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Offline asylumseeker

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #30 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.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 05:33:51 AM by asylumseeker »

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2020, 05:34:54 AM »
Look how the Pro League missed a trick.  :devil:

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #32 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.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #33 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.   

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/GHpYBUGJCkE" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/GHpYBUGJCkE</a>

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/dTpsZTkAw0Y" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/dTpsZTkAw0Y</a>
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 03:46:21 AM by asylumseeker »

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2020, 07:03:41 PM »
Stay safe Warriors. Been a while since I visited. The lock downs in Ontario getting tighter.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #35 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.


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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #36 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.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #37 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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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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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.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 12:45:15 PM by asylumseeker »

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #38 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.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #39 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.”


Sarah Jane Waddell pictured in the Matrix signature mask design. Photo via themaskulture.com -

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #40 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.”

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #41 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.

Faster than a speeding pittbull
Stronger than a shot of ba-bash
Capable of storming any fete


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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #42 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.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #43 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.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2020, 06:44:22 PM by asylumseeker »

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #44 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.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #45 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.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #46 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.”

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Flex

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #47 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.”

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline ABTrini

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #48 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.

Offline Sando prince

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #49 on: May 22, 2020, 05:30:15 PM »

Anyone want to discuss Kamla's Covid success due to climate comment?  :D

Offline ABTrini

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #50 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

Offline Sando prince

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #51 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
.

Offline Sando prince

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #52 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

.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #53 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.

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Offline Flex

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #54 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.

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Offline ABTrini

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #55 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
« Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 02:03:13 PM by ABTrini »

Offline soccerman

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #56 on: August 15, 2020, 07:33:39 PM »
Like Rowley need to get ahold of de blueprint for de dome

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #57 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.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #58 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.”


Women inmates sew face masks at Golden Grove Prison, Arouca. PHOTOS BY ANGELO MARCELLE -


Acting Commissioner of Prisons Dennis Pulchan holds a uniform made by women inmates at Golden Grove Prison, Arouca. -


A female inmate sews a face mask at Golden Grove Prison, Arouca. -

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #59 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.”

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.