, is the largest of all the cruise ships that dock in Tobago during the season.

Birchwood-James said its passengers mostly come from France, Italy, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

"So, that is the biggest cruise ship and the black French people especially, they buy a lot of stuff because I have a booth opposite the port. I sell dresses and we get good sales from them. So, it is a blow for us," she said.

The Costa Magica, which brought tourists to Tobago several weeks ago, was expected to dock at the Scarborough Port, today, but Government banned the vessel from sailing to the island because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, which has already affected an estimated 100,000 people around the world.

Government was especially fearful of non-nationals from China, Italy, Iran, Singapore and South Korea, contracting the virus and bringing it to TT. These countries already have reported confirmed cases of covid19. People would have been allowed into TT only if they were away from their countries for a period of 14 days. The policy does not apply to national or permanent residents. There are no confirmed cases of covid19 in TT currently.

Birchwood-James said though, a ban has not been imposed on the Viking Princess, which is expected to dock at the port today. The cruise ship, which originates from Brazil, has a capacity to hold 900 passengers. She is hoping businessmen will receive some patronage from the tourists on the vessel. "We are going out there in faith."

Birchwood-James said although the ban on the Costa Magica would be an economic blow to Tobago, the move is necessary to protect the health of Tobagonians.

She said: "This is one of the hazards of doing business. You have these things from time to time and people are dying from this virus and, therefore, we have to take precautions in a small society. "The Government has put their ban in the interest of all of us and we just have to comply. There is nothing that we can do. Although we are very disappointed, in the circumstances the government has done the right thing in the interest of all of us."

To compound matters, Birchwood-James said the cruise ship season on the island is very short. "The first ship came at the end of December. So, two and a half months of cruise ship business, that cannot work. We have our taxi drivers. We need foreign exchange. So, we have to see how we can lure the ships to come throughout the year have a bigger season."

She urged the authorities to consider extending the cruise ship season. "What we are hoping is that the authorities in future will negotiate. Being further south has been a problem for us. But we can negotiate to have cruise ships all throughout the year like the other Caribbean islands."

(https://newsday.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/7773077-1024x599.jpg)

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 11, 2020, 09:55:03 AM
Canada says covid19 case passed through Trinidad and Tobago
KALIFA SARAH CLYNE (NEWSDAY).


A Canadian who returned from Trinidad and Tobago recently has tested positive for coronavirus.

At a press conference on Monday, Alberta's chief medical officer Dr Deena Hinshaw said the number of confirmed cases of covid19 in the province had doubled to 14. She said all of the cases were travel-related.

She named TT as one of 11 destinations that patients had visited.

The others were France, the Netherlands, Egypt, Iran, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, Panama, the Philippines, and the US.

Hinshaw said many of the travellers had visited more than one country during their trip and so could not say where each patient may have contracted the virus.

She added that one of the people who tested positive had travelled in the Caribbean on the cruise ship the MS Braemar.

That cruise ship docked in Port Royal, Jamaica.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 11, 2020, 09:56:30 AM
Trinis on covid19 responses around the world: Paranoia but no panic
RACHAEL ESPINET (NEWSDAY).


Out of a global population of 7.7 billion people, totally there were 118,548 people affected with coronavirus (covid19) with 4,267 deaths and 65,105 recovered.

Currently, there are 49,176 infected patients with 43,131 in mild condition and 6,045 in critical condition. This information comes from Worldometer, an independent website that provides live updates on covid19. China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain, Germany and the US were the top eight countries to have the virus.

Italian shutdown

As of March 10, Italy put its 60.48 million population on full lockdown because of the virus. All but essential travel has been banned across the country. All public gatherings were closed including cultural institutions and sporting events. Schools, childcare facilities and universities were closed. Restaurants and bars were open but with restricted to opening hours between 6 am to 6 pm. The Italian people were told they must keep a safe distance from each other – at least a metre apart.

Italy had a total of 10,149 cases with 631 deaths. Newsday reached out to TT citizens in Italy on Tuesday to find out what the atmosphere of the country was like since covid19 started to affect the country.

Tish Smith, a communications specialist in Tuscany, formally from St James, said Tuscany has 206 cases of the virus with one death. Her borough has six cases.

She said there is no panic buying in the grocery as people are only supposed to stay within a metre of each other. There are police officers in the grocery to ensure there are not many people in the store and people keep their distance.

"Where we are, there were only two people waiting to get into the supermarket. It's very respectable. Nobody is acting crazy."

Smith, however, said Italians are social people and find it difficult not to keep in touch with their community.

"Italy being Italy, socialising is what we do here. Neighbours are hanging over the fences. Occasionally the neighbours are hanging over the balcony shouting across to each other having a chit chat with the other neighbour because it's a very close-knit community... (But the) minute everyone goes downstairs, they are keeping their distance."

Italy has one of the largest elderly population in Europe. Statistics from the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population showed in 2017, 29.4 per cent of the population of Italy was over 60-years-old. The average age of those who died was 81, they were mostly men and more than two thirds of cases had three or more pre-existing conditions.

Smith suspects that's probably why Italy has so many deaths.

"It's all the olive oil, they really live to a ripe old age here."

She said people were staying indoors and everywhere was quiet.

"All the play gourds are literally completely empty. As much as we want to stay in, you have to go out and take a walk around the block. The playground is dead."

She said everyone in Italy had hand sanitiser in their bags and wet wipes. They are leaving the shoes at the front door and in her household they must sing happy birthday twice.

"We are taking the hand-washing situation seriously. We don't want to go in the hospital."

She said work is difficult. Those who can, are doing smart work– working from home using digital media – but not all can do such work. She said the government is doing their best to brace from an economic fallout.

"It seems as if lots of things are in the pipeline to prevent a deep cut in earnings."

UK (mostly) keeps calm and carries on

The UK has 373 recorded cases of covid19 out of its 66.44 million population. Depending on which part of the UK people are in, there seems to be those who are calm and those who are bothered by covid19.

Saskia Johnson a 21-year-old student from Leicester said while she's having difficulty buying pasta and toilet paper from the store, most people seem calm.

"I can only speak for people my age, but for the most part, we're being pretty calm. Most people my age don't see it as much of a risk. But they are panic buying. I went to a huge supermarket there was no pasta or toilet paper. There were tonnes of people buying canned foods and things we could keep for a while, but it's mostly paranoia."

She said there were two confirmed cases in Leicestershire. Her university has not cancelled any classes, but there were a group of students who went into self-isolation because they returned from a trip to Italy.

Kaf Perez, a member of the UK Armed Forces, who lives in Newcastle but works in Portsmouth and London said stores by him have resorted to rationing dry and canned goods along with toiletry products. Aside for that, most of the population is still going about business as usual.

"Classic British stuff, upper-lipness," Perez said.

Amaal Ali who lives in Newcastle City said while there was some panic buying, the shops were stocked with goods such as milk and toilet paper.

"There was some panic buying, but that seems to have settled and it was mostly hand sanitizers and hand soap that they’ve put preventative rationing on those items."

Travelling Europe in spite of covid19

Queen's Young Leader Jean-Claude Cournand has been travelling Europe since he graduated from his masters degree late last year. He has been to the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and is currently in Latvia.

He said people are for the most part nice, but sceptical of travellers.

"I am cool so far, but as I travel it's becoming more and more of a big deal. I was being polite and asked a guy in the hostel I visited, 'Where you from?' The first thing he said was: 'Don't worry, I don't have coronavirus.' He was an Asian guy from South Korea working in Sweden."

Another person offered to host Cournand and a day before he arrived, he was asked to share his travel history and asked if he had any symptoms of the virus.

Paranoia and sinophobia seemed to follow him with the different people he encountered. In Helsinki he was talking with a guy from India who was on a tour. During the conversation a bus pulled up and Asian people came out to take pictures where they stood. His friend demanded they leave.

"So far, most of the people I've met have been foreigners who were anxious about other foreigners. I have been very very careful never to sneeze or cough in public. I feel fearful about doing that. Like it would trigger the people around me."

Covid19 in the Caribbean

Jamaica recorded it's first case of covid19 on Tuesday. LGBT+ activist Jalna Broderick said she is unperturbed and does not understand why people are panicking.

"I know it can kill, and yes, I am asthmatic and would be hit hard if I got it, but I’m still not panicking. I was speaking to a person who works at Pricesmart – one of our large wholesalers – and she said a man came in and bought 50 palettes of hand sanitizers, each palette had about 300 units each. She also said, it was like there was a hurricane on the way how persons were buying this weekend."

(https://newsday.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/7827304-768x1024.jpg)
Bare shelves. Pasta was sold out at a supermarket in Leicester, England, on Tuesday, amid fears over the covid19 virus. Photo: Saskia Johnson - Saskia Johnson

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 12, 2020, 05:57:37 AM
3 more European nations on T&T’s COVID-restricted list.
By PE­TER CHRISTO­PHER (T&T GUARDIAN).


Trav­ellers from Ger­many, Spain and France are to be re­strict­ed from en­ter­ing Trinidad and To­ba­go due to the out­break of COVID-19 (coro­n­avirus).

Trav­ellers whose flights orig­i­nat­ed from Italy, South Ko­rea, Sin­ga­pore, Japan, Iran and Chi­na had al­ready been sub­ject to a 14-day wait af­ter leav­ing those coun­tries be­fore they are al­lowed to en­ter Trinidad and To­ba­go be­fore Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley added the three lat­est na­tions yes­ter­day.

“The Min­is­ter of Health will take the nec­es­sary steps to add those three coun­tries to the list of lo­ca­tions from which trav­ellers com­ing to us will fall in­to the pro­to­col,” Row­ley said at a press con­fer­ence at Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port’s VIP Lounge af­ter re­turn­ing from an of­fi­cial trip to Ghana.

He said his Gov­ern­ment was al­so mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion in New York and the Unit­ed King­dom but stopped short of say­ing they would be added to the list. He re­mind­ed that he had warned of the po­ten­tial eco­nom­ic fall­out that could oc­cur as a re­sult of the virus in economies across the world.

Row­ley al­so said while talks with BP con­cern­ing fu­ture plans dur­ing his trip went well, the oil com­pa­ny was among those se­vere­ly af­fect­ed by the dip on the US stock mar­ket this week.

The Prime Min­is­ter said while the eco­nom­ic tur­bu­lence as the re­sult of COVID-19 was ex­pect­ed, the re­cent oil war which caused oil prices to plum­met to US$34 “came out of nowhere.”

“Nor­mal­ly, what we have is on OPEC agree­ment sup­port­ed by Rus­sia to do a vol­ume re­duc­tion be­cause the mar­ket is over­sup­plied, so the main pro­duc­ers would agree to re­duce pro­duc­tion. On this oc­ca­sion, there was no agree­ment to re­duce the vol­ume so as to sta­bilise the price. And the op­po­site hap­pened, where the Saud­is have de­cid­ed to in­crease pro­duc­tion and to give a $4 dis­count,” the Prime Min­is­ter said.

“So it’s an in­crease, which means you fur­ther sat­u­rate the mar­ket and you sell by dis­count­ing the price to the buy­ers, so the oil mar­ket right now is in tur­moil.”

Row­ley al­so an­nounced that an MOU has been signed be­tween this coun­try and Ghana con­cern­ing a mu­tu­al air ser­vices agree­ment be­tween the coun­tries. He said the lack of di­rect trans­port was cit­ed as one of the hin­drances to an im­proved busi­ness re­la­tion­ship.

“That route­way, where we can link this part of the world with that part of the world would al­low us to more eas­i­ly and ef­fec­tive­ly car­ry out the kinds of things that would ben­e­fit us,” he said.

The Prime Min­is­ter al­so said he had “to call out” Op­po­si­tion leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar for mak­ing a state­ment that could cre­ate a rift be­tween Trinidad and To­ba­go and Ja­maica.

Dur­ing the Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress Mon­day Night Fo­rum, Per­sad-Bisses­sar ques­tioned if the Gov­ern­ment’s re­la­tion­ship with the Na­tion­al Com­mer­i­cal Bank (NCB) was due to the fact that its CEO was re­lat­ed to a Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter.

“And for some rea­son, this ir­re­spon­si­ble Op­po­si­tion Leader be­lieves that they could fab­ri­cate sto­ries and at­tack the bank and that would be an at­tack on the Cab­i­net and on Stu­art Young, not re­al­is­ing that what she is do­ing is rekin­dling a kind of hurt that ex­ist­ed when she was Prime Min­is­ter,” said Row­ley, mak­ing ref­er­ence to a call for a boy­cott of Trinidad and To­ba­go prod­ucts by Ja­maicans in re­la­tion to com­ments made by Per­sad-Bisses­sar in 2014.

How­ev­er, Row­ley said that Min­is­ter Young, ex­pect­ing there to be some kind of fall-out, re­cused him­self from all meet­ings which in­volved pos­si­ble busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ty with NCB.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 12, 2020, 12:37:01 PM
Govt bans cruise ship entry to T&T for rest of season.
By Sharlene Rampersad (Guardian).


Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh says no cruise ships will be al­lowed to berth in ei­ther Trinidad or To­ba­go for the rest of the cruise ship sea­son.

Speak­ing at a post-Cab­i­net me­dia brief­ing on Thurs­day, Deyals­ingh said the de­ci­sion was tak­en as the Gov­ern­ment steps up its ef­forts to stop or de­lay the coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) from reach­ing T&T's shores.

He said ac­cord­ing to the cruise ship sched­ule, there were five cruise ships sched­uled to berth in Trinidad and sev­en in To­ba­go be­fore the end of the sea­son. The cruise ship sea­son runs from De­cem­ber 12, 2019 to April 24, 2020.

Deyals­ingh said the de­ci­sion was tak­en by Cab­i­net note on Thurs­day morn­ing.

“We don’t feel that we need to take on that type of risk, we want to pre­serve our healthcare sys­tem, our sup­plies and our test kits,” Deyals­ingh said.

He said the ban will af­fect trade and tourism but said the move is for the greater good to pro­tect the health of T&T’s 1.3 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion.

How­ev­er, he said the Gov­ern­ment be­lieves that the first COVID-19 case that shows up in the coun­try will be an im­port­ed case and the Gov­ern­ment is do­ing all it can to pre­vent that sit­u­a­tion from hap­pen­ing as long as pos­si­ble.

He acknowledged that this decision may affect the livelihood of people but said it was necessary to protect the country.


(https://newsday.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/2074948-1024x683.jpg)
The cruise-liner MSC Fantasia docked at the Shipping Complex in the Port of Port of Spain. PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 12, 2020, 01:01:15 PM
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman pushes coronavirus conspiracy theory that the US Army 'brought the epidemic to Wuhan'
rpickrell@businessinsider.com (Ryan Pickrell)
Business Insider


A Chinese government spokesman said Thursday that "it might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan," promoting a popular conspiracy theory.

In recent weeks, Chinese officials have been trying to reshape the narrative on the coronavirus, strongly suggesting that the virus might have originated outside of China, even though the epicenter of the outbreak was the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Amid this push, a conspiracy theory that US athletes participating in the Military World Games in Wuhan last fall brought the coronavirus into China has emerged.

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A Chinese government spokesman said Thursday that "it might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan," pushing one of several popular coronavirus conspiracy theories in China.

Zhao Lijian, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, called attention to the admission Wednesday by Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that some Americans who were said to have died from influenza may have actually died from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

"When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected?" he asked. "What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!"

In a short thread on Twitter, a social media platform inaccessible in China, Zhao demanded to know how many of the 34 million influenza infections and 20,000 associated deaths during this latest flu season were related to COVID-19.

The coronavirus, now a pandemic, first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, capital of hard-hit Hubei province and the epicenter of a serious outbreak that has claimed the lives of thousands, the majority in China.

As China has faced criticism, Chinese authorities have been pushing back, suggesting that the virus may have originated somewhere other than China. Dr. Zhong Nanshan, a leading Chinese epidemiologist, said in late February that "though the COVID-19 was first discovered in China, it does not mean that it originated from China."

Zhao, in his role as a government spokesman, stressed the same point in a recent press briefing.

"No conclusion has been reached yet on the origin of the virus," he told reporters, adding that "what we are experiencing now is a global phenomenon with its source still undetermined."

One popular conspiracy theory that has emerged about the coronavirus is that American athletes participating in the Military World Games, an event held in Wuhan last year, may have brought the virus, either intentionally or accidentally, into China. There is no evidence to support this accusation.

The Trump administration has laid the blame firmly at China's feet though. "Unfortunately, rather than using best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up," White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien told reporters Wednesday.

"It probably cost the world community two months to respond," he added.

Another Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, called O'Brien's efforts to denigrate China's efforts to fight the virus "immoral and irresponsible."

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 18, 2020, 06:19:50 AM
COVID-19 Is the Chinese Government’s Curse upon the World
David Harsanyi (Yahoo News)
National Review


The World Health Organization and other sensitive souls have instructed us to stop referring to the new strain of coronavirus as the “Wuhan” or “Chinese” flu because of the racist connotations. I’m disinclined to curb my speech to placate Chinese propagandists — and it seems to me the aversion to those terms is less about racism than about averting blame. But in the spirit of comity, and avoiding disparaging an entire nation, I’m happy to call it the ChiCom Flu moving forward.

There are many traditional naming conventions that don’t really make that much sense. Somewhat weirdly, for example, we often name diseases after the people who “discover” them — Hodgkin’s disease after Thomas Hodgkin, Parkinson’s disease after James Parkinson, and so on.

But naming viral diseases after places — Guinea Worm, West Nile Virus, Ebola, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc. — is probably just intuitive. Viruses “come” from someplace, after all, and thus people gravitate to those names. I doubt we came up with “Lyme disease” because of some deep enmity towards Connecticut.

Anyway, “COVID-19” or “H1N1” don’t exactly roll off the tongue.

The latter was, until very recently, widely referred to as the “Spanish flu,” a virus that killed around 675,000 Americans and tens of millions of others around the world in the early 1900s. “Spanish flu” has now retroactively fallen into disfavor as well. And to be fair, there is some historical evidence that the virus may actually have originated in China or France, so if we must call it the French flu moving forward, so be it.

But while the Spanish have a good case to be annoyed, the Chinese government does not. As Jim Geraghty notes, the Communist Chinese have been far more effective in stopping the spread of information about the coronavirus than in stopping the spread of the coronavirus itself. Today, for example, China expelled most American journalist from the country.

Early on, the Communists destroyed samples and suppressed vital information that could have helped mitigate the damage of this new strain of coronavirus. The government also silenced doctors who warned about the disease. Some were censured for “spreading rumors” or sharing test results with colleagues, and some were forced to write a self-critical public letters — a Marxist mainstay — admitting that the warning “had a negative impact.” The Chinese Communists probably let five million people leave Wuhan without screening, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Chinese Communists, like all Communists, hide their societal problems. There is no crime, disease, or addiction in the collectivist state. This kind of secrecy and dishonesty can be disastrous, especially in a highly interconnected world.

Though millions of Chinese have been lifted out of extreme poverty through free trade, with modernity comes some basic responsibilities — like, for instance, not killing everyone in the world with preventable zoonotic diseases.

The Chinese regime is perfectly capable of administering an array of authoritarian policies to suppress the rights of its own people. But it’s apparently unable to exert even mild cultural pressure warning them that their eating habits can be extraordinarily dangerous, and hold the potential of creating massive socioeconomic problems.

If reports are correct, it was in Wuhan’s popular “wet markets” that vendors were selling the bats — and possibly snakes — that may have caused the COVID-19 outbreak. “Wet” because the meat sold in its unsanitary stalls was only recently slaughtered.

This kind of thing happens quite often. And not always in China, of course. But the avian influenza was likely transmitted to humans from chickens in a “wet” market. Scientists have been warning for years that the eating of exotic animals in southern China “is a time bomb.” Acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) also originated in China, and probably jumped to humans through bats. Other coronavirus strains are also likely connected to bats.

I hate to thrust my Western cultural values on anyone, but maybe it’s time to stop eating bats.

It’s important to stress that it’s not the Chinese people who are the problem. Just look at their success in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, or the United States. The ChiComs are the problem. If the Chinese government spent as much time working on educating its people and regulating dangerous markets as it does on secrecy and propaganda efforts, maybe it wouldn’t have to worry as much about diseases being named after it — or about the catastrophic death and economic pain their negligence helps cause.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 18, 2020, 06:24:00 AM
Don’t Let the Chinese Government Escape Blame for Coronavirus’s Initial Spread
By THERESE SHAHEEN
nationalreview


Already, Beijing is trying to whitewash the early history of COVID-19’s spread, with the help of willing partners in the West.

From almost the very beginning of the COVID-19/coronavirus crisis in January and early February, it’s often been asked whether it might be the “Chinese Chernobyl.” Could the crisis expose the weakness of the mix of oppression, information control, and social disgust that underpin the Chinese Communist regime and trigger its collapse? Others have suggested that it might instead be “president Xi Jinping’s Tiananmen,” meaning he will use all the tools at his disposal to tighten down and prevent, well . . . a Chinese Chernobyl.

It is too soon to know what may happen. But it’s not too soon for attempts to whitewash the timeline and Chinese-government actions in the earliest moments of the crisis. Indeed, even now, the level of public anxiety about both the virus and what the Chinese government is doing and saying about it remain high.

It is helpful to review the current status and the timeline that got us here. On Monday, February 24, the World Health Organization determined that reported cases of COVID-19/coronavirus had peaked. At the time, there were about 76,000 reported cases in China, and about 1,800 cases elsewhere in the world. In the United States, there were 14 reported cases. As of March 7, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and state and local public health reporting suggest the number is more than 300 cases, a twenty-fold increase. Globally, there are more than 100,000 cases, with more than 350 deaths in Italy alone.

The world has barely begun to reckon with what the Chinese government claims to have gotten under control. It’s true that forced quarantining and other extreme measures in China played a critical role. The World Health Organization report of its February mission to China praises the PRC for its response: “The response structures in China were rapidly put in place according to existing emergency plans and aligned from the top to the bottom. This was replicated at the four levels of government (national, provincial, prefecture and county/district).” The leader of the World Health Organization mission to China in February, Canadian epidemiologist Dr. Bruce Aylward, encouraged the world to “access the expertise of China,” adding that “if I had COVID-19, I’d want to be treated in China.”

But the WHO report and subsequent reporting about what the world can learn from China represents a real-time cleansing of the actual record, a record that includes intentional obfuscation and failure to respond in the early stages of the crisis. This includes the government’s early attempts to stifle communication about the virus, the censorship of doctors and others on social media as cases were being observed in late December, and the continuing suppression of information on social media across the country about how the government, from President Xi Jinping to local administrators, continues to mislead the public and the rest of the world.

On March 3, researchers at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy published “Censured Contagion,” a report that meticulously documents a timeline and body of facts that paint quite a different picture than the WHO report, and placing WHO’s accolades for China’s “response structures” that were “rapidly put in place” in doubt. The WHO report concludes that the beginning of the epidemic was December 30, 2019, with the collection of samples from a pneumonia patient in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. Data provided in graphics in the report show essentially zero cases before that date.

Yet the Munk School researchers found that censorship of certain keywords in social media had already begun by then. They highlight social-media reports during the prior week by doctors reporting an unknown pathogen, linking it to the Wuhan seafood market. By December 31, social-media channels, including WeChat, were already censoring the terms “Wuhan seafood market” and “unknown Wuhan pneumonia.”

As careful as the recent Munk School report is, its essential elements were available to WHO researchers before they made their February 16-24 trip and wrote their report praising the PRC response. On February 1, the Washington Post published a story excoriating Beijing’s early handling of the outbreak. The story includes anecdotes consistent with the Munk School analysis, such as how the Wuhan Public Security Bureau on New Year’s Day had begun detaining people for “spreading ‘rumours’ about Wuhan hospitals receiving SARS-like cases.”  The government-controlled Xinhua News Agency, the Post reported, called on those online to “jointly build a harmonious, clear and bright cyberspace.”

WHO and its director-general, the Ethiopian politician Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have received criticism for their own response to the crisis. Michael Collins at the Council on Foreign Relations labeled it a joint “dereliction of duty” in a searing blog post in late February. Collins correctly concludes that WHO “laundered” the PRC record, damaging its own credibility by doing so.

The most galling result of that image-burnishing is the ubiquity of coverage — and repetition by third parties who don’t care to find out the truth — to the effect that the world should actually thank the PRC for its strong reaction, because it bought the world the necessary time to prepare for the challenge. Science magazine online, the publication of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, posed the question this week: “Can China’s COVID-19 strategy work elsewhere?” This is just one example.

This reflects what we already know about the Chinese government. It is developing into a modern state, one whose public-health system has significantly advanced from its ordeal with the SARS epidemic just 20 years ago. Per capita wealth is up more than 300 percent, and the Chinese share of the global GDP has more than doubled, from about 7 percent to more than 16 percent over the same period.

Alongside that growth and progress, though, China under President Xi is ever more repressive. It uses some of the most sophisticated technology in the world simply to control its population.  That includes Internet censorship, social-media monitoring and tracking of ordinary citizens, and the mass detention of Muslims and other minorities.

But Chinese government face-saving is not stopping at the Chinese border. It is also attempting to control the narrative through state-controlled media, and through their willing partners in the West, including WHO. Government propagandists published a compendium of state-news agency articles, official government statements, and other documents in a book called A Battle Against Epidemic: China Combatting COVID-19 in 2020. The publication faced immediate scorn in social media within the country.

Fortunately, despite the well-documented censorship of social media, citizen journalism continues. A popular meme shows Dr. Li Wenliang, the Wuhan ophthalmologist whose social media questioned the “Wuhan pneumonia” in late December and who eventually died from the virus, with barbed wire where his facemask should be. Several citizen journalists have gone missing, including in Shandong province, where there have been reports including in the Epoch Times that significant underreporting of COVID-19 by official statistics continues despite the WHO declaration that the caseload has peaked.

In times of duress, the most innate qualities of countries tend to predominate. That’s what we’ve seen with the PRC. We can recognize the intensity of China’s public-health response. But we should acknowledge and condemn the methods by which the world was kept in the dark for too long, and the means by which Beijing continues to interrupt the flow of information. We should not be thanking Beijing for its actions. Instead, we need honesty and the pursuit of the truth to defeat this challenge. And we must acknowledge that the Chinese government’s actions early on almost certainly led to the global crisis we’re facing

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: RichGFootball on March 23, 2020, 05:20:48 PM
China's winning the 'superpower' game being played. It's hard not to notice this.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 24, 2020, 08:50:07 AM
$1b COVID-19 stimulus package
By Shaliza Hassanali (Guardian).


Citizens of this county who lose their jobs as a result of the measures being put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be able to access a Salary Relief Grant of $1,500 a month for the next three months, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced yesterday.

The grant is expected to help over 80,000 citizens and will cost taxpayers around $400 million, Imbert said during a press conference where Government unveiled several measures being put in a place as part of a billion-dollar plan to help cushion the economic impact of the stringent action being taken to battle COVID-19.

In all, the Government is expected to need around $9 billion to address the country’s current economic situation, including the dramatic fall in oil prices and the arrival of the virus on our shores.

Imbert also announced sweeping measures to help businesses and individuals cope in the face of harsh economic times expected as a result of the COVID-19 fallout.

“The most important measure, however, that the team has decided is necessary, is a Salary Relief grant because we recognise that because of the measures that are being taken and because of the issues associated with this pandemic that there will be persons who will be unemployed and what we have chosen to do, we have decided that individuals who have been temporarily unemployed or temporarily displaced as a result of the prevailing situation will be eligible for a grant of up to $1,500 per month for a three-month period,” Imbert said.

Social Development and Family Services Minister Camille Robinson-Regis added, however, that Venezuelans who have been working here and lose their jobs will not be entitled to this grant.

Imbert said he anticipates individuals employed in the food and beverage, hospitality and entertainment sectors may be adversely affected by some of the decisions taken to help stop the virus’ spread. He said last week he had a discussion with several of this country’s business chambers and called on them to have their members keep people employed for at least four weeks.

Imbert said the Salary Relief Grant will be administered through the National Insurance Board (NIB).

“The reason why we are using the National insurance Board is because they have a database on all persons within the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system, which is hundreds of thousands of persons,” Imbert said.

“So since NIB has all the data on all these people already, where they work and so on, who they are, identification documents with respect to these people, we felt the best thing to do is to use the NIB.”

The Government will supply the funding to the NIB, he said.

Imbert said the details and the qualification criteria for the grant will be decided over the next seven days.

“We recognise that people will be going through hardship in this period and we thought as a Government, we had to do this,” Imbert said.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley also said while the NIB and its database is being used, the Government knows that there will be people who will not be on the NIB list who may apply for the grant.

“And one of the reasons for that would be persons who would not have been complying and what this situation will do is those persons who are not on the list and were employed and are now not covered or identified on the NIB list that says something for and about the employer but such persons can approach the Ministry of Social Development for that social development assistance but that action will identify persons who should have been on the NIB record,” Rowley said.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Sando prince on March 25, 2020, 05:32:26 AM

I believe Rowley FED UP with people who don't listen!  :D :D

https://www.facebook.com/SocaTv/videos/198874614895926/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 25, 2020, 06:11:22 AM
Here's what’s in the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus deal for businesses
Ben Werschkul
Yahoo Finance


Early Wednesday morning, Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer announced a massive $2 trillion dollar stimulus deal that is set to be the largest economic stimulus package in modern American history.

"This is a wartime level of investment into our nation" McConnell said.

The deal is set to include a range of far-reaching provisions. Everything from $1,200 government checks to individuals to hundreds of billions of dollars to fight the crisis are included.

But the most contentious part of the negotiations were clearly provisions to send over half a trillion dollars directly to impacted businesses.

The initial proposal from Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell was repeatedly slammed as a ‘$500 billion slush fund’ by Democrats who held up the bill until changes were made. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and fellow Republicans, in the end, agreed to a range of oversight measures over how companies will be able to spend all that money.

"Like all compromises, this bill is far from perfect but we believe the legislation has improved significantly," Senate Minority Leader Schumer said after the deal was announced.

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders predict that the bill will be passed quickly in the Senate.

As of early Wednesday, parts of the final bill were still being written by legislators but here’s a rundown of what we do know about what’s in the deal aimed specifically at the businesses community.

For the airlines a ‘special provision’

“We're going to back the airlines 100%,” President Trump said last week about one of the industries hit hardest by the ongoing crisis.

The deal reportedly includes $50 billion specifically for passenger airlines, $8 billion for cargo airlines, and $17 billion “for firms that are deemed important to national security.”

Airlines CEOs recently promised to stop stock buybacks and paying dividends in exchange for help from the federal government.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the final negotiations on a package included a mix of grants and loans to these companies while President Trump signaled Tuesday evening that the money would come in the form of loans.

“We'll be helping Boeing, we'll be helping the airlines” he said. “We'll be doing a lot of things and the money will all come back to us, and it will come back to us in a very strong form.”

Either way, the airlines were singled out for special treatment because “airlines do provide significant resources and national security issues” as Secretary Mnuchin said Monday adding “I believe that's something that's very important to Americans.”

Hundred of billions more for all types of businesses

Other impacted industries, from the cruise industry to hotels to restaurants, have a range of ways to get government cash.

Previous stimulus efforts put $50 billion aside for the Small Business Administration. That “money's already starting to be approved,” an SBA official told Yahoo Finance last Friday.

This deal ramps things up aggressively with hundreds of billions of dollars in loans now expected to be available in the coming weeks and months.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, was one of the leaders pushing the small business provisions.

“This is not a program where you are going to the SBA, you are not going to a tent somewhere in a disaster area or some government office or some government website” he said on the Senate floor over the weekend “you are going to a bank, to a financial institution.”

The banks will then - according to the plan - be able to process cash assistance quickly either through the SBA or through a new program that will be set up specifically to administer some of this money. The deal reportedly includes a $367 billion for the small business loan program as well as the $500 billion fund for a new lending agency.

What is still a bit of a mystery is exactly how this new lending agency will work. Senator Pat Toomey (R.-Pa) has been a central negotiator on this portion of the package and gave some insight into how this “big credit facility” will work on Sunday on NBC.

He says the facility will have two components. One will be administered by the Treasury Secretary with direct loans for a short list of “seriously distressed and absolutely essential companies” likely including airlines.

The second component will be much bigger and be “a broad-based credit facility that will be available across categories, across sectors and industries.” Toomey says that the money this new facility gives out will be loans that, in the end, have to be repaid. “None of this is grant money” he said.

Businesses of all sizes - many of whom are currently facing the prospect of mass bankruptcies - will be able to participate in the different programs.

This idea of a separate lending program - outside of the SBA - was also championed by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). In a recent Yahoo Finance interview he noted that a second loan authority would allow more businesses to participate. In the past, he says, "there were all these well-intentioned programs but there was so much funding bureaucracy and underwriting that there was no take up rate."

There is also expected to be a crucial change in how at least some of these loans will work. Some of these loans appear set to eventually be forgiven and effectively become grants.

“They are going to be able to take an SBA loan that will give them two months of payroll and some overhead” Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said on Fox Business on Monday, adding  “And if they hire the workers back or they keep their workers hired, the government will forgive that loan.”

Provisions to ban stock buybacks

A lot of that cash - especially that from the new lending facility - will find its way into a range of publicly-traded companies. The deal includes provisions to stop these companies from using that cash for stock buybacks or executive bonuses.

"Every loan document will be public and made available to Congress very quickly so we can see where the money is going," Senator Schumer said Wednesday morning on the Senate floor.

A condition for receiving a government loan from the bill will be that a company cannot make stock buybacks for a year.

The oversight provisions include a new inspector general position focused on oversight of these funds along with a 5-person congressional panel. The structure is similar to what was done for the Troubled Asset Relief Program of a decade ago.

Neil Barofsky, who was the special inspector general for TARP, noted in a Yahoo Finance interview Tuesday that “putting the entity in place, is a first step” he said adding “but then there has to actually be real oversight, real transparency.”

Schumer’s office added that the deal will “prohibit businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs.”

A range of other stimulative measures

Hundreds of billions more dollars in the deal will also indirectly flow to businesses. First and foremost, lawmakers hope that the $1,200 dollar checks will be spent across a range of industries.

The deal also includes a massive expansion of unemployment insurance. Schumer calls the agreement "unemployment compensation on steroids" and says that the maximum unemployment benefit will be increased by $600 per week to ensure “that laid-off workers, on average, will receive their full pay for four months.”

The plan also includes a massive infusion of cash into the health-care industry.  Health care providers, community health centers, and hospitals are set to receive over $130 billion dollars to fight the virus while states and localities are set to receive another $150 billion.

Overall, Washington is hoping that the deal will set the stage for a robust economic recovery. “If we get this package, we'll be setting the stage for a good rebound in the second half of the year” said Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic adviser, told reporters Tuesday before the deal was finalized “that's our thinking.”

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 25, 2020, 01:17:52 PM
$20 trillion lawsuit against China! US group says coronavirus is bioweapon
businesstoday
Anwesha Madhukalya   New Delhi 


Coronavirus update: The plaintiffs have sought USD 20 trillion, which is a bigger amount than China's GDP, claiming coronavirus is the result of a biological weapon prepared by the Chinese authorities

Coronavirus update: A $20 trillion lawsuit has been filed against Chinese authorities in the US over coronavirus outbreak. American lawyer Larry Klayman and his advocacy group Freedom Watch along with Texas company Buzz Photos have filed the lawsuit against the Chinese government, Chinese army, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Director of Wuhan Institute of Virology Shi Zhengli and Chinese army's Major General Chen Wei.

The plaintiffs have sought $20 trillion, which is a bigger amount than China's GDP, claiming coronavirus is the result of a biological weapon prepared by the Chinese authorities.

They have accused China of aiding and abetting death, provision of material support to terrorists, conspiracy to cause injury and death of US citizens, negligence, wrongful death, and assault and battery.

They allege the virus had released from the Wuhan Virology Institute. The plaintiffs stated that the COVID-19 virus was "designed" by China to kill mass populations. Biological weapons were outlawed in 1925 and hence such a biological weapon is a terrorist-related weapon of mass destruction, the lawsuit mentioned.

The American group cites multiple media reports that said that there was only one microbiology lab in China that handled advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus -- in Wuhan. To cover up, the plaintiffs alleged, China linked statements on coronavirus with national security protocols.

Klayman and the plaintiffs also alleged that Chinese doctors and researchers who spoke out about coronavirus and "raised the alarm to the outside world internationally" have been "silenced". They added that such was the desperation of Major General Chen to save herself from the virus that she injected herself and six members of her team with a potential vaccine that was yet to be tested.

They also alleged that all the defendants were working together to perpetuate "international terrorism".

The lawsuit stated that while coronavirus is slow-acting and slow-spreading to be used against a country's military, "it was designed to be used against the general population of one or more of China's perceived enemy nations, such as the United States."

The American plaintiffs also asked for a jury trial against the Chinese defendants.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 26, 2020, 09:34:54 AM
Chinese government approves decision to ban consumption of wild animals
From journalist Isaac Yee and CNN’s Yong Xiong in Shanghai


China's top political body approved the decision on Monday to ban the consumption and the illegal trade of wild animals, which some experts believe to be the source of the virus.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved the ban on Monday in a bid to help “safeguard public health and ecological security," according to Chinese state media.

The move aims to “completely ban the eating of wild animals” while also “cracking down on illegal trade of wildlife,” state media reports.

The use of wild animals for scientific research, medicine and exhibition will now need to go through “strict examination and approval” by the supervising department in accordance with relevant regulations.

This comes after Chinese authorities suspended the trade of wild animals on January 26th in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: asylumseeker on March 26, 2020, 12:01:58 PM
Big up to Pep for donating to the cause!
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: asylumseeker on March 27, 2020, 04:33:30 AM
Big up to Rihanna for stepping up!

By the way, Barbados is going into curfew mode 8pm to 6am effective Saturday, March 28 for a couple weeks, subject to possible extension. Plenty yutes and creepahs will get lock up for attempting to curfew lime and curfew ride. Human nature v.  COVID-19, guess who wins? The first one, then possibly the other.

What's the protocol for an arrest during "social distancing"?
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 28, 2020, 12:35:49 PM
Non-essentials must stay home or face police, $50,000 fine
JULIEN NEAVES (NEWSDAY).


NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young has outlined essential services which will be allowed to operate during Stay At Home orders from March 30-April 15.

Anyone found in breach could face a $50,000 fine.

“It is not business as usual.”

He was speaking on Friday at a media conference at the Health Ministry in Port of Spain.

The list of essential services is:

- Judiciary and legal services

- Cabinet

- Tobago House of Assembly

- Police

- Defence Force

- Immigration

- Strategic Services Agency

- Hospitals

- Water

- Electricity

- Telecommunications

- Funeral homes

- Sanitation

- Prisons

- Rehabilitation centres and other detention centres

- Children’s homes

- Differently-abled homes

- Elderly and geriatric homes

- Private security

- Social workers and NGOs that serve the less fortunate

- Banks

- Unit Trust Corporation

- Cooperative services,

- Service providers of safety and sanitation such as plumbers.

- Live-in domestic workers

- Convenience stores, corner shops, discount stores

- Supermarkets

- Groceries

- Pharmacies

- Hardwares

- All government services (minimum staff)

- Inland Revenue

- Customs and Excise

- Transportation and logistic services

- Port operations

- Manufacturers of food, beverages and pharmaceuticals

- Aviation and airport operations

- Services related to ports

- Warehouses

- Public transportation but at 50 per cent capacity

- Restaurants can have take away and delivery.

- Media

- Agriculture: food production

- Energy services:oil and gas

- UWI’s Seismic Research Unit

- Construction workers only in health-related work

Young stressed that even those essential services are asked to operate at minimum capacity.

“We are asking various business that you only deploy essential workers. Not because you are essential means everyone has to be out.”

He said the police, aided by the Defence Force, will enforce the restrictions and people who are part of the essential services are asked to walk with their ID or have a letter from their employer.

People going out to the grocery, hardware and other places are also asked to walk with ID and must inform the police where they are going.

"Go straight, get what you need and come back."

Young said the list could be expanded but there is no intention by the Government at this stage to do so.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 28, 2020, 12:36:40 PM
T&T now up to 74 covid19 cases
NARISSA FRASER (NEWSDAY).


T&T now has 74 confirmed cases of people who have tested positive for covid19.

This was announced via a release by the Ministry of Health on Saturday morning.

A total of 487 samples have been tested, while one person has been discharged and two patients have died.

“Of the number of positive cases, 49 of these positive cases came from the group of nationals who recently returned from a cruise.

“Forty-six positive cases from the group of 68 nationals who returned from the cruise together, three positive cases from the group of nationals who returned from the same cruise, separately.”

The confirmed cases are being treated at the Couva and Caura hospitals.

The Ministry, again, urged the public to practice proper hand hygiene, avoid touching their faces, avoid going in public unnecessarily and gathering in groups larger than 10.

Several measures have been taken by the government to urge people to stay in their homes to prevent the possible spread of the virus including closing T&T's borders and limiting the number of passengers in public vehicles.

From midnight on Sunday, only essential workers would be allowed to report for duty as hundreds of businesses and other public services shut their doors for two weeks.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: asylumseeker on March 29, 2020, 05:30:58 AM
Last league standing: Belarusian football basks in new-found popularity
Reuters


With professional football at a virtual standstill around the globe, fans in need of their weekly fix are turning to the Belarusian Premier League to fill the void as it carries on with matches despite the coronavirus outbreak.

The league, one of Europe’s least glamorous competitions whose teams rarely reach the Champions League group stage, is drawing foreign fans’ attention and a string of new broadcast deals.

It has said it has no intention of postponing matches or cancelling the season it began earlier this month. While most of its teams, perhaps with the exception of Bate Borisov and Dinamo Minsk, are unknown to the majority of soccer fans, the league is making the most of stoppages to the world’s top competitions.

The decision to carry on and allow fans into stadiums has helped the Belarus Football Federation get broadcasting deals with sports networks in 10 countries, including Russia, Israel and India, where fans have been left with nothing to watch. “This is an unprecedented situation,” said Alexander Aleinik, a federation spokesman.

One of the networks broadcasting Belarusian matches is Ukraine’s Sport-1. Although it began broadcasting the league late last year - prior to the coronavirus outbreak - because many Ukrainians play in Belarus, viewers have been surprised by Belarusian league’s quality.

“We didn’t expect them to have a decent league over there,” said Viktor Samoilenko, head of Poverkhnost Ukraine, which produces Sport-1, among other channels. “We didn’t know this before because we didn’t show the matches.”

Belarus has so far reported 94 coronavirus cases but has taken few measures to curb the outbreak. President Alexander Lukashenko, who has held power in the former Soviet nation of 9.5 million people since 1994, has downplayed the need for social distancing and bragged that he continues to play ice hockey and embrace fellow players. “It’s better to die standing than to live on your knees,” he told local television on Saturday after a hockey game. “There are no viruses here (at the rink)... I don’t see them.”

Thanks to the Belarusian league’s growing viewing figures, Dinamo Minsk’s popularity has spiked on social media, especially among English speakers. Alexander Strok, a club spokesman, said he hopes the international attention will motivate players to step up their game. “We hope it will improve the level of the game because the players may get more responsible,” he said.

Yuri, a Dinamo Minsk supporter, believes the current interest in the Belarusian league could eventually open doors for their players to move to bigger teams in Europe.
Yet when European soccer resumes, he hopes fans will still flip the channel to the Belarusian league. “They will not only watch English or Italian leagues, but also the Belarusian one from time to time,” he said.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: asylumseeker on March 29, 2020, 05:34:54 AM
Look how the Pro League missed a trick.  :devil:
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 29, 2020, 07:19:03 AM
US charters flight to take citizens home
JENSEN LA VENDE (NEWSDAY).


ONE week after the UK repatriated their citizens from T&T amidst the covid-19 pandemic, the US has chartered a flight for its citizens here wanting to go home.

In a tweet on Saturday the US Embassy said any of their citizens willing to leave can book a flight scheduled to leave at noon on April 1. The private charter flight will land in Miami.

Last week British High Commissioner to T&T Tim Stew, on his Twitter account, reported that the British Airways repatriation flights were available on March 23, 24 and 26 "thanks to the T&T Government."

In a media release issued on Friday, the US Embassy advised their citizens interested in returning to the US to visit the website www.tt.usembassy.gov, to complete the repatriation assistance form located in the March 26 alert on the covid19 page. Questions can be emailed to PortofSpainUSCitizen@state.gov with the subject line Return Travel to the United States. T&T closed its borders on March 23 to all incoming international passenger flights.

The US Embassy asked that their citizens register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.step.state.gov. STEP allows the Embassy to directly contact citizens in an emergency.

The Embassy said they will contact their citizens as options become available and provide further instructions at that time and invited them to follow their social media pages for updates as well as their website, tt.usembassy.gov.

Those who are registering with STEP are asked to include their full name as it appears on their passport if accompanying a minor with their passport number, birth date and issue date.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: asylumseeker on March 30, 2020, 03:42:40 AM
A coronavirus song was ALWAYS inevitable. There are a bunch ah dem of varying quality out there, but ah posting these two.   

https://www.youtube.com/v/GHpYBUGJCkE

https://www.youtube.com/v/dTpsZTkAw0Y
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: pecan on March 30, 2020, 07:03:41 PM
Stay safe Warriors. Been a while since I visited. The lock downs in Ontario getting tighter.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on April 12, 2020, 06:22:21 AM
CAF to lend Govt $1 bn in COVID-19 fight.
By Curtis Williams (Guardian).


The T&T government is expected to receive just over $1 billion from the CAF-development bank of Latin America as it grapples with the economic fall out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Gianpiero Leoncini, representative of CAF in T&T, the money will be divided into two areas of support:. one for assisting the country to deal with the hit to the national budget caused by weak oil and gas prices and the second to assist the Ministry of Health in its emergency response to the virus.

In an email response to questions from the Sunday Business Guardian, Leoncini said the US$50 million for support of the Health sector will be disbursed quickly because it is needed urgently.

“We are currently in the process of approving a US$50 million loan for the emergency response, which will contribute to strengthening the capacity of the health system to fight the epidemic. As these resources are drawn from a contingency line we created in 2014 to face pandemics and natural disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean, they provide an agile mechanism that facilitates a rapid disbursement.” Leoncini explained.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert had projected that based on current calculations, taking into consideration the oil and gas prices and COVID-19 fallout, the country is now expected to lose some $4 to $5 billion based on what was originally projected in the 2020 fiscal package.

“When you factor in Green Fund and Unemployment Levy you lose a billion,” he said. “This takes no account of the slowdown in business activity and the natural decline that would take place as a result of the precautions (of the virus).” The Finance Minister recently told a news conference to discuss the economy.

He reminded that last year the budget was formulated against the price of US$3.15 per MMBtu (million British thermal units) of natural gas but the actual price the Government is now receiving only US $1.70.

“A substantial drop in revenue,” Imbert said.

With regards to oil, Imbert said there was a natural decline from the country’s ageing fields. According to Finance Minister, oil production dipped from 80,000 to 55,000 barrels per day as of the month of March.

Imbert explained that the COVID-19 virus is proving to be a harsh double whammy for T&T.

“If I had to make my best estimate of what will happen, we will lose over $5 billion in revenue this year as a result of the oil price shock and the issues arising from the precautions taken from the virus,” Imbert said.

Leoncini said CAF had set aside US$2.5 billion to assist the region in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and was in the process of approving US$100 million for T&T.

He explained that unlike the US$50 million for the health sector, this second tranch of money will go towards sustaining the economy.

“Furthermore, CAF has put forward a new US$2.5 billion facility for the region, specifically designed to cope with the economic and social impact of the pandemic. This is unrestricted budget support to finance anti-cyclic measures which are crucial to sustain the economy when many key economic activities are being disrupted.

“We expect to provide an additional US$ 100 million to T&T from this facility.” the Representative in T&T of CAF-development bank added.

He said to be effective in the current scenario CAF understood the need to act quickly.

In addition the beneficiaries of the loans, including T&T will not have to repay any of the money for six years as the bank gives countries some time to recover from the precipitous fall in economic activity caused by measures designed to limit the spread of the virus.

“So we are offering loans which can be disbursed almost immediately. We are also aware that countries will need time to recover, so the facility will give a six-year grace period to begin repayment,” Leoncini said.

CAF said it had a duty to assist its member countries and while it is providing funding in the form of loans there were many other instruments that are available to member states including free technical assistance.

“As a multilateral development institution, CAF—Development Bank of Latin America has the duty to assist its member countries in times of need. We have therefore proposed to our member countries a series of instruments to help them fight the pandemic and its economic and social effects, including non-reimbursable technical assistance, emergency loans for the health sector and anti-cyclic budgetary support.

“We are working in partnership and solidarity with the Government of T&T on these fronts,” the bank added.

Imbert has indicated that the government plans to finance the budgetary shortfall and the emergency spending measures through a mixture of borrowings, drawdowns from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund and possible sale of assets.


Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on April 12, 2020, 06:24:20 AM
BHP contributes $3.5 million to coronavirus fight
By Curtis Williams (Guardian).


Australian outfit BHP T&T has announced that it will contribute of 3.35 million dollars to the effort to tackle COVID-19 in T&T.

The company said the money will be spent on equipment and services to support the country’s COVID-19 response.

BHP’s COVID-19 response plan investment includes:

• Sponsoring two ventilated beds with the accompanying equipment

• Providing equipment to support the establishment of field hospitals

• Assisting with the purchase of surgical instruments

• Provision of Employee Assistance Counselling Programme to medical staff

• Care packages, food, nutrition and sustenance to medical staff, homes for the aged and children’s homes

Aspects of BHP’s support will be provided to the communities in which BHP T&T operates.

In a statement the company said its commitment to Social Value investment ensures a continued focus on contributing to T&T’s communities, through resource development, economic contribution and social support.

President of BHP T&T, Vincent Pereira, commented “Our overriding focus remains that of ensuring the safety and well-being of our staff, and that all sanitisation and other protocols as outlined by the Ministry of Heath are followed.

Additionally, we believe that a fundamental area of our support to T&T—especially at this time—is ensuring that we safely continue to deliver our oil and gas production.

“Continuing our petroleum production is an important benefit to the nation as a whole – our electricity network, our support to the downstream sector, the national power grid. It is also a driver of revenue to the local businesses we partner with.”

As part of the COVID-19 response program, BHP Trinidad and Tobago is also working with several suppliers of Materials and Services to arrange for them to temporarily benefit from shorter cycle payment terms by the company.

This is a voluntary reduction from the current payment terms, in an effort by BHP to support the sustainability of local companies at this difficult times.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: asylumseeker on April 17, 2020, 12:33:37 PM
Straggling in a Good Economy, and Now Struggling in a Crisis
By Patricia Cohen, The New York Times


An indelible image from the Great Depression features a well-dressed family seated with their dog in a comfy car, smiling down from an oversize billboard on weary souls standing in line at a relief agency. “World’s highest standard of living,” the billboard boasts, followed by a tagline: “There’s no way like the American Way.”

The economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has suddenly hurled the country back to that dislocating moment captured in 1937 by the photographer Margaret Bourke-White. In the updated 2020 version, lines of cars stretch for miles to pick up groceries from a food pantry; jobless workers spend days trying to file for unemployment benefits; renters and homeowners plead with landlords and mortgage bankers for extensions; and outside hospitals, ill patients line up overnight to wait for virus testing.

In an economy that has been hailed for its record-shattering successes, the most basic necessities — food, shelter and medical care — are all suddenly at risk.

The latest crisis has played out in sobering economic data and bleak headlines — most recently on Thursday, when the Labor Department said 5.2 million workers filed last week for unemployment benefits.

That brought the four-week total to 22 million, roughly the net number of jobs created in a nine-and-a-half-year stretch that ended with the pandemic’s arrival.

Certainly, the outbreak and attempts to curb it have created new hardships. But perhaps more significantly, the crisis has revealed profound, longstanding vulnerabilities in the economic system.

That brought the four-week total to 22 million, roughly the net number of jobs created in a nine-and-a-half-year stretch that ended with the pandemic’s arrival.

Certainly, the outbreak and attempts to curb it have created new hardships. But perhaps more significantly, the crisis has revealed profound, longstanding vulnerabilities in the economic system.

On one were impressive achievements: the lowest jobless rate in half a century, a soaring stock market and the longest expansion on record.

On the other, a very different story of stinging economic weaknesses unfolded. Years of limp wage growth left workers struggling to afford essentials. Irregular work schedules caused weekly paychecks to surge and dip unpredictably. Job-based benefits were threadbare or nonexistent. In this economy, four of 10 adults don’t have the resources on hand to cover an unplanned $400 expense.

Even middle-class Americans, once snugly secure, have become increasingly anxious in recent decades about their own fragile finances and their children’s prospects.

Since the recession’s end, the economy has pumped out enormous wealth. Workers, though, have gotten a smaller slice of those rewards. Companies prioritized short-term gains and stockholder returns at the same time that employee bargaining power was eroding.

In less than two decades, the share of income paid out in wages and benefits in the private sector shrank by 5.4 percentage points, a McKinsey Global Institute study found last year, reducing compensation on average by $3,000 a year, adjusted for inflation.

The result is that a job — once the guarantor of income security — no longer reliably plays that role.

“For many working families, wage growth has not been strong enough to allow them to meet their basic needs on their own,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston concluded in a report last year.

Work is available — but it is often unsteady and poorly paid.

Roughly seven of 10 people enrolled in public health care in New England were employed, the bank study found. So were nearly half of those who qualified for temporary cash assistance from the government.

Employers who pay low wages and don’t offer benefits have in effect been subsidized through programs providing publicly funded medical insurance, rent money and food stamps to their workers.

Now individual employees with few resources — rather than companies or partners — are compelled to absorb some of the routine risks and uncertainties of running a business. Scheduling software that constantly changes a worker’s daily shifts to match an unexpected slowdown or rush improves a business’s bottom line but can ruin a household’s by causing wages to fluctuate widely from one week to the next. Such shifting not only scrambles family life, but also makes it more difficult to schedule other paid work.

At large companies, employees have seen their spending on health care — because of higher deductibles, premiums and co-payments — increase twice as fast as their wages over the past decade, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker.

At the same time, the cost of other necessities like housing has shot up. Millions of renters spend more than half their incomes on housing. Middle-income households, too, have been hit by escalating housing costs. Since 2000, a steadily growing share of this group has spent more than a third of earnings on rent.

For years, households have strained to navigate this cut-to-the bone economy with varying success. The coronavirus shock has made the economic precariousness — usually seen in scattershot fashion — evident everywhere at once.

“A lot of the people in the economy are living at the edge, and you have an event like this that pushes them over,” Mr. Stiglitz said. “And we are unique in the advanced world in having people at the edge without a safety net below them.”

Powerful forces like advancing technology and globalization are partly to blame for workers’ economic instability. But Mr. Stiglitz also criticized the short-term mind-set prevalent in corporate America. Airlines — now being propped up with emergency government aid — used billions of dollars in profits to buy back their stock, he said, instead of investing in employees and productive capacity or building up reserves to withstand a downturn.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown how close to the edge many Americans were living, with pay and benefits eroding even as corporate profits surged.

Contrasts between the American image of plenty and the needs of many citizens have become more glaring in times of crisis.

Contrasts between the American image of plenty and the
An indelible image from the Great Depression features a well-dressed family seated with their dog in a comfy car, smiling down from an oversize billboard on weary souls standing in line at a relief agency. “World’s highest standard of living,” the billboard boasts, followed by a tagline: “There’s no way like the American Way.”

The economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has suddenly hurled the country back to that dislocating moment captured in 1937 by the photographer Margaret Bourke-White. In the updated 2020 version, lines of cars stretch for miles to pick up groceries from a food pantry; jobless workers spend days trying to file for unemployment benefits; renters and homeowners plead with landlords and mortgage bankers for extensions; and outside hospitals, ill patients line up overnight to wait for virus testing.

In an economy that has been hailed for its record-shattering successes, the most basic necessities — food, shelter and medical care — are all suddenly at risk.

The latest crisis has played out in sobering economic data and bleak headlines — most recently on Thursday, when the Labor Department said 5.2 million workers filed last week for unemployment benefits.

That brought the four-week total to 22 million, roughly the net number of jobs created in a nine-and-a-half-year stretch that ended with the pandemic’s arrival.

Certainly, the outbreak and attempts to curb it have created new hardships. But perhaps more significantly, the crisis has revealed profound, longstanding vulnerabilities in the economic system.

“We built an economy with no shock absorbers,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel-winning economist. “We made a system that looked like it was maximizing profits but had higher risks and lower resiliency.”

Well before the coronavirus established a foothold, the American economy had been playing out on a split screen.

On one were impressive achievements: the lowest jobless rate in half a century, a soaring stock market and the longest expansion on record.

On the other, a very different story of stinging economic weaknesses unfolded. Years of limp wage growth left workers struggling to afford essentials. Irregular work schedules caused weekly paychecks to surge and dip unpredictably. Job-based benefits were threadbare or nonexistent. In this economy, four of 10 adults don’t have the resources on hand to cover an unplanned $400 expense.

Even middle-class Americans, once snugly secure, have become increasingly anxious in recent decades about their own fragile finances and their children’s prospects.

Since the recession’s end, the economy has pumped out enormous wealth. Workers, though, have gotten a smaller slice of those rewards. Companies prioritized short-term gains and stockholder returns at the same time that employee bargaining power was eroding.

In less than two decades, the share of income paid out in wages and benefits in the private sector shrank by 5.4 percentage points, a McKinsey Global Institute study found last year, reducing compensation on average by $3,000 a year, adjusted for inflation.

The result is that a job — once the guarantor of income security — no longer reliably plays that role.

“For many working families, wage growth has not been strong enough to allow them to meet their basic needs on their own,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston concluded in a report last year.

Work is available — but it is often unsteady and poorly paid.

Roughly seven of 10 people enrolled in public health care in New England were employed, the bank study found. So were nearly half of those who qualified for temporary cash assistance from the government.

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Employers who pay low wages and don’t offer benefits have in effect been subsidized through programs providing publicly funded medical insurance, rent money and food stamps to their workers.

Now individual employees with few resources — rather than companies or partners — are compelled to absorb some of the routine risks and uncertainties of running a business. Scheduling software that constantly changes a worker’s daily shifts to match an unexpected slowdown or rush improves a business’s bottom line but can ruin a household’s by causing wages to fluctuate widely from one week to the next. Such shifting not only scrambles family life, but also makes it more difficult to schedule other paid work.

At large companies, employees have seen their spending on health care — because of higher deductibles, premiums and co-payments — increase twice as fast as their wages over the past decade, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker.

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Continue reading the main story

At the same time, the cost of other necessities like housing has shot up. Millions of renters spend more than half their incomes on housing. Middle-income households, too, have been hit by escalating housing costs. Since 2000, a steadily growing share of this group has spent more than a third of earnings on rent.

For years, households have strained to navigate this cut-to-the bone economy with varying success. The coronavirus shock has made the economic precariousness — usually seen in scattershot fashion — evident everywhere at once.

“A lot of the people in the economy are living at the edge, and you have an event like this that pushes them over,” Mr. Stiglitz said. “And we are unique in the advanced world in having people at the edge without a safety net below them.”

Powerful forces like advancing technology and globalization are partly to blame for workers’ economic instability. But Mr. Stiglitz also criticized the short-term mind-set prevalent in corporate America. Airlines — now being propped up with emergency government aid — used billions of dollars in profits to buy back their stock, he said, instead of investing in employees and productive capacity or building up reserves to withstand a downturn.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue reading the main story

In 2018 alone, companies in the S&P 500 — flush from windfalls resulting from steep cuts in corporate taxes — spent $806 billion repurchasing their own shares at boom-time prices in search of quick profits.

When the outbreak began to shutter the economy, many of these companies laid off millions of workers, ending their health insurance.

“Employer-based health insurance is a wrecking ball,” the Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton wrote this week in The New York Times. The couple, the authors of “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism,” argue that over time this system has “destroyed the labor market for less educated workers.”

The patched social service network that runs through individual states is now struggling to handle the millions of unemployment claims that have poured in as well as a flood of new applicants trying to tap existing programs. But assistance doesn’t necessarily arrive quickly. In Louisiana, for example, the backlog of applications for food stamps filed since businesses were closed in mid-March already exceeds 87,000.

In the meantime, nongovernmental organizations are trying to meet the demand. Fulfill, a food bank that operates in Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey, has served an additional 364,000 meals in the last three weeks, a 40 percent spike.

“We went from 0 to 60 in five seconds,” said Kim Guadagno, Fulfill’s chief executive and president. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was devastating, she said, but this is worse because “the need is widespread, with no end in sight.”

Last year, before the pandemic, Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, fed 40 million individuals, many of them children, said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, the chief executive. “It does underscore the fact that so many people in our country live on a precipice,” she said.

Housing also feels less secure. A recent survey by SurveyMonkey and Apartment List, an online rental marketplace based in San Francisco, showed that a quarter of renters paid only part or none of their rent this month.

“These numbers are extremely worrying,” said Igor Popov, the chief economist at Apartment List. “In a typical economic downturn, when incomes take a hit, many families can downsize or move in together to minimize their rent payments. At a time when we’re sheltering in place, even moves to downgrade housing are difficult.”

Those who have been squeezed the most can expect to be squeezed even more.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, Destination: Home, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that works to prevent homelessness, was on track to give $7 million in financial assistance to about 1,000 families. In March, the organization raised an additional $11 million for coronavirus relief, but was overwhelmed with demand — 4,500 requests in three days — and stopped accepting applications. The waiting list has close to 10,000 people and is growing each day.

“I thought there was nothing that I haven’t been involved in when it comes to homelessness, said Jennifer Loving, chief executive of Destination: Home, “but this is incomprehensibly catastrophic.”

In a report on the economic impact of the coronavirus, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond warns that the largest burdens will fall on people who are already the most vulnerable — people in low-paying, insecure jobs.

That is also a group with an outsize share of minorities and immigrants.

As a McKinsey report released this week noted, the “unfolding public-health and economic disaster” resulting from the pandemic “will disproportionately impact black Americans.”

It is another echo of Bourke-White’s “American Way” photo, where the contented family in the car is white and the grim faces waiting for aid are black and brown.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: pull stones on April 20, 2020, 05:50:42 AM
Straggling in a Good Economy, and Now Struggling in a Crisis
By Patricia Cohen, The New York Times


An indelible image from the Great Depression features a well-dressed family seated with their dog in a comfy car, smiling down from an oversize billboard on weary souls standing in line at a relief agency. “World’s highest standard of living,” the billboard boasts, followed by a tagline: “There’s no way like the American Way.”

The economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has suddenly hurled the country back to that dislocating moment captured in 1937 by the photographer Margaret Bourke-White. In the updated 2020 version, lines of cars stretch for miles to pick up groceries from a food pantry; jobless workers spend days trying to file for unemployment benefits; renters and homeowners plead with landlords and mortgage bankers for extensions; and outside hospitals, ill patients line up overnight to wait for virus testing.

In an economy that has been hailed for its record-shattering successes, the most basic necessities — food, shelter and medical care — are all suddenly at risk.

The latest crisis has played out in sobering economic data and bleak headlines — most recently on Thursday, when the Labor Department said 5.2 million workers filed last week for unemployment benefits.

That brought the four-week total to 22 million, roughly the net number of jobs created in a nine-and-a-half-year stretch that ended with the pandemic’s arrival.

Certainly, the outbreak and attempts to curb it have created new hardships. But perhaps more significantly, the crisis has revealed profound, longstanding vulnerabilities in the economic system.

That brought the four-week total to 22 million, roughly the net number of jobs created in a nine-and-a-half-year stretch that ended with the pandemic’s arrival.

Certainly, the outbreak and attempts to curb it have created new hardships. But perhaps more significantly, the crisis has revealed profound, longstanding vulnerabilities in the economic system.

On one were impressive achievements: the lowest jobless rate in half a century, a soaring stock market and the longest expansion on record.

On the other, a very different story of stinging economic weaknesses unfolded. Years of limp wage growth left workers struggling to afford essentials. Irregular work schedules caused weekly paychecks to surge and dip unpredictably. Job-based benefits were threadbare or nonexistent. In this economy, four of 10 adults don’t have the resources on hand to cover an unplanned $400 expense.

Even middle-class Americans, once snugly secure, have become increasingly anxious in recent decades about their own fragile finances and their children’s prospects.

Since the recession’s end, the economy has pumped out enormous wealth. Workers, though, have gotten a smaller slice of those rewards. Companies prioritized short-term gains and stockholder returns at the same time that employee bargaining power was eroding.

In less than two decades, the share of income paid out in wages and benefits in the private sector shrank by 5.4 percentage points, a McKinsey Global Institute study found last year, reducing compensation on average by $3,000 a year, adjusted for inflation.

The result is that a job — once the guarantor of income security — no longer reliably plays that role.

“For many working families, wage growth has not been strong enough to allow them to meet their basic needs on their own,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston concluded in a report last year.

Work is available — but it is often unsteady and poorly paid.

Roughly seven of 10 people enrolled in public health care in New England were employed, the bank study found. So were nearly half of those who qualified for temporary cash assistance from the government.

Employers who pay low wages and don’t offer benefits have in effect been subsidized through programs providing publicly funded medical insurance, rent money and food stamps to their workers.

Now individual employees with few resources — rather than companies or partners — are compelled to absorb some of the routine risks and uncertainties of running a business. Scheduling software that constantly changes a worker’s daily shifts to match an unexpected slowdown or rush improves a business’s bottom line but can ruin a household’s by causing wages to fluctuate widely from one week to the next. Such shifting not only scrambles family life, but also makes it more difficult to schedule other paid work.

At large companies, employees have seen their spending on health care — because of higher deductibles, premiums and co-payments — increase twice as fast as their wages over the past decade, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker.

At the same time, the cost of other necessities like housing has shot up. Millions of renters spend more than half their incomes on housing. Middle-income households, too, have been hit by escalating housing costs. Since 2000, a steadily growing share of this group has spent more than a third of earnings on rent.

For years, households have strained to navigate this cut-to-the bone economy with varying success. The coronavirus shock has made the economic precariousness — usually seen in scattershot fashion — evident everywhere at once.

“A lot of the people in the economy are living at the edge, and you have an event like this that pushes them over,” Mr. Stiglitz said. “And we are unique in the advanced world in having people at the edge without a safety net below them.”

Powerful forces like advancing technology and globalization are partly to blame for workers’ economic instability. But Mr. Stiglitz also criticized the short-term mind-set prevalent in corporate America. Airlines — now being propped up with emergency government aid — used billions of dollars in profits to buy back their stock, he said, instead of investing in employees and productive capacity or building up reserves to withstand a downturn.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown how close to the edge many Americans were living, with pay and benefits eroding even as corporate profits surged.

Contrasts between the American image of plenty and the needs of many citizens have become more glaring in times of crisis.

Contrasts between the American image of plenty and the
An indelible image from the Great Depression features a well-dressed family seated with their dog in a comfy car, smiling down from an oversize billboard on weary souls standing in line at a relief agency. “World’s highest standard of living,” the billboard boasts, followed by a tagline: “There’s no way like the American Way.”

The economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has suddenly hurled the country back to that dislocating moment captured in 1937 by the photographer Margaret Bourke-White. In the updated 2020 version, lines of cars stretch for miles to pick up groceries from a food pantry; jobless workers spend days trying to file for unemployment benefits; renters and homeowners plead with landlords and mortgage bankers for extensions; and outside hospitals, ill patients line up overnight to wait for virus testing.

In an economy that has been hailed for its record-shattering successes, the most basic necessities — food, shelter and medical care — are all suddenly at risk.

The latest crisis has played out in sobering economic data and bleak headlines — most recently on Thursday, when the Labor Department said 5.2 million workers filed last week for unemployment benefits.

That brought the four-week total to 22 million, roughly the net number of jobs created in a nine-and-a-half-year stretch that ended with the pandemic’s arrival.

Certainly, the outbreak and attempts to curb it have created new hardships. But perhaps more significantly, the crisis has revealed profound, longstanding vulnerabilities in the economic system.

“We built an economy with no shock absorbers,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel-winning economist. “We made a system that looked like it was maximizing profits but had higher risks and lower resiliency.”

Well before the coronavirus established a foothold, the American economy had been playing out on a split screen.

On one were impressive achievements: the lowest jobless rate in half a century, a soaring stock market and the longest expansion on record.

On the other, a very different story of stinging economic weaknesses unfolded. Years of limp wage growth left workers struggling to afford essentials. Irregular work schedules caused weekly paychecks to surge and dip unpredictably. Job-based benefits were threadbare or nonexistent. In this economy, four of 10 adults don’t have the resources on hand to cover an unplanned $400 expense.

Even middle-class Americans, once snugly secure, have become increasingly anxious in recent decades about their own fragile finances and their children’s prospects.

Since the recession’s end, the economy has pumped out enormous wealth. Workers, though, have gotten a smaller slice of those rewards. Companies prioritized short-term gains and stockholder returns at the same time that employee bargaining power was eroding.

In less than two decades, the share of income paid out in wages and benefits in the private sector shrank by 5.4 percentage points, a McKinsey Global Institute study found last year, reducing compensation on average by $3,000 a year, adjusted for inflation.

The result is that a job — once the guarantor of income security — no longer reliably plays that role.

“For many working families, wage growth has not been strong enough to allow them to meet their basic needs on their own,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston concluded in a report last year.

Work is available — but it is often unsteady and poorly paid.

Roughly seven of 10 people enrolled in public health care in New England were employed, the bank study found. So were nearly half of those who qualified for temporary cash assistance from the government.

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Employers who pay low wages and don’t offer benefits have in effect been subsidized through programs providing publicly funded medical insurance, rent money and food stamps to their workers.

Now individual employees with few resources — rather than companies or partners — are compelled to absorb some of the routine risks and uncertainties of running a business. Scheduling software that constantly changes a worker’s daily shifts to match an unexpected slowdown or rush improves a business’s bottom line but can ruin a household’s by causing wages to fluctuate widely from one week to the next. Such shifting not only scrambles family life, but also makes it more difficult to schedule other paid work.

At large companies, employees have seen their spending on health care — because of higher deductibles, premiums and co-payments — increase twice as fast as their wages over the past decade, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker.

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At the same time, the cost of other necessities like housing has shot up. Millions of renters spend more than half their incomes on housing. Middle-income households, too, have been hit by escalating housing costs. Since 2000, a steadily growing share of this group has spent more than a third of earnings on rent.

For years, households have strained to navigate this cut-to-the bone economy with varying success. The coronavirus shock has made the economic precariousness — usually seen in scattershot fashion — evident everywhere at once.

“A lot of the people in the economy are living at the edge, and you have an event like this that pushes them over,” Mr. Stiglitz said. “And we are unique in the advanced world in having people at the edge without a safety net below them.”

Powerful forces like advancing technology and globalization are partly to blame for workers’ economic instability. But Mr. Stiglitz also criticized the short-term mind-set prevalent in corporate America. Airlines — now being propped up with emergency government aid — used billions of dollars in profits to buy back their stock, he said, instead of investing in employees and productive capacity or building up reserves to withstand a downturn.

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In 2018 alone, companies in the S&P 500 — flush from windfalls resulting from steep cuts in corporate taxes — spent $806 billion repurchasing their own shares at boom-time prices in search of quick profits.

When the outbreak began to shutter the economy, many of these companies laid off millions of workers, ending their health insurance.

“Employer-based health insurance is a wrecking ball,” the Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton wrote this week in The New York Times. The couple, the authors of “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism,” argue that over time this system has “destroyed the labor market for less educated workers.”

The patched social service network that runs through individual states is now struggling to handle the millions of unemployment claims that have poured in as well as a flood of new applicants trying to tap existing programs. But assistance doesn’t necessarily arrive quickly. In Louisiana, for example, the backlog of applications for food stamps filed since businesses were closed in mid-March already exceeds 87,000.

In the meantime, nongovernmental organizations are trying to meet the demand. Fulfill, a food bank that operates in Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey, has served an additional 364,000 meals in the last three weeks, a 40 percent spike.

“We went from 0 to 60 in five seconds,” said Kim Guadagno, Fulfill’s chief executive and president. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was devastating, she said, but this is worse because “the need is widespread, with no end in sight.”

Last year, before the pandemic, Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, fed 40 million individuals, many of them children, said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, the chief executive. “It does underscore the fact that so many people in our country live on a precipice,” she said.

Housing also feels less secure. A recent survey by SurveyMonkey and Apartment List, an online rental marketplace based in San Francisco, showed that a quarter of renters paid only part or none of their rent this month.

“These numbers are extremely worrying,” said Igor Popov, the chief economist at Apartment List. “In a typical economic downturn, when incomes take a hit, many families can downsize or move in together to minimize their rent payments. At a time when we’re sheltering in place, even moves to downgrade housing are difficult.”

Those who have been squeezed the most can expect to be squeezed even more.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, Destination: Home, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that works to prevent homelessness, was on track to give $7 million in financial assistance to about 1,000 families. In March, the organization raised an additional $11 million for coronavirus relief, but was overwhelmed with demand — 4,500 requests in three days — and stopped accepting applications. The waiting list has close to 10,000 people and is growing each day.

“I thought there was nothing that I haven’t been involved in when it comes to homelessness, said Jennifer Loving, chief executive of Destination: Home, “but this is incomprehensibly catastrophic.”

In a report on the economic impact of the coronavirus, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond warns that the largest burdens will fall on people who are already the most vulnerable — people in low-paying, insecure jobs.

That is also a group with an outsize share of minorities and immigrants.

As a McKinsey report released this week noted, the “unfolding public-health and economic disaster” resulting from the pandemic “will disproportionately impact black Americans.”

It is another echo of Bourke-White’s “American Way” photo, where the contented family in the car is white and the grim faces waiting for aid are black and brown.
and cure, vaccine, treatment or pill to at least weaken and subdue the virus to render it less devastating? oh how I wish.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on April 23, 2020, 08:49:13 AM
Designer defends $75, $100 cloth masks after backlash
NARISSA FRASER (NEWSDAY).


A local designer is now facing backlash on social media because of the prices of her face masks.

Although the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) says there is no “scientific evidence” cloth masks can reduce the spread of covid19, the Health Ministry has been urging people to wear these washable and reusable masks while in public.

Designer and model Sarah Jane Waddell recently launched the Maskulture project. With each purchase, another mask goes to a person in need. But many have since taken issue with the cost.

The project’s website shows two categories of cotton-based masks: comfort masks, which cost $75 each, and signature masks costing $100. Delivery adds an extra $25 to the bill.

In an Instagram post on April 3,Waddell said, “Two weeks ago, I walked into Courts and picked up a sewing machine with no clue how to sew. I had decided quarantine would be the time to learn and that YouTube would be my teacher.

"As you can imagine, it’s been lots of mistakes and foibles, in fact, I almost broke the machine at one point.

"True story. The guy who fixed it actually called to ask me, ‘What on earth did you even do to this machine?'"

She added that while she is neither a scientist nor a global leader, she is trying to make a difference.

“Let us put TT on the path to freezing this horrific virus in its tracks by getting everyone in TT to start wearing masks.”

But on Tuesday, several Instagram, Facebook and Twitter users began to express their dissatisfaction with the prices, with many calling it exploitation.

One user said, “There is literally a pandemic, people are absolutely struggling and yet she’s managed to turn this into a fashion statement over health and safety. There are businesses with much less doing so much more and distributing masks for free out of compassion and concern for the public.”

Another said, “This is someone who has taken advantage of a global pandemic and fear from the public and turned it into a personal profit for herself.”

Prices for cloth masks across the country vary, but some are being sold for as low as $15. One small company using its own "designer" fabric charges $60. Generally the cost varies depending on the type of fabric used and the size of the mask.

All negative comments were removed from under Waddell'sInstagram posts.

But she responded to the outrage via Instagram stories on Wednesday. She admitted she tends to delete negative comments on her feed, but said the intention was to address the issue.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have deleted before doing so,” she posted.

She said she has nothing to hide but understands why some people may be upset.

“For some people, a price point of $75 or $100 was met with disapproval and I would like to explain that.

“This year, the mas industry in TT was fortunate to see their Carnival take place but we watched sadly as one by one, international carnivals experienced a wave of cancellations (as it should be) effectively wiping out income for the mas industry in 2020 and possibly beyond.”

She said her team is like family and that they rely on her to help them keep food on the table.

“This is called a project because it represents a team of people trying to provide for their families during this. Between that and the amount of time and care and different hands that goes (sic) into creating two quality masks, individually cut and sized, we just can’t compete with $15 for one.”

She said she wishes she could donate “a million masks to the world” but doesn’t have a factory or enough support.

“We are but a handful of people who can’t produce high numbers, so the focus remains on quality.

“I ask people to support the movement. Because how sustainable it is for my team if we make masks for free? Until we run out and that’s it? We need to be able to keep going.

“My price point isn’t so bad when you hold it up against three boxes of the disposable ones from the pharmacy for the next three months.”

She said she hopes her explanation brings clarity to those who were upset, adding that everyone has to help each other to get through this difficult time.

“I don’t like to breathe life into bacchanal but it’s important for the sake of this project and people on it for me to deal with these things head-on and keep that negative energy from spreading into our work.”

(https://newsday.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/8491742.jpg)
Sarah Jane Waddell pictured in the Matrix signature mask design. Photo via themaskulture.com -

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on April 24, 2020, 04:00:05 PM
Food prices increase at groceries
by Kyron Regis (Guardian).


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the global supply of goods and services, consumers are already facing increased prices at the groceries and are now being told to brace for more increases.

Confirming this was Supermarket Association of T&T (SATT) president Rajiv Diptee yesterday. “People will always assume that it’s the supermarkets raising the prices, but there have been a plethora of price increases from suppliers,” Diptee said.

He pointed out that the supermarkets can normally access discounts or specials on certain items from suppliers, but with COVID-19 causing major disruptions in international supply chains this has been eliminated.

Citizens have been complaining to Guardian Media about the increases in grocery bills and unsavoury price gouging during the COVID measures.

Some groceries yesterday confirmed that prices on some items will increase. While many of the items that will rise in cost remain uncertain, Guardian Media understands the price of peas and nuts will surely increase due to COVID’s impact on suppliers.

In a recent release by the SATT, Diptee said events took a quick turn as seaports across the world began closing due to the virus at the beginning of March. He said this, in addition to ‘stay-at-home’ orders, sparked waves of panic buying globally, which in turn significantly impacted foreign supplies.

The release said the closure of many global shipping ports had impacted on freight cost with a concomitant increase in prices.

“The equation of limited supply versus an increased demand for goods will figure significantly on the final price of the product, with the end result being increased prices passed over to consumers,” Diptee said.

Yesterday, Super Quality Supermarket owner Feroze Khan agreed the price increase coming from the local suppliers were based on international price increases.

Khan split peas and lentil peas had made significant jumps. He said yellow split peas normally goes for $200 to $250 a bag but has now doubled to approximately $450 per bag.

Grocery owner Kumar Maharaj, who said that peas prices had gone up to $500 a bag in his experience, also confirmed this.

Khan said the price increase came about because supplies that are usually purchased from Canada are now coming from merchants in Miami, which escalates the price.

Also confirming Diptee’s remarks was Shamshad Ali, owner of Price Club Supermarket, who said: “Any price increases, whether today, yesterday or tomorrow, are based on the incoming from the suppliers.”

Ali said the basis of the retail industry leads to grocers adjusting their prices according to the cost of the goods received from their suppliers. He said when his grocery receives its product from the suppliers, based on the price and item, the markup cost ranges between 3 and 20 per cent.

When a supplier raises prices, Ali said, it is based on “the understanding that the suppliers internationally have raised their prices.”

“We cannot confirm or we can’t deny, but at the end of the day whatever price we get we have to add our markup and that’s the price,” Ali said.

Khan also said he is experiencing some shortages as well. He said his grocery would normally purchase 25 bags of split peas and lentil peas a week but this week, the supplier only gave him five bags of split peas and lentils each.

“Food security is perhaps the far more challenging issue that we need to focus on because there are logistical challenges throughout the world,” Khan said.

“If you operate in an environment that is market-driven, we sometimes think we shouldn’t have market prices when it isn’t going in our favour,” said Khan.

He said market forces drove oil prices to below zero and it will also bring the price back up.

Noting that major pork producer Smithfield Foods had closed its processing plant in the United States and sent home approximately 700 workers due to COVID-19, he said he expected shortages and price increases for pork within the next month.

Additionally, Khan noted that many farmers have had to dump their produce because the sectors and industries they would normally supply to—like ships, restaurants and the aviation caterers—were now closed.

He said the uncertainty with regard to when businesses will be reopened is weighing upon farmers’ decisions to plant - which can also cause a shortage if they are not prepared to meet the demand when the economy restarts.

With respect to food security, Khan said on average the food chains would have about three months of food cover.

Diptee confirmed this and also said a lack of access to foreign exchange impedes the logistics of food importers.

“The Prime Minister, when this whole thing happened, said that there was going to be a facility with EXIM (Export-Import Bank) to release US dollars to importers of food. What has happened is that we have not seen that foreign exchange being released to importers as yet,” Diptee said.

When Guardian Media contacted the EXIM bank on this issue, it said it is aware of the issue and has been working with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Industry and the private sector to proactively address potential supply chain disruptions.

The bank’s CEO Navin Dookeran said: “In fact, over the last few weeks, we have already commenced priority forex allocations for essential items and the inputs into local manufacturing of the key essential supplies.”

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Sam on April 24, 2020, 04:18:32 PM
How could 2/3 months of this stinking coronavirus cripple the world?

Which means people was living above they means.

They was not saving for a raining day.

They was wasteful and take things for granted.

Wall Street will crumble and de rich man will fall, money cah save them, all of us in de same boat soon. This world need a do over and de right way, but people have no unity and they greedy, so that will never happen.

Some companies make millions and billions and they can't hold down their employees for 3 months, they crying for government help.

Only certain people getting government help in a hurry, de ones who eh know nobody have a long as line to wait just for groceries if they lucky.

De earth and de animals smiling now, they take back what belongs to them, you eh see how in Italy de dolphins swimming happy now in Venice, how India sky looking clear and nice now, no pollution, now New York streets clean and now de animals could start breeding and living like they should.

They need to ban wildlife hunting in EVERY country for de next 10 years.

Chinese should not be allowed to visit foreign countries, if they here already, cool, but leave them in China, they do destructive and all de viruses starts in China, if they didn't have noses they woulda eat shit.

IT GOOD FOR WE and we will never learn, soon as they open back de countries man go be running out they like headless chickens, watch and see when de second rounds come back, is more go dead.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on April 24, 2020, 04:27:32 PM
How discrimination towards Africans and China’s surveillance state will reset a migration trend
Roberto Castillo
Quartz


Over the last fortnight, an ongoing number of incidents have emerged through social media where black people have been mistreated, persecuted and evicted from their houses and hotel rooms (without prior notice which has effectively left many of them homeless). They’ve also been denied entrance into commercial venues (such as restaurants) in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.

These incidents were triggered by Guangzhou’s local government decision to implement a strict surveillance and testing program and impose a 14-day quarantine on all African nationals, regardless of travel history or testing results, in an attempt to prevent a potential outbreak in this foreign community.

The deluge of evidence shared through social media prompted a strong response in Africa, where many governments summoned Chinese ambassadors to answer for the incidents. A great deal of the indignation on the African side was compounded by the fact that many in the continent saw Africa’s role in the early days of the pandemic as strongly supportive of China.

So, the images of Africans sleeping under bridges, families with children being evicted from their legally rented places of abode, as well as entrance and service denial to black people, were seen by many as Chinese racism and as a Chinese betrayal of African solidarity in these difficult times. Africa’s strong diplomatic response forced China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the issue. Unsurprisingly, China’s response was to deflect and spin the narrative as yet another situation distorted by Western media and fake news, and to point out that China does not discriminate against any foreigners.

A crucial element in the attempt to spin the narrative has been to amplify a couple of Covid-19 related incidents: the first around a Nigerian patient who after testing positive for the virus attempted to escape confinement and violently attacked medical personnel. The second incident relates to a group of Nigerians who, while infected, were roaming around the city and patronizing restaurants and shopping centers. China’s state media apparatus presented what is happening in Guangzhou as a response to these incidents.

Fear of foreigners

In 2014, in the context of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and to allay fears of a potential spread in China, Guangzhou’s government reported that some 16,000 Africans were legally residing in the city. Last week, in the midst of the controversy, local authorities reported that the whole African population, consisting of some 4,500 individuals, had been tested. A sharp decline in the population in only six years.

However, these figures describe the legal residents, not the overstayers. It is well known that visa overstayers account for a significant portion of the African population in the city. A great deal of the intense commercial activity that takes place between Guangzhou and places like Addis Ababa, Mombasa or Lagos is organized by them.

As in many other parts of the world, one of the paths that these illegal residents take is that of hiding (or “losing”) their passports. By doing so, they “voluntarily” become undocumented, and effectively set themselves down a highly precarious path where the main aim is to be untraceable if caught overstaying. Being untraceable, however, does not bode well in a pandemics scenario where asymptomatic individuals shed the virus, and where one of the main strategies is to “test and trace” in order to mitigate. Accordingly, Guangzhou’s longstanding overstayer population is cast in a new light in the wake of Covid-19. Local authorities fear an outbreak among the city’s foreign communities especially amongst a group of foreigners without clear, stable and documented identities. But the local authorities also fear a central government crackdown/purge if Guangzhou’s foreign community becomes a virus hotbed. The impossibility of fully managing and/or controlling the overstayer population exacerbates these pandemic-related fears and anxieties.

Covid-19 is proving to be a landmark in terms of the relation between technology, mass surveillance and mobility control in the country. It is not unthinkable that special mobility and access measures could remain in place even after Covid-19 ceases to be a threat. In a post-pandemics China, undocumented individuals will have a hard time trying to circumvent these new technological hurdles.

For example, without a legal abode, it is impossible to apply for Alipay Health Code, a system that assigns a color code to users indicating their health status, and determining their access to public spaces such as malls, subways and airports. In this context, African overstayers and the thriving commercial sectors in which they insert themselves may be among the first ‘victims’ of the new normal in China. This may well be the last nail in the coffin of an already declining African population in Guangzhou.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: asylumseeker on April 24, 2020, 06:29:11 PM
There are multiple ways of approaching an analysis of what the article describes and the easiest, and arguably one of the most obvious and possibly most simplistic of them, is to look at the contradiction in the treatment of Africans in China compared to the plundering of Africa and its resources by the Chinese state and quasi-private enterprises assisted by local collaborators.

The story is the same all across sub-Saharan Africa from the denuding of forests in Gambia to exacerbating the extinction of species in Central Africa to mineral extraction in Namibia to labor exploitation in Angola and Mozambique to fill in any economic activity that can be conducted on the basis of unfavorable long-term loan terms or informally compromising local institutions, people and infrastructure.

Of course, there have been benefits but what is the point of benefits without fundamental respect? At the same time, there are unsavoury characters without scruples in this mix who add nothing positive to the image of Africans abroad. Yet, students have passed in this rush. Africans married to Chinese citizens have passed in this rush.  Africans married to Western women have passed in this rush. The very nature of China is that nothing can happen for long without the complicity of the state and all the subsequent niceties that the Chinese government has engaged in, and will engage in, will be window dressing to assure its commercial interests.

The treatment of Africans on the ground is a temporary distraction. It's much less important that questions of internal stability (Xinjiang) or negating non-Han populations. The reality is that the Chinese state has always possessed the capacity to uproot and kick out illegal residents; it has not suited its interests to do so, particularly in an area like Guangzhou where commercial activity reigns.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Deeks on April 24, 2020, 11:36:21 PM
How could 2/3 months of this stinking coronavirus cripple the world?

Which means people was living above they means.

They was not saving for a raining day.

They was wasteful and take things for granted.


Sam, I agree with you here. But Sam, most of them living from paycheck to paycheck. Cost of living for people living close to the poverty level one of the biggest reason that they can't save.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on April 29, 2020, 08:35:25 AM
Nurses want $1M COVID death payout
By Chester Sambrano (Guardian).


The T&T Registered Nurses’ Association (TTRNA) is asking the Government to consider a $1 million payout in the event any nurse loses their life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The request comes in the wake of the death of head nurse Merlene Placide at the Caura Hospital last week. While Placide’s death was not COVID-related, the anxiety of the fraternity has once again been heightened after what nurses claimed was the poor response to the North Central Regional Health Authority following her death.

Placide volunteered her services for COVID duty and reportedly set up the virus unit at Caura. However, following her death, the NCRHA only sent a fruit basket and a wreath to her family, as per policy with RHA’s. This prompted calls for hazard pay, death benefits and health insurance nurses now on the COVID frontline.

In a 10-page letter Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh on Monday (April 27), the TTRNA, which is headed by Idi Stuart, proposed that a $1 million disbursement be paid to the beneficiaries of nurses “in the unfortunate circumstance that he or she dies while on duty or in route to or from duty as a direct result of work.” It said the cost to the Government is to be determined.

The TTRNA also asked for tiered Hazard allowance for nurses and midwives working in hazardous situations. It said this will cost Government $9,182, 520 per year.

The third request is a proposal for a contributory and mandatory Health Insurance Benefit at $500,000 over a three-year period to be administered through the TTRNA’s existing policy with TATIL. The expected cost per year to the Government, as worked out by the TTRNA, is $12,600.

At the COVID-19 news conference yesterday, Deyalsingh said Regional Health Authorities were gearing up to approach the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) to discuss medical coverage for the healthcare providers. He said he discussed the matter with the CEOs of all the RHAs yesterday and was told that all RHAs “have some sort of insurance for healthcare workers; healthcare workers in general, not a particular group.”

However, notwithstanding this, he said the RHAs will be seeking to do more for the frontline workers.

“I am told they are looking to go to the Chief Personnel Officer to see what other additional coverage can be offered but this has to be done using the process available with the Chief Personnel Officer,” Deyalsingh said.

In response to this, Stuart said his association was pleased with the announcement.

“However, we continue to be confused with the repeated statements made by officials that nurses already receive some measure of health insurance. For the record, nurses do not receive any form of health insurance or any other benefit from the RHAs,” he said.

Stuart said the TTRNA is mindful Deyalsingh also said the Cabinet has already approved significant sums to the COVID response to be used by the RHAs but said he does not envision any problems in accessing more if needed.

“Therefore, the association and its members, while thankful, are a bit disappointed that the Government did not see it fit to be proactive and provide these benefits for staff who are directly working with suspected and positive patients, and it took the death of a nurse and the agitation of TTRNA to jolt the ministry into action,” he said.

Yesterday, Deyalsingh reminded the country that Cabinet approved $157 million to deal with COVID-19 and that his ministry has got everything it asked for.

“So I see no financial challenges moving forward dealing with COVID,” he said.

At the briefing, Deyalsingh also said the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) is now operational and four health care workers are currently being housed there, while 12 more are expected next week. He said the facility will be used to quarantine medical professionals after they deal with COVID patients.

On Monday, police officers received word that they will now be covered by COVID-19 insurance with an agreement between the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and the Guardian Group.

Those covered under the specialised Guardian Life plan will be entitled to $10,000 if they contract the virus. Should they die as a result of COVID-19, their dependants will receive an additional $25,000. The coverage period is 12 months but will be subject to review depending on how the COVID-19 issue develops.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on April 29, 2020, 08:37:21 AM
Hamper hoarders - NGOs meet dishonest citizens seeking COVID relief
by Radhica De SIlva (Guardian).


Even as the country enters an even greater period of economic instability, some people are pretending to be poor to get hampers so they can hoard them for later use.

The revelation was made yesterday by director of the ASH-NAD foundation Ashmead Ali, who has been distributing thousands of hampers to the poor.  In an interview with Guardian Media, Ali said his organisation has been appealing to the public to submit names, addresses, phone numbers and a synopsis of their plight. However, he said they have been realising that many people were giving wrong information deliberately so they could qualify for hampers to get more than one.

“We became aware of this when someone called saying she was a single mother with three children then two days later she said she was a single mother with two children. Investigations revealed she was not being honest. Then someone accidentally sent a voice recording saying they must say they were very poor with several children and make it look as if their circumstances were very desperate,” Ali said. He said because of this they have stopped giving hampers to callers without doing proper investigations.

“Now we interview people more. It seems the ones who are genuinely poor do not have the internet or smartphones. We get their numbers from the religious leaders in the communities and from the councillors,” he said. Ali said they were also no longer giving the hampers to MPs and councillors but were dropping them off themselves. He said they were scrutinising every request and as they distribute hampers they are now also compiling a list of families who need assistance in renovating their homes.

La Romaine Migrant Support group (LARMS) co-ordinator Angie Ramnarine meanwhile it was no secret that there are often people who try to hoodwink charitable organisations.

“For every hamper we distribute there is always someone else whom we are told is deserving of help. We do not give hampers without first investigating,” Ramnarine said.

She noted that personal checks are always done and only if the person is genuinely in need hampers are distributed. LARMS has distributed hampers to over 700 people since the COVID-19 restrictions began and for each case, Ramnarine said she made personal checks on each applicant.

The head of another charitable organisation who requested anonymity said the people who are untruthful about their circumstances are in the minority.

“We should not allow this to be a situation where a few unscrupulous people make it bad for the majority who are in genuine need. This is a non-issue,” the official said.

Another official who manages a food bank in South Trinidad but did not want to be named said he was alarmed by some of the people who claimed to be in need.

“On one occasion, we went to drop a hamper and a woman came out, opened an electronic gate and took the hamper. She lived in a mansion. We realised that people were engaging in hamper-hopping,” the official said.

Since then, he said checks are done on each applicant before hampers are distributed.
 Kindness Makes a Difference member Kavita Ragbir meanwhile said all of the families they have distributed hampers to are genuinely in need.
“There isn’t anybody that we don’t know and has not checked out. You must go out in the field and you realise that they don’t always need food, they need toiletries and clothes and home renovation and that’s how we target our stuff,” Ragbir said, noting they had distributed 600 hampers since March 23 and were confident each family was well deserving.
The issue has also been dealt with on social media.

“Some people have even called for hampers to be streamlined,” Adrian Rampersad wrote on Facebook.

“There is a very piecemeal approach to “helping” those in need. Everyone is operating in silos and possibly giving help to the same person multiple times It would be nice if there was some structure on how to identify those in need and then get the help to them equitably in a transparent fashion.”

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on April 29, 2020, 09:08:49 AM
How foreigners, especially black people, became unwelcome in parts of China amid COVID crisis
ALICE CHAMBERS and GUY DAVIES
Good Morning America


For Andrew, a black American living in China and teaching English for the past two years, life had been pretty good.

“As a black foreigner, because China was closed for so long, there is a novelty about seeing foreigners,” he said. “It’s part of life that you just get used to here, and it’s never been malicious.”

But about two weeks ago, that all changed, he said.

As COVID-19 cases originating in China appeared to decrease, and cases that the government said were brought into the country from abroad increased, being foreign in China, and especially being black, meant feeling unwelcome in certain places.

“In the past couple of weeks, things have changed drastically,” Andrew, who has been teaching in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, told ABC News. He asked that ABC use only his first name, as he and his employer are wary of the risk of retaliation from Chinese authorities.

American authorities appear to be well-aware of the issue. In an April 13 health alert, the U.S. Consulate General warned about discrimination against African Americans in Guangzhou. "As part of this campaign, police ordered bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin. Moreover, local officials launched a round of mandatory tests for COVID-19, followed by mandatory self-quarantine, for anyone with 'African contacts,' regardless of recent travel history or previous quarantine completion. African-Americans have also reported that some businesses and hotels refuse to do business with them," the bulletin read.

The consulate general said it "advises African-Americans or those who believe Chinese officials may suspect them of having contact with nationals of African countries to avoid the Guangzhou metropolitan area until further notice."

"At a moment when the international community urgently needs to work together to fight the pandemic, the US side is making unwarranted allegations in an attempt to sow discords and stoke troubles," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on April 13. "This is neither moral nor responsible. We suggest that the US had better focus on domestic efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Attempts to use the pandemic to drive a wedge between China and Africa are bound to fail."

Lijian also said that "new measures" were adopted in Guangzhou to address "the concerns of some African citizens."

ABC News reached out and placed an official request to comment with the information department of the Foreign Ministry as well as the one in Guangzhou but has not heard back at time of publication.

By mid-March, Chinese propaganda had shifted, from praising the country’s quick action dealing with the virus, to worrying about its reintroduction from abroad. It was around this time that Keenan Chen, a researcher and reporter with First Draft, an organization that tracks misinformation online, told ABC News he began to see unconfirmed speculation that community transmission in China was not as serious as cases coming in from the outside.

MORE: Backlash against Asians could hinder efforts to contain coronavirus, expert says

“China is very concerned about a second wave coming from abroad,” Evanna Hu, a partner and an expert on China at Omelas, a Washington-based firm that tracks online extremism and information manipulation, told ABC News.

​Despite many of the new imported cases in China coming from Chinese students returning from studying overseas, state and social media more often than not simply say the new cases are brought into the country coupled with images of the coronavirus ravaging the United States and Europe, leaving the impression that foreigners were the ones infected.

A reported attack and a swift crackdown

Guangzhou has one of the largest African populations in China (400,000-500,000 by some estimates) and reports in early April showed discrimination against those residents, some of whom were left homeless or subject to arbitrary COVID-19 testing after authorities said that five Nigerians had tested positive for the virus. Significantly, the People’s Government of Guangzhou Province announced that a Nigerian man at a COVID ward had attacked and wounded a female nurse while allegedly attempting to flee, Chen told ABC. This news circulated widely on social media, he said, but it was not clear if the original report was true.

Andrew said a taxi driver drive off when he saw him, and has also had issues with the authorities when riding on the metro.

For no apparent reason, Andrew said he was asked by local police to produce his passport as he was trying to get the metro. When he asked why, he was told there was a new rule in place, and was given no explanation. Eventually he ceded to their demands: “I realized I was standing there, frustrating a group of people who did not create this rule,” he said. Now he mostly stays at home.

“The narrative that I have seen about foreigners is that foreigners are spreading the virus because they’re irresponsible,” Andrew told ABC News. “So if you have a population doing their very best to take care of themselves and they’re told that some are not, that explains why it happens so quickly.”

Matt Slack, a white man from New Jersey who has run a chain of pizza restaurants in Guangzhou for the past four years, said the change in the disposition towards foreigners "was like a light switch.”

“I’m privileged to say that that I've gone 36 years of my life without experiencing racism,” he told ABC News. Now, he’s been refused entrance to restaurants, other people won't get in the elevator with him. “People won't sit beside you in the subway,” he said.

Chen said that the Chinese people know the information they get online is unreliable. In the past 10 years the censorship machine has become so sophisticated that it’s hard to access the internet seen by the outside world.

“There’s absolutely tons of racism and xenophobia online,” he said. “[But] racist content and xenophobic content is rarely censored online, unlike comments against the government.”

Anti-black racism

Slack said he recalls how, on April 6, his businesses were visited by the local city management. He said he was never given an official note, but his store managers reported to him that they were given a blue sign that they were instructed to show to customers. It was written in English and said that their pizza restaurants were only offering take-away. The message was meant for foreigners, Slack said his manager reported to him, “especially [for] black people.”

Slack also said he was not allowed to eat in a restaurant in a different neighborhood one day recently, even though he saw Chinese people eating there. Andrew said his foreign friends don't want to dine out because of concerns they'd be denied.

Both expats painted a picture of a shifting information landscape in which it’s difficult to determine where directives are coming from. Andrew said his fear is that “they could show up at your door and tell you you’re under quarantine.” "And we don’t know who ‘they’ is. It’s inconsistent,” he added.

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China in December, controlling the epidemic block by block has fallen on the most grass-roots level of the Chinese civil-service: the neighborhood committee. Under immense pressure to deliver results to their supervisors, some overeager neighborhood controllers have resorted to sometimes sweepingly extreme measures like welding families inside their home in Jiangsu Province back in early February. Provincial officials later found out and forbade the practice. What is happening in certain areas of Guangzhou may be part of the same phenomenon of overzealous low-level leaders taking matters into their own hands.

“The signs that I’ve seen are not on letterheads,” said Hu. “Which the reason why I think it might be very low level CCP officials, but it probably wasn’t sanctioned from the top.”

International backlash

Last week, the authorities in Guanghzou published a multi-lingual statement, addressed to everyone in the province, to say that the government has “zero tolerance over discriminatory language or acts."

But reports of racism have drawn international condemnation from senior politicians in both Africa and the United States.

Some of this appears to have stemmed from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) putting forth “many contradictory stories” about the origins of coronavirus, including alleging that the U.S. Army and Italy were the true sources, and not Wuhan, where the outbreak is believed to have begun, according to Dr. Matthew Kroenig, associate professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University,

“There is longstanding and well-documented racism, especially against black people, in China,” he said. “The state has seized on this sentiment in recent days to find a scapegoat.”

Some of the apparent increase in racism will likely have a political rationale, he said.

“Most CCP actions are driven by its two foremost goals of domestic stability and increased international leadership,” Kroenig continued. "Similarly, China's disinformation campaign is driven by a desire to deflect blame, so the regime can appear competent both at home and abroad.”

However, this has become an economic and foreign policy problem for China, as the country’s economic interests in Africa means they have been keen to play down accusations of racism, according to Hu. “The Chinese propaganda machine has gone into overdrive since April 12th to dispel rumors of Africans being targeted,” she said. “The Chinese Communist Party is trying their hardest right now to dispel those rumors, which I’ve never seen before as part of their foreign policy.”

Hope for the future

Slack has refused to follow the local authority’s direction not to allow foreigners into his restaurants and doesn’t know if his business will survive.

His restaurants normally employ about 45 people, around 20 of whom are currently working given the COVID-19 restrictions still in place.

Slack says there are a hundred ways to shut a business down in China, but that he can’t keep quiet right now. “We just won't operate anywhere in which our business is encouraged to discriminate even if we get shut down for it,” he wrote in a public LinkedIn post.

In an email sent on April 24 and reviewed by ABC News, the U.S. embassy in Beijing assured American citizens stated that: “In response to reports of discrimination against foreign citizens the Chinese government has reiterated that all public health measures, including mandatory testing and quarantine policies, apply equally to both Chinese citizens and foreigners.” The embassy has urged US citizens to report cases of discrimination to the police and, after reporting, asked them to inform the nearest American Citizens Services Unit of the incident.

Andrew, however, is more hopeful for his future. He has the support of his employer and a wide circle of friends and acquaintances both foreign and Chinese. He says he has been touched by shows of solidarity – local Chinese volunteers have stepped up to support Africans evicted from their homes. On the other hand, he wouldn’t recommend foreigners to move to China right now.

“I don’t think that this is a permanent thing,” he said. “I don’t think it reflects on the people of China. I think it reflects on the fear that people are living in, and the desire that anyone has to explain away this situation that is fraught for literally everyone.”

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: ABTrini on May 09, 2020, 10:19:55 AM
Throughout this global pandemic, it has been  like watching a surreal movie enacted out in real time as governaments and countries battle to deploy resources to protect citizens and safeguard their  nation's. Living abroad I have been following first hand what is transiting on the daily scen in Canada and specifically Alberta. I have been recently beeninvo.ved with the health sectors in putting measures in place during a recent outbreak.

I have also been following all the daily updates from the onset and observing the measures deployed by the at& T government . Let me say in watching the updates from home . It is like watching  a remake of the movie here . As a matter of fact there were measures taken in T&T that is not evident here -
 For a country of T& T size I applause the efforts made to maintain personal safety, flattened the curve and support citizens with the resources available.

No country has the perfect anawer no one has the perfect solution  but at time like this we are all writing the manual. National bank reserves are being emptied in Canada as in Trinidad to support citizens and safeguard against a national disaster.

It appals me that during this time of uncertainty that there are elements in T& T  who continue to be divisive disruptive and self seeking in working to distract the efforts that are being made -" You Ent  see" how these jackasses braying up and down about issues that at this time could only seek to distract from the efforts which are being made to safeguard our citizens. There was a British study which identified T&T as the second in the world for its measures taken to combat this pandemic.   Yet    You ent see these donkeys braying to support.
This Corvid pandemic has reeked havoc in our lives but you ent see how the pandemic of stupidity divisiveness disruption  continue to rage, I eh sure we have enough vaccination to ever get rid of the " yellow plague" which continues to cast a dark shadow over this land.

We need a reassure tionof the right honourable Dr Eric Williams the pinnacle and father of nationhood whose inception of a multi ethnic party pa ed the way for what ought to have been our template for national unity moving forward. I am not here to advocate for o e political ideology at this time but to applaud the efforts made by the current government in the continuing battles of all pandemics and adversaries in this beloved land.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Sando prince on May 22, 2020, 05:30:15 PM

Anyone want to discuss Kamla's Covid success due to climate comment?  :D
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: ABTrini on May 23, 2020, 09:40:45 AM
Simplistic mind yields simplistic  thoughts
You ent see  if it have two shots ah rumchase with Vodka and take two puffs from the plat under the window
Ride out in a yellow submarine and  eat ah doubles -  all  natural healing 😊😊😊😊
 
That is the level of intelligence- you ent see that is how  dey does play
 -  you ent see how dey char give an ounce of iota credit for anything good?
See when you invoke the devil you reek of  fire and brimstone - take yuh yellow flames and ignite the bamboo poles and celebrate the sunshine
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Sando prince on May 24, 2020, 05:30:37 AM
.
Trinidad & Tobago Stands Proud With Zero Active Covid-19 Cases :applause:

https://socamusictv.blogspot.com/2020/05/trinidad-tobago-stands-proud-with-zero.html
.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Sando prince on July 24, 2020, 10:27:03 AM

Well the Opposition Leader Kamla believes all we need is SUNLIGHT to cure covid 😊

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=764139987722329

.
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 06, 2020, 02:01:12 PM
American tourists face bans and restrictions across the world amid shoddy pandemic response
By Stephanie Asymkos
Yahoo Money


The reputation and prestige once associated with a passport from the United States have suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

For Americans right now, traveling is harder than ever before — they aren’t welcome in the majority of the world’s countries because of the U.S. response to the outbreak. As a result, the U.S. passport ranking has fallen 50% in the last year, down from the no. 3 spot to the no. 19 spot in the Passport Index.

“The American passport was always in the top five passports over the last five years,” Armand Arton, founder of Passport Index, told Yahoo Money. Pre-pandemic, an American passport holder could access 70% of the world’s countries without a visa.

Using information from foreign ministries and the United Nations, the Passport Index ranks the 199 United Nations-recognized countries according to a given country’s mobility or how freely its citizens can access visitation to other countries.

‘The rest of the world doesn’t want U.S. citizens coming to their countries’

The Passport Index currently ranks the U.S. passport at 19, flanked between Moldova and Malaysia.

For comparison, the U.S.’s passport strength sits between its North American neighbors — Canada, 3, and Mexico, 27. Sharing the coveted top spot are countries Belgium, France, Germany, Finland, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Arton said the “only reason” for America’s sudden fall from grace was the coronavirus.

“It is not foreign policy,” he said. “It is not the visa restrictions. It is really the temporary limitation of travel of U.S. citizens, based on the fact that the rest of the world doesn’t want U.S. citizens coming to their countries.”

Leading in both cases and deaths, the U.S. is the global epicenter of the virus and accounts for approximately 26% of cases worldwide, despite making up just 4% of the world’s population.

Despite those sobering stats, Arton explained that people are “eager to travel” because even though commercial air is an option, “[people] really want to know where they could or when they can [go].”

The current domestic travel landscape is vastly different as state governors have hampered interstate travel with mandates of varying degrees, from 14-day self-quarantine to proof of negative COVID-19 test upon arrival as a means of containment.

The orders are meant to restrict the free flow of visitors from certain states with active outbreaks in order to avoid reinfecting the population of a state with a declining transmission rate.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 15, 2020, 10:14:25 AM
Covid19 cases increase by 48 to 474
JANELLE DE SOUZA (NEWSDAY).


There are 48 new covid19 positive cases of covid19 in T&T, bringing the total number to 474. There are 325 active cases.

There are 129 patients in hospital, and 91 in step-down facilities. There have been ten deaths.

The number of people discharged remains at 139.

The Health Ministry’s covid19 update on Saturday morning said 29 cases were pending epidemiological investigation, 18 were contacts of recently positive covid19 patients, and one person tested positive at a private lab.

The update reiterated that number did not reflect new cases for the past 24 hours. Rather, they were results from samples taken from August 5-13.

The number of samples submitted to the Caribbean Public Health.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: ABTrini on August 15, 2020, 01:11:38 PM
TnT back in restrictions  of sorts
Ent u ent see said sunshine is the answer?  Ent they wanted the borders open?
Ent they questioned all that was been done well there you go
Now we back in a closure woth restrictions
Ent they wanted an-election despite the pandemic
Well they win they get all that they wanted- we back with a SPIKE in cases
They weren't happy with how things were controlled and managed now we back in crisis mode?
Anyone think of we had a new government that they could step in and start dealing with this?

this pandemic is like a "Mass of Yellow fever"
Ent eh going down easy
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: soccerman on August 15, 2020, 07:33:39 PM
Like Rowley need to get ahold of de blueprint for de dome
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 16, 2020, 08:41:46 AM
Closed again! PM announces significant restrictions amid COVID rise
By Sampson Nanton (Guardian).


Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has announced new restrictions that will last for at least 28 days as the country continues to face the rise in coronavirus cases.

It comes on a day in which the Ministry of Health announced 48 new cases from batch testing, taking the number of positive cases in T&T since the start of the virus, to 474. Ten people have died.

Beginning Monday morning, all in-house dining in restaurants and bars will cease, including at food courts and malls. This will include the precincts of those establishments.

Take-away services, however, will be allowed to continue.

Beaches and rivers will close.

All places of worship will also close.

All gyms will close.

All contact sports will cease.

Waterparks will close.

Casinos and members clubs will remain closed.

Cinemas will be closed.

Authorised gatherings of people outside of homes will not be more than 5 people.

Weddings, funerals, christenings and so on will be allowed with no more than 10 people.

Maxis and taxis will operate at 50 per cent capacity.

Air and sea-bridge transportation to and from Tobago will be restricted to essential people.

All teaching institutions will remain closed until this phase is over. The prime minister said it appears at this stage the Government will likely have to shut down schools for the rest of the year.

SEA examinations will continue on August 20 but students must not congregate.

Barbershops and hairdressing salons will be allowed to stay open once COVID guidelines are complied with. He said this is an area in which compliance has been very good.

Dr Rowley said the government is consulting with the Attorney General at the moment and will indicate in 48 hours what action is necessary for mandatory use of facemasks.

He said it’s likely that action will be taken against people who insist on not wearing masks in public and the government will cease to rely on suasion and make it an offence.

The prime minister said if these actions are not taken then the numbers we are reporting now will be small to what can occur in a fortnight.

“We are now in a position where we have to act so as not to get sucked into an action that is far worst,” he said.

He called on all to work together to fight the virus, saying that any further lock-down of the economy will have a major impact on the economy, affecting all.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said that the country has moved from Local Spread to Community Spread.

Technical Director, Epidemiology Division at the Ministry of Health, Dr Avery Hinds added that people are now being affected by people who they do not know.

He reinforced the need for people to stay home from work when ill. He said there are no specific places where cases are turning up more than others.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 16, 2020, 08:49:28 AM
Prisoners join fight against covid19: making 3,800 masks
RYAN HAMILTON-DAVIS (NEWSDAY).


INMATES AT PRISONS across the country took matters into their own hands in the fight against covid19 through their tailoring department, which is making 3,800 masks – one for each inmate.

On Thursday at the Women’s Prison in Golden Grove, Newsday got a first-hand look at the inmates in action as they produced the masks. Acting Commissioner of Prisons Dennis Pulchan told Newsday inmates volunteered to help make the masks and despite a small delay, they made, on average, 500 a day. Up to press time on Saturday, the prisoners had completed 2,500 masks.

“We have the tailoring department at the Maximum Security Prison, where there are 25 machines working. We have at the women’s prison, where there are about 20 machines working. And we also have at the Port of Spain prison, and in Carrera Island,” Pulchan said.The inmates made masks out of – cotton and polyester. The cotton masks have a pleated design, and are sewn with a space to accommodate filters. The polyester masks are sleek and breathable with a thin lining.

The prisoners work on average eight hours a day. Some days they tried to work for ten but prison officers concerned about their health would not allow them to overwork themselves. They get their materials from various charities.

Such was the pace of the workers in the tailoring department that between Tuesday and Wednesday they had run out of materials and had to be re-supplied. Although he was careful not to name them, Pulchan still thanked the people responsible for supplying the cloth needed, for their contributions.

He said this is not the first time the tailoring department has supplied the prison with equipment.

“It is quite a lot of stuff that is made in the tailoring shop here. They make uniforms, suits, pants, vests, tablecloths and wide variety of other clothing items. They even make cushions.”

As one of the means to rehabilitate prisoners, the department gives inmates an occupation while behind bars and a marketable skill for when they leave.

Pulchan said at Christmas officers bring in cloth and for a small fee the prisoners make curtains and bedsheets for the officers.

“They would use the funds to refurbish the machines and keep the shop running,” Pulchan said.

Pulchan said prison officers would usually buy their own masks, but donations from various organisations also supply the officers with masks.

Masks are not the only means the Prison Service is using to protect prisoners and prison officers from covid19. Newsday was told extensive screening, daily sanitising and an information drive are helping to keep the virus out and keep prisoners informed as to what is happening concerning the virus.

Medical experts and at the prison said the screening process is quite specific. At the first entrance officers encourage you to wash your hands and sanitise. They have enforced a “no mask, no entry” rule. They have also restricted the flow of people to limit contact.

Doctors said they don’t allow people to go into different departments unnecessarily. They communicate by phone. And if officers are in different departments, they are now put on different shifts so there would be a minimal number of people in the prison, while still keeping it secure.

Prisoners meet with their families virtually instead of physically, so there are fewer people from outside entering the prison.

The prisons have also been also supplied with ten wind tunnels which spray a disinfecting solution. Pulchan told Newsday the solution is a mixture of 65 percent water and 35 percent hydrogen peroxide.

“We had them installed in all stations so all officers coming to the prison or visitors to the prison must pass through that wind tunnel. And the solution is a safe level so it doesn’t harm you but it kills bacteria,” Pulchan said.

The tunnels were donated to the prisons by the British High Commission along with Caribbean IMPACS. The commission realised the risk of prisoners getting infected and the rapid pace at which the infection could spread, so the two organisations paid for the building and installation of the tunnels.

Even with the methods in place, there have still been cases of covid19 among prisoners and officers. Earlier reports indicated that three people, two prison officers and a prisoner, tested positive for covid19.

Newsday understands that the prisoner is being treated in a well-guarded room at the Caura Hospital, while the prison officers are at Caura and Couva hospitals. Contact tracing is under way for the prison officers and all the prisoners close to the infected inmate have been tested and quarantined. Pulchan said results are still awaited.

On March 17, fear and uncertainty among the prisoners over the service’s management of the virus sparked a riot in the south wing at Golden Grove. Prisoners, afraid of the unknown got wind that prisoners were being released in other countries, began making demands to be freed. The riot was eventually contained, but it came at a cost.

“Officers were attacked. One is on sick leave with a broken jaw still. Part of the south prison was destroyed. We had to evacuate the entire south wing, some 400 inmates were displaced,” Pulchan said. “Now, after much information was given to them, they are more confident that everything is being done to protect them.”

The riots also resulted in a move by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to announce the early release of hundreds of prisoners.

Newsday understands most of these prisoners are still inside however. Bail hearings are being held weekly to review criminal records and recommendations by the DPP, police and the public defenders office, so while hundreds were selected, they still have to go through a lengthy process.

In the meantime senior officers go to prisoners, inform them of the situation outside, and tell them everything possible is being done to protect them.

Officers also remind them through the use of handouts of the best practices for sanitising, and the prison service also sanitises areas at least twice daily. The prison radio station, Rise Radio, also shares information on the latest developments on covid19, and reiterates best practices and methods.

The prison service also does its own screening of inmates: officers from the health department go on “medical parades” and treat any ill prisoners.

“So much more is being done than we did before," Pulchan said, “This is an epidemic that we cannot allow to come in the prison.”

(https://newsday.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/10182082-1024x986.jpg)
Women inmates sew face masks at Golden Grove Prison, Arouca. PHOTOS BY ANGELO MARCELLE -

(https://newsday.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/10182084-1024x750.jpg)
Acting Commissioner of Prisons Dennis Pulchan holds a uniform made by women inmates at Golden Grove Prison, Arouca. -

(https://newsday.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/10182083-1-1024x768.jpg)
A female inmate sews a face mask at Golden Grove Prison, Arouca. -

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 16, 2020, 08:50:32 AM
Mask-wearing to become law within 48 hours
NARISSA FRASER (NEWSDAY).


The Prime Minister says he is in talks with Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi on legislation to make mask-wearing mandatory.

Rowley said, “The time for suasion is over.”

He said within the next 48 hours, they will announce the decision.

He was speaking at a media briefing on Saturday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's.

He and the Chief Medical Officer announced that covid19 had now reached the final stage, community spread, in T&T. It had previously been at the cluster stage. There were two deaths from the illness on Friday, the first since April.

“We are going to find a legislative arrangement which will allow action to be taken against those persons in the national population who insist on not wearing a face mask in public. Because we are now convinced that they are endangering the wider population.

“While we may not be able to pick up everybody or find everybody, the law will be put in place so that you will be at the discretion of law enforcement to face that.”

He added, “Of course, it can be avoided completely by simply doing what we’ve been asking you to do for three months.”

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 20, 2020, 04:38:04 PM
Yes, you can leave T&T – for a price
RIA CHAITRAM (NEWSDAY).


People travelling out of T&T have to pay a hefty price for their tickets to get to their destinations, as well as grappling with the procedure for exemptions.

Covid19 mitigation measures have seen stiff restrictions on travel movements across borders. In March T&T shut its borders completely, with only nationals granted exemptions by the Ministry of National Security allowed back in.

But it's a different story for Trinis and others trying to leave the country, to return to their universities or homes overseas.

Leaving the country can be less difficult in some ways than getting in. Several travel agencies have been offering charter flights to Barbados, St Lucia, the US and the United Kingdom.

Shanti’s Travel Service is one such agency. One of its agents, who wanted to be identified only as Ravina, told Newsday they have been getting most of their bookings from students.

She said, “We offer flights from Trinidad to Barbados on an eight-seat passenger plane, and from Trinidad to St Lucia on a 30-seat aircraft.

“All passengers must be tested for covid19 and have gone through the process to get exemption, at least in the first stage. We assist, where necessary, for the exemption to be granted.”

When asked how long it takes for an exemption to be granted, Ravina said, “When in a business like this, you know how to get the job done. Final exemption usually takes about two weeks.”

Using Shanti’s Travel Service, the cost of a chartered flight to Barbados falls between $5,000 and $6,000 and for St Lucia it is about $4,330 per person. She was unable to give prices for flights to the US and UK.

At other travel services it ranges from $2,000-$4,000 for Barbados, $3,000-$3,500 for St Vincent, $4,000-$6,000 for Jamaica and US$1,850 to Amsterdam and then London. They said flights leave only when there is a full aircraft, so it's difficult to plan in advance.

Newsday contacted several travel services, which said the majority of bookings have been students trying to get back to the US, UK and Canada.

One UK national who has been trying to get home since April said while she understood the reasons for closing the borders, assistance from the Ministry of National Security was not forthcoming.

She chose to remain anonymous, but said her reason for visiting T&T has been for work as a writer and performer. Attempts to get help from the British High Commission with repatriation have also been unsuccessful, she noted.

She told Newsday on Tuesday that her next option was a chartered flight, but the price of getting to Barbados and then the UK was too much.

“It is costing as much as US$1,000-$1,100 to Barbados and nearly another US$1,180 to the UK.

“That is exploitation and piracy," she charged, "and there were no guarantees, no insurance and no refunds, because flights can be cancelled if the flight is not filled and the chartering service sees it unprofitable.”

She said covid19, despite the many challenges, had given the region an opportunity to put in place a proper transport system between the islands.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 24, 2020, 12:44:28 AM
Trinidad and Tobago crosses 1,000 covid19 cases
RYAN HAMILTON-DAVIS (NEWSDAY).


THERE were 77 new cases of covid19 and one additional death reported in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, raising the total amount of deaths to 14, the number of active cases to 828 and the total number of covid19 cases to 1007.

The Ministry of Health in its 10 am update said 33 additional people tested positive for the virus. Its 6 pm update said another 44 people tested positive for the virus – 36 in Trinidad and eight in Tobago.

The latest death was an adult male with pre-existing health conditions.

The ministry reported that 166 patients are being treated at the Couva and Caura hospitals for covid19 with 275 patients being admitted to the hospital, while there are 279 patients at step-down facilities in Sangre Grande, Balandra, Debe, Tacarigua, St Augustine and at NAPA.

In the Couva hospital there are six patients in the intensive care unit and three in the high dependency unit.

So far, 165 recovered patients have been discharged from the State's care.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: ABTrini on August 24, 2020, 01:00:34 AM
This is no joking matter - TnT  did very well to. mitigate and create parallel health facilities to deal with this.

Imagine a " boneheaded' comment by a newly elected MP from the opposition allegedly referred to this situation as karma to the ruling party? The immaturity insensitivity and ignorance  once more shows why some people dose be sore losers.
 Is it karma when  elbourne Australia resorted to a lockdown last month or NZ?

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 29, 2020, 01:54:33 PM
PM: Not wearing a mask illegal from Monday
CAMILLE MORENO (NEWSDAY).


As of Monday, Independence Day, it would be illegal to be out in the public without wearing a mask, the Prime Minister said on Saturday.

Dr Rowley said with the passage of legislation on Friday, and the debate and expected support in the Senate on Saturday, the law will go into effect in the coming week.

He said wearing masks would help to suppress the spread of covid19, which up until Saturday had claimed 19 lives, with more than 800 active cases, and more than 1,500 cases reported.

"We all have to assume we care carrying the virus," he said in a media conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's.

He said it was the reason why the Parliament met to debate and pass legislation to make wearing masks the law.

"It is part of your clothing now," the Prime Minister said. He said he was impressed by the designs and "colour coding" of masks being produced locally.

"We have made the law as such you will have to protect the rest of the population from your irresponsible conduct," he said.

The law allows a magistrate to impose as maximum $250,000 fine for offences related to not wearing a mask.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 30, 2020, 12:36:10 AM
PM to bring stranded citizens back home.
By Sharlene Rampersad (Guardian).


“God is hearing our cries.”

This was the reaction from one of approximately 2,000 T&T nationals stranded abroad since this country’s borders closed on March 22. The citizen was responding to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley's plans to meet with the National Security Ministry this week to discuss the repatriation of citizens. He was speaking at a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s on Saturday.

The PM, however, warned that while exemptions will be granted, transport home is another issue.

“We are going to maximise the amount of exemptions granted, the transportation system is another story because borders are closed and there is no scheduled transport, but given where we are at now and with the use of home quarantine our case to keep people outside has been considerably reduced and we will grant the exemptions in a much more liberal way,” Rowley said.

Just two weeks ago, on August 15, after this country recorded a huge spike in COVID-19 cases, National Security Minister Stuart Young announced that the Government would be stepping back from its repatriation efforts.

The PM, announcing the decision to maximise exemptions, said this “chapter” needs to be closed and those who live in T&T but were stuck abroad when the borders were closed on March 22 will be the first priority.

He said the Government will try to assist with repatriation flights as it did for returning university students.

“After eight months we really need to close this chapter in a more effective way to those persons who have been on the outside have been very patient, we need to bring them home as quickly as we can but we do have transportation issues.”

When asked if those returning nationals would be allowed to quarantine at home as a Ministry of Health's policy change made earlier this week has allowed COVID-19 positive patients with mild symptoms to quarantine at home, Rowley said, “We haven’t reached there yet.” He said that decision will rest with the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Roshan Parasram.

“I am just giving here the health department far more work to do, but I think we really must get these people home,” he added.

'We hope he sticks to his word'

The Sunday Guardian reached out to the group “T&T Nationals Stuck Abroad: Helping Hands” for reactions to the Prime Minister’s announcement. T&T national Sheena Millet, who lives in France but has been advocating for nationals stranded abroad to be allowed to come home, said the group hopes Rowley sticks to his words.

Millet’s mother has been stranded in Florida since March. She believes there are approximately 2,000 citizens stranded abroad who have been trying to return home for months.

“We are hopeful that he sticks to his words and hoping repatriation flights can be organised. (Of course, paid by us) because the cost of private jets to get home is more than any of us have to spend now that we have been here over six months now,” she said.

Another citizen said, “We are so relieved and hoping the PM sends repatriation flights as private jets can go into the thousands of US dollars to get home. I've been stuck in Seattle, Washington, since March and I have been out of medication for my heart, it's only God and prayers that I'm still alive, this should have been done a long time...I'm happy to hear this news, the depression and mental frustration was real.”

Abby, who is also stranded abroad, described the announcement as a "balm to her wounds."

“Like most nationals, I am a bit hopeful now that the Government has addressed us nationals stranded abroad. I am feeling a slight relief but I’m also cautious because I can’t fully trust what the Government is saying until I am home. I have been here since March,” she said.

Dr Karen Sohan, who has also been stranded abroad, said the displaced citizens have banded together to assist each other and said while the Government’s response to their plights has been disappointing to date, they continue to hold on to hope that they will be able to come home soon.

“The displaced nationals are quite a proactive group in many ways; they look after the neediest who have been stranded as well as we have devised a working plan based on current international guidelines as well as local policy, which has gained the support of many health care professionals in Trinidad. This will be hand-delivered to the ministries as they have failed to respond to e-mails. While the Government’s response has been disappointing to date, we remain focused on getting back to our beloved country so we welcome any efforts,” Sohan said.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on August 30, 2020, 01:12:54 PM
'We cannot survive a second lockdown'
By Joel Julien (Guardian).


Walking into the upstairs food court at Trincity Mall during lunchtime earlier this week the place looked like a ghost town.

Normally, a beehive of activity, especially during the vacation period, the food court was a shadow of its former self.

While many of the food outlets remained open, with staff prepared to serve, the customers were absent.

Also, notably missing were the tables and chairs previously provided for dining customers.

The doors to the cinema and the arcade remained shut.

But this situation is not unique to Trincity Mall.

Many businesses have been suffering this plight as the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place to halt its spread in the country have made this the norm.

Two weeks ago, prime minister Dr Keith Rowley announced new restrictions, including all in-house dining in restaurants and bars being stopped and the closure of cinemas, as the country continues to face a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases.

Those restrictions are expected to be in place for at least the next two weeks.

With the numbers of positive cases rising daily, many fear that further restrictions may be implemented.

But what will this mean for businesses?

“We cannot survive a second lockdown,” Jai Leladharsingh, the manager of the Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce and coordinator of the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers told Guardian Media.

“We are scared,” Leladharsingh said.

Leladharsingh said businesses are still trying to recover from the last time this country had to put a lockdown in place and the situation caused “economic chaos”.

The first COVID-19 positive case was recorded in T&T on March 12.

And on March 21, the government announced restrictions on gatherings at public places and restaurants and bars were ordered closed until further notice.

On March 29, a “Stay at Home” Order also came into effect.

“The government needs to come with a proper education programme regarding managing COVID, but at the same time, they need consistent dialogue and engagement with the business community on what support we need to get, that is the issue right now because consumer demand is low and confidence is weak and how can we work together, not the state alone, but the state and other stakeholders to get things done,” Leladharsingh said.

“Right now we cannot manage another lockdown but if you want to put strict laws to manage the health protocol and you are having the police to ensure the protocols are adhered to then that is not a problem,” he said.

Ricardo Mohammed, president of the Eastern Business and Merchants Association, said he believes the country may have jumped the gun with the first lockdown.

“During the first lockdown, my personal belief is that it was not structured properly in terms of the closure of businesses when we were dealing with import cases. I think consideration should have been given to what import case spread means and they should have examined what were the possible outcomes for community spread and even after the first 21 days of the initial lockdown they could have opened the doors for other commercial activity being proactive enough to put stringent measures in place, for example, wearing masks because we did not have community spread at that time,” Mohammed said.

“It is my view that we had an unnecessary lockdown that was detrimental to the economics of this country by not strategically planning effectively for that,” he said.

Mohammed said that 90 per cent of this country’s small businesses were severely impacted by the first lockdown.

He said this would have resulted in staff being laid off.

“If we are to undergo a proper lockdown now it will hurt the businesses significantly but I think it should be strategically planned in such a way that we allow the essentials to open, we allow other businesses to open providing that they abide by all strict COVID-19 protocols I believe that if businesses do what they are supposed to do by observing strict COVID-19 protocols they can function just like any other business that is functioning and they could still have the potential to allow their businesses to survive,” he said.

Mohammed said if proper measures are put in place even bars should be able to operate within certain guidelines.

“With proper stringent checks, for those who do not abide by the policies of COVID-19 then shut those people down,” he said.

Mohammed said when the country had the first five community spread cases then a 21-day lockdown should have been implemented.

Kiran Singh of the Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce said the micro and small economies are the hardest hit by the restrictions.

“What we have witnessed and what we have experienced is that during the first lockdown after the advent of the pandemic our businesses suffered tremendously because we had to close all of our doors for basically three months so there was not any business activity, no commercial activity in the MSME’s sector in particular,” he said.

“San Fernando depends a large part on the retail sector to thrive within the economy and what has happened is when the economy was reopened in June we were not able to even resuscitate the business sector and the spike in actions within the last couple of weeks has created not only fear but it has dampened business activity to the point where we have not been able to recover from the initial lockdown,” Singh said,

Singh said the COVID-19 may be here to stay and therefore we have to find a way to operate with it.

He also applauded the decision to discussion mandatory wearing of face masks in the Parliament.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on September 17, 2020, 04:01:44 PM
A Chinese virologist claimed the coronavirus was 'intentionally' released. Turns out, she works for a group led by Steve Bannon.
awoodward@businessinsider.com (Aylin Woodward)
Business Insider


A strange new paper claiming the coronavirus was a "laboratory product" quietly made its way into a repository of preliminary research on Monday.

"The laboratory creation of this coronavirus is convenient and can be accomplished in approximately six months," the paper's authors, four Chinese virologists who fled to the US earlier this year, wrote.

Li-Meng Yan, the lead author, went a step further in a Tuesday interview with the Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

She told Carlson that her government had "intentionally" released the "man-made virus" — comments that echoed a fringe conspiracy theory that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump alluded to in May.

But a closer look at Yan and her coauthors' work shows they're affiliated with a pair of nonprofits based in New York City, the Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation, that were led by the former Trump strategist Steve Bannon before his arrest in August.

Neither organization has any history of publishing scientific or medical research, and the new paper has not been peer-reviewed by other scientists.

Most experts think the coronavirus originated in bats before jumping to people; one study found that it shared 96% of its genetic code with coronaviruses circulating in Chinese bat populations.

Yan's group, however, suggested that people made the virus using existing bat coronaviruses as "a backbone and/or template."

Bannon cofounded both groups with an exiled Chinese billionaire

Bannon was arrested in August on charges that he defrauded donors who gave money to the "We Build The Wall" campaign. In January 2019, helped found both Rule of Law groups with an exiled Chinese billionaire, Guo Wengui.

Guo also founded the site G News, which has published multiple (debunked) stories claiming the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab and was purposefully spread by the military.

Bannon got $1 million in 2018 for a year's worth of "strategic consulting services" involving G News, Axios reported.

Guo fled China for New York in 2014 after the Chinese Communist Party accused him of bribery and fraud. He had previously worked with Bannon to accuse CCP officials of corruption.

Yan, formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hong Kong, told Fox News in July that she was one of the first researchers to study the new coronavirus. But Yan left the university — and China — in April, because she began to worry for her safety after suggesting the CCP and the World Health Organization knew about the virus' community spread before December, she said.

"I know how they treat whistleblowers," she told Fox News.

In her interview with Carlson on Tuesday, Yan said she had evidence that showed how China engineered the virus, adding, "I am the target that Chinese Communist Party wants disappeared."

The University of Hong Kong said in a press release in July that Yan "never conducted any research on human-to-human transmission" of the coronavirus before she left and that her view "has no scientific basis but resembles hearsay."

'Poppycock dressed up' as science

Other experts were quick to speak out against the claims in Yan's paper.

Carl Bergstrom, a University of Washington biologist who first noticed the paper's connection to Bannon, called the research "bizarre and unfounded."

There's no evidence supporting the theory that the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was genetically engineered. A March study concluded based on genetic analysis that the coronavirus wasn't a hodgepodge of existing coronaviruses, as Yan and other supporters of the theory have suggested.

Those researchers wrote that their work indicated that it "is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus," adding that "the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone."

On Tuesday, the lead author of that study, Kristian Andersen, said Yan's group had cherry-picked data in support of their conclusion, adding that it was "poppycock dressed up as 'science.'"

Twitter, which has a strict policy on tweets containing disputed claims about COVID-19, suspended Yan's account this week.

The virus probably didn't leak from a lab either

We still don't know how the coronavirus pandemic started, or where — and that uncertainty creates fertile territory for unsubstantiated theories.

Early on, many people thought an intermediary animal species first passed the coronavirus from bats to people in a wet market in the city of Wuhan, China, in December. But it turned out that coronavirus infections were spreading in the city weeks before the cluster of cases linked to the market arose. That means the market probably facilitated a superspreader event but wasn't the pandemic's origin site.

Another theory suggested that the coronavirus had animal origins but that a sample of it stored at the Wuhan Institute of Virology accidentally leaked.

Researchers at that institute do study infectious diseases, including coronaviruses, which led to scrutiny from members of the Trump administration earlier this year.

There's no evidence, however, that the coronavirus came from a sample stored at that lab.

"It's highly unlikely this was a lab accident," Jonna Mazet, a US epidemiologist who has worked with and trained researchers at the Wuhan institute, previously told Business Insider.

Mazet said she helped the staff there develop and implement a "very stringent safety protocol."

What's more, Shi Zhengli, a virologist at the institute, said none of the coronavirus samples that had been stored there matched the new coronavirus' genome.

"That really took a load off my mind," Shi told Scientific American in April. "I had not slept a wink for days."

(https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Vq_jXmT1bkodKtU5LSxqJA--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNQ--/https://media.zenfs.com/EN/business_insider_articles_888/c650076e13cd2e21e8a6adb22a20cacb)
Steve Bannon, a former chief White House strategist.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

(https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/AW29d4bDZBU2gG_cl6fIWw--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNQ--/https://media.zenfs.com/EN/business_insider_articles_888/6174016198acc33eaf7ddce433c333b7)
The Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on November 22, 2020, 03:23:41 PM
$30M COVID bailout for bars, restaurants, self-employed
By Loyse Vincent (T&T Guardian).


Government has now allocated $30 million to bail out restaurant and bar employees and people who are self-employed.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced on Saturday that the Government has allocated an additional $10 million for employees of bars and restaurants who have "lost their jobs and suffered a reduction in income.” He said $20 million has also been allocated for people who are "self-employed and are now unable to make ends meet.”

Rowley was speaking at the COVID-19 press conference held at the Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour conference room at Glen Road, Scarborough.

He said while people were expecting that the Government would remove the restriction on the in-house consumption of alcohol at bars and restaurants, a decision was taken to maintain the measure because "bars are in the business of encouraging congregation and congregation is the danger."

The Prime Minister said that the Government also understands the position that those affected now face.

"We are restricting them to protect all of us, so we need to share the burden with them. Therefore, I have asked the Minister of Finance to find an additional $10 million to specifically deal with employees of restaurants and bars."

Bar and restaurant owners who would have lost or are losing their businesses were encouraged to avail themselves of the finances previously allocated for "small business support." Dr Rowley, however, assured that the Government would treat bars and restaurants with some element of urgency.

The Prime Minister added that the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services will also provide assistance for citizens who are "suffering additional hardship."

According to the Prime Minister, the $20 million will be available for disbursement among people who were making a living through avenues which no longer exists. He referred to vendors at sporting events and similar small business owners throughout the country.

"There were citizens making it on their own, making that way living on the margin and that margin has receded from them and they are on the brink of destitution."

He said each case will have to be verified but the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services will be "relatively generous between now and January," especially where children are involved. The Prime Minister also publicly appealed to public servants to "be empathetic" when people come to the various public offices seeking to apply for the funds.

Meanwhile, casinos will now join cinemas by allowing the consumption of food in-house.

Announcements:

*No Christmas parties at government offices, state corporations

*Private sector, families asked to do same

*$10 million to assist those affected by bar restrictions

*$20 million to assist affected self-employed

*Food services to resume in casinos

*Bars and restaurants will continue to have takeaway services only.

*Hunting to resume

*T&T’s borders remain closed, but exemptions continue to be granted for nationals choosing to return home as well as for those who wish to leave.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on January 22, 2021, 01:40:44 AM
T&T national brings new COVID variant from UK
By Rishard Khan (T&T Guardian).


A repatriated national has brought the new strain of COVID-19 (Variant B117) from the United Kingdom into the country, increasing fears now over whether health officials will be able to control its spread.

In a release yesterday, the Ministry of Health confirmed the mutant strain was found in a repatriated national.

“The presence of the variant was confirmed via a gene sequencing study at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, which has been testing COVID-19 positive samples collected since September 2020,” the ministry said.

The ministry noted that all COVID-19 protocols were observed to prevent the strain’s introduction into the population.

“The patient is a returned national who travelled from the United Kingdom. As per existing quarantine protocols, the national provided a negative PCR test which was taken 72-hours prior to departure from the United Kingdom. Upon arrival in Trinidad and Tobago, the national was immediately placed in state quarantine, in a single room,” the release said.

“The patient was transferred directly to an isolation area at the Couva Hospital and Multi-training Facility once the positive COVID-19 result was confirmed.”

In response to the emergence of the new strain, the ministry had increased its quarantine protocol for travellers coming into T&T within 14 days of leaving the United Kingdom. It extended the mandatory quarantine period at a state facility or state-supervised facility upon arrival in the country from seven days to 14.

The discovery of the variant in a repatriated national would not have come as a surprise to health officials, however, as almost one month ago, on December 23, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said the probability of it occurring was low but not impossible.

“Well, I suppose there’s a possibility that anything can happen. But because our borders remain closed, because we manage the repatriation through testing and quarantine, it is hopefully less likely to get in than other countries who have remained with an open border,” he said.

The COVID-19 variant emerged in September and was confirmed by UK officials on December 14. It has been responsible for heightened lockdowns in that country. There is currently no evidence that the strain is more deadly, virile or compromises vaccines. However, experts believe it is at least 50 per cent more transmissible - spreading more easily from person to person. It is one of three strains currently engaging the attention of experts globally along with the South African variant and Brazil variant.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention noted that while it may not be more deadly, “an increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalisations, and potentially more deaths.”

It has advised rigorous and increased compliance with public health mitigation strategies, such as vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and that isolation and quarantine will be essential to limiting the spread.

Commenting on the situation yesterday, Professor of Veterinary Virology Dr Christopher Oura said the strain’s discovery is cause for concern.

“Trinidad and Tobago should be worried. I’m currently in the UK and this virus, this new variant, is really running a riot here. It is able to transmit more efficiently than the original variant and we’re seeing that at the moment,” he told Guardian Media. 

“It’s certainly not a variant we want to get into Trinidad and Tobago (population). We want to do our level best to stop it coming in.”

The discovery also had Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley admitting yesterday that he was concerned. 

Speaking after a tour the APT James in Scarborough, Tobago, Rowley said it should be a reminder that “we are in a pandemic” which is not getting better.

Rowley said he has been worried from day one of the pandemic and begged people to adhere to the public health protocols in place.

“The difference in the new strain is that it is easier for the virus to be transmitted, so if you were skylarking with the mask, if you were skylarking with the social distancing and if you were skylarking with the partying, it is easier now to be infected,” Rowley said.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: ABTrini on January 22, 2021, 07:20:57 AM
Not getting this- are therenot protocols in place to ensure that one has to be tested negative prior to flying into the country?
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on January 27, 2021, 06:45:35 AM
Deyalsingh: No Covax vaccine allocated to Caribbean yet
SEAN DOUGLAS (T&T NEWSDAY).


HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said T&T is pursuing the acquisition of covid19 vaccines by three different means, including the Covax facility, but this latter has not yet allocated any to the Caribbean region. He was replying to an urgent question on Tuesday in the Senate from Opposition Senator David Nakhid, who asked whether the recent emergence of a more transmissible strain is expected to hasten delivery of a vaccine shipment to T&T.

Deyalsingh replied, “The ministry has been aggressively pursuing three options.” He said the Government paid $1.4 million into Covax last September.

“The officials of Covax have indicated that the allocation of vaccines to each country should be completed by January 31, 2021, which is a few days away. Thereafter the purchasing and distribution of vaccines would then be finalised.”

Secondly, he said T&T has had bilateral talks with since last September with vaccine manufacturers including Pfizer, Oxford-Astra Zeneca, Sinopharm, Moderna and Sanofi.

“And thirdly, quite recently, since January 2021, Caricom recently came up with a Caricom initiative where T&T is a registered purchaser of vaccines.

“Between the three measures, we have been working since July 2019 to expedite the delivery of approved vaccines into T&T.”

In a supplemental question, Nakhid asked which brand of vaccine Covax would allocate to T&T.

Deyalsingh said by month-end, Covax would make that determination.

Nakhid scoffed, “So by your assertion, we paid $1.4 million and we don’t know what type of vaccine we are getting?”

Deyalsingh replied, “The $1.4 million paid into Covax was to help with research and development across a platform or portfolio of 12 vaccines.

“It is because of that reason, vaccine manufacturers were able to expedite the clinical trials. In the past, companies had to raise their own financing. If Covax was not around and countries did not pay into research and development, we would not be in a position now to even talk about vaccines. So that was the purpose.”

He reiterated that the $1.4 million went toward vaccine research.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on February 14, 2021, 08:26:19 PM
CDC director says U.K. variant could be "dominant strain" in U.S. by March
Melissa Quinn
NBC NEWS


Washington — Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), predicted Sunday that a new strain of the coronavirus that was first identified in the United Kingdom and has since been detected in the U.S. may be the "dominant strain" here by the end of March.

In an interview with "Face the Nation," Walensky said there are more than 1,000 cases of the U.K. variant, known as B.1.1.7, in 39 states.

"We know now that, or we estimate now that about 4% of disease in this country is related to B.1.1.7," she said. "And we have projections that it may be the dominant strain by the end of March."

Public health officials warn the U.K. variant is more transmissible and argue the new strain, as well another identified in South Africa and a third from Brazil, underscores the need for the American people to get quickly vaccinated.

Walensky said pharmaceutical companies are adjusting their science to neutralize the B.1.1.7 variant, and the CDC is watching the epidemiology with people who have already received their coronavirus vaccines.

"But we're not waiting for that," she said. "We're doing the science to scale up different vaccines in case we either need bivalent vaccines, that is a vaccine that has two different strains, or booster vaccines. Both are happening."

While Walensky predicted the U.K. strain could be dominant by the end of next month, she said that should not deter efforts to reopen schools, which is a priority of the Biden administration. The CDC released highly anticipated guidelines Friday for getting children back into classrooms, which included recommendations for phased reopenings based on rates of community transmission. Before taking office, President Biden set a goal of getting most schools reopen in his first 100 days in office.

"What we know from the scientific literature is that most disease transmission does not happen in the walls of the school. It comes in from the community," she said. "There's very limited transmission between students, between students and staff, really, mostly between staff to staff when there are breaches in mask wearing. So what we're really advocating for now is working to get our — especially in the high areas of transmission, the red zones you just talked about — getting our K-5 kids back in a hybrid mode with universal mask wearing and six feet of distancing."

Walensky stressed mitigation strategies, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, are crucial to protecting against the coronavirus strains.

"The B.1.1.7 variant may be less forgiving when we have breaches in these mitigation strategies, but the mitigation strategies are indeed the same," she said.

There have been more than 27.5 million coronavirus cases in the U.S., and the death toll stands at more than 484,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Walensky previously predicted the nation would see more than 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 by mid-February.

She said Sunday there are still 100,000 cases per day and between 1,500 and 3,500 deaths daily, and warned against relaxing mitigation strategies. Both Montana and Iowa, for example, have lifted their mask mandates.

"We are nowhere out of the woods," Walensky said. "And as you know, if we relax these mitigation strategies with increasing transmissible variants out there, we could be in a much more difficult spot. So what I would say is now is the time to not let up our guard. Now is the time to double down, still with 100,000 cases a day, still with over two and a half times the cases we had over the summer."

Walensky said children need to be back in the classroom and communities back to "some normal functioning" before public health guidelines are eased.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Sando prince on February 17, 2021, 09:28:54 PM

First COVID-19 vaccine was administered in T&T today  :-\

https://www.facebook.com/CNC3Television/videos/3293821424056547

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 17, 2021, 03:06:36 PM
Clarity for Catholics: It's OK to get Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine – if it's the only one available
Elizabeth Weise
USA Today


Catholics might be somewhat confused by reports on differing messages about the acceptability of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to a cell line from an abortion being used in its production.

The differences have been resolved and Catholic teaching is clear: Catholics have a moral duty to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by being vaccinated. However, if given the choice, they should avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Should they choose not to be vaccinated, they have a moral obligation to mask, socially distance and "do their utmost" to avoid becoming infected or infecting others, the Vatican said.

The message was somewhat garbled when the Diocese of Bismarck in North Dakota issued a statement March 2 saying the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was "morally compromised and therefore unacceptable" to be given or received by Catholics.

"The local bishop is taking a harder stance than either the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops or the Vatican," said Dr. G. Kevin Donovan, a Catholic bioethicist at the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center.

A week ago, however, the Bismarck Diocese walked back its initial hard line.

"The Catholic Church’s concern about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it is morally compromised as a cell line from aborted fetal tissue was used in its development and production," said Father Robert Shea, diocesan ethicist for health care. "As the U.S. Bishops’ statement on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine indicates, it is possible to receive it in good conscience if given no other choice, but it should be avoided if there are alternatives (like Pfizer or Moderna) available."

A December statement from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made clear the overarching moral mandate is to be vaccinated or do the utmost possible to avoid passing along the virus.

When "ethically irreproachable" COVID-19 vaccines are not available, "it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process," the statement said.

Neither the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are entirely free from moral quandary as both used fetal cells from an abortion for early testing, though not in the actual production of the vaccine.

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI both received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Jan. 13.

Catholics' duty is to protect "the common good," the Vatican statement said. The vaccines "can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive."

Father Tad Pacholczyk, director of education with the National Catholic Bioethics Center, notes Catholics have an obligation to voice their concerns, whichever vaccine they get.

"End users have a duty to push back and make known their disagreement with the continued use of these cells by researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia," he said.

That can include writing letters to the companies, posting on social media or writing letters to the editor, he said.

It's certainly permissible for an individual to refuse a vaccine they find morally problematic, Donovan said. But they are then obligated to do whatever they can to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to themselves or others.

That would include masking, social distancing and hand-washing.

"That's something that shouldn't be missed," said Donovan. "We have a moral obligation to not only take care of our own health but to protect others whenever possible and by whatever reasonable means are available."

His statement echoed the Vatican, which said people who refuse vaccines produced using cell lines from aborted fetuses have a responsibility to protect others.

They must “do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent.”

The issue is over the PER.C6 cell line, which came from retinal cells from an 18-week old fetus legally aborted 36 years ago in the Netherlands.

In the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the cell line is used to help to create the vaccine but isn't actually in the vaccine, said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"It's in the vat; it's not going into your arm," he said.

He added, "To wait for a vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna is a choice to take an unnecessary risk, one that could harm others."

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on March 20, 2021, 09:32:40 AM
VACCINE VACUUM
ELIZABETH GONZALES (T&T NEWSDAY).


THE Prime Minister is clueless as to when TT will receive its ordered batch of covid19 vaccines.

The country already made a US$1.477 million (TT$10 million) down payment to Covax and is supposed to receive 33,000 doses at the end of March, but Dr Rowley told the public on Thursday night that he cannot say exactly when they will arrive.

At a televised Conversation with the Prime Minister forum in St Joseph, Rowley said that as of Thursday night the government has no confirmation that any vaccines will arrive by March 22.

And from his recent interaction with World Health Organization (WHO), it appears the Covax facility would be unable to deliver the full order.

Rowley said, “It appears as though, in the Covax, it may not even be that (the 33,000 vaccines TT is expecting at the end of March). It will be less. And not being able to confirm a shipment now is making us believe that Covax has not been able to access.”

He still assured the country that the order is still on track to arrive sometime at the end of March. Rowley said Covax assigned TT’s supply to AstraZeneca Mika in Korea. That company has fallen short of the number of vaccines it hoped to produce and this is the reason for the delay.

“Their shortcoming is creating the delay in our area. But we have been talking to other people…We are part of a world problem and however you slice it, however you dice it, vaccines are not available for purchase. Small Caricom countries and some who are in desperation have had small favours.”

NO WORD ON CHINESE OFFER

In his capacity as head of Caricom, Rowley has since written to the UK, US and Canadian prime ministers highlighting the vaccine clog for countries in the region. “Canada has indicated they are giving close attention to what we said. That’s the only response I’ve had so far. I don’t know what that means.”

Previous reports said after the first batch is received, TT is expecting an additional 77,000 of 108,000 doses, sought through the Covax facility, between the end of April and early May.

Rowley hopes to have approximately 600,000 or 700,000 people vaccinated. So far, TT vaccinated 1,000 frontline workers, with the first dose using 2,000 Maitri vaccines gifted from Barbados from the Government of India.

On Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping promised to assist TT with its SinoPharm vaccine during a virtual meeting with Rowley at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s. Apart from confirmation of China’s offer, there has been no word from Rowley or his government on whether it will take up President Xi on his offer, especially as the vaccine vacuum in this country remains with no end in sight.

NOT GOING TO BE BEGGING

While the country has no choice but to wait for its Covax order, although other countries throughout the region are receiving covid19 vaccines as gifts, Rowley was adamant that TT will not go “begging” for such gifts, especially if the vaccines aren’t approved by the World Health Organization.

He touched on the issue of India’s vaccine Maitri given to other countries by the Government of India and not TT.

“A few of our Caribbean neighbours have got gifts. And of course, when you go to somebody asking for a gift, that’s not a gift, you’re begging. There was no arrangement for us here in TT to vaccinate this population by begging.”

Ironically, TT’s Caricom neighbour Barbados sent 2,000 doses out of a batch of vaccines it received as a gift from the Indian Government.

Two weeks ago, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar accused the government of not positioning TT to receive some of the 500,000 vaccines sent by India to countries in the region.

A spat between Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne and Persad-Bissessar followed after she wrote to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi on behalf of TT requesting a donation of AstraZeneca covid19 vaccines.

As of March 18, vaccine Maitri had been distributed to 71 countries. But there has been no word on whether or not India would be sending any vaccine gifts to TT after Persad-Bissessar’s letter.

“I have been accused of not moving to get TT’s share of some 500,000 vaccines from the Government of India. A lot of people in this country either, by ancestry or by political persuasion, have taken it upon themselves to be mouthpieces for the government of India. (They’re saying) 500,000 vaccines available and TT was not moving to get it, and accusing us of all manner of evil.”

He said the government communicated directly with India and there was no confirmation of 500,000 vaccines being available. He said this country was not invited to be part of any free vaccine distribution programme.

“The first I heard about any vaccines from India was from local doctors who were spoken to by the Indian High Commissioner who did not speak to the Government of TT.”

The second time he heard about the Maitri vaccines was through local businessmen hoping to bring vaccines into the country.

“We also communicated with the supplier from India who is supplying the world. They said they are not taking any orders. What is happening is that the vaccine suppliers have taken pre-orders from the wealthy countries that are buying up all that they can produce.”

UNC: GOVT HAS FAILED

The Opposition in a release on Friday accused Rowley of having TT’s vaccination programme in shambles. It went on to say India’s covid19 vaccines were never a secret and Rowley’s claim to not know about it, is untrue, when India’s PM discussed how its country could help the world via its vaccine programme during an address at the 75th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 2020 – an event Rowley attended.

In February, Barbados received 100,000 vaccines from India. Out of that, it donated 2,000 doses to TT, 1,500 to Guyana, 1,000 to St Lucia and 500 to Grenada. India also donated 70,000 vaccines to Dominica and 40,000 vaccines to Antigua and Barbuda which are yet to arrive.

Dominica shared 2,000 vaccines with St Lucia, 5,000 with Antigua and Barbuda, 5,000 to St Vincent and the Grenadines, 2,000 to St Kitts and Nevis, and 500 to Grenada.

In response to an editorial in Newsday on vaccine diplomacy, the Indian High Commission said it’s up to governments to either request or accept help from India’s government.

Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Deeks on March 23, 2021, 11:43:26 AM
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20210323/covid-window-hope#slideshow-0

This article is about Richard "Richie" Peters from Sando area. He played for Prez and South Colleges and Youth teams. He also played for the now defunct Sando Juniors and Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey. I played against him in all those teams. It appears that he has covid. I did not read the entire article because you have to sign up. He has been in JA 20 yrs now. Anyone of the Southies can get more info. By the way Richie was a damn good player. It was just that there were other damn good players around. He tried out for the 74 youth team
Title: Re: Coronavirus Thread.
Post by: Flex on June 27, 2021, 12:32:58 AM
Border reopens, free to fly from July 17
...T&T open to vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens
By Renuka Singh (T&T Guardian).


The borders of T&T are set to reopen on July 17. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was the bearer of that good news on Saturday at the COVID-19 update at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's. Rowley said that the borders would be open to both vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens. The country would also allow entry to vaccinated non-nationals, but unvaccinated non-nationals are not going to be allowed in the country at this time.

The borders have been shut, except through authorised travel exemptions, for more than a year.

This news now spells relief to the thousands left stranded since the border closure last March. For over a year nationals have been utilising the exemption process to get home and either staying in state quarantine facilities or paying to stay at selected hotels for 14 days.

In that time, citizens have been clamouring to return home. Last year July, Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar famously compared the protracted lockout to slavery and indentureship, saying then that Rowley had made citizens nationless.

There have been successive updates about the number of locals stranded abroad since March but the Government relaxed the restrictions somewhat for the Christmas period last year and by December some 17,211 people made exemption requests to enter T&T. Of that figure, there were 9,557 exemptions granted, leaving more than 7,654 people, residents and non-residents, still outside, as T&T's borders remained closed at that time

"This is a major development at a time," Rowley said.

The Prime Minister said that after careful consideration, the Government has decided to open the borders. "The exact date in July, we expect Saturday, July 17," he said. The country would return to scheduled travel services.

Rowley said the Government's open borders would recognise three categories of people: vaccinated nationals of T&T, unvaccinated citizens of T&T, and other unvaccinated people.

"Vaccinated citizens of T&T with a negative PCR test, 72 hours or less, would be allowed to come in and go home," he said.

A person who is not vaccinated and wished to enter the country, must go into state-supervised quarantine for 14 days and must be able to show a negative PCR test.

Unvaccinated children coming in with vaccinated parents would be allowed to go home without any quarantine.

"Non-nationals of T&T who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 would not at this time be allowed to enter T&T," Rowley said. The vaccines must be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and they are free to enter the country two weeks after their second shot.

Quarantine breakers, he said, would be fined.

"Any person coming into this country and decide to play fast and loose with our quarantine system and entry requirements would face the full brunt of the law," he said.

Just days ago the national carrier, Caribbean Airlines revealed plans to cut staff numbers including pilots but the Prime Minister said that the trimmed staff would be able to handle the workload now that borders are opening. He said that CAL maintained some 80 percent of its staff.