Coronavirus surges in Asia bring warnings over complacency

first_imgAustralia recorded its deadliest day with at least 13 deaths and more than 700 new infections, mostly in the second-most populous state of Victoria, where the government ordered all residents to wear face-coverings outside.The country has confirmed a total of 16,298 cases since the pandemic began, with 189 fatalities, more than half in Victoria and its capital Melbourne, which is under a new lockdown.Victoria’s new infections have seeded outbreaks in other areas, including Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, which reported 18 new cases.Authorities are weighing new measures to stop the spread but further restrictions on movement would deal a blow to the economy, already in its first recession for 30 years. Spikes in novel coronavirus infections in Asia have dispelled any notion the region may be over the worst, with Australia and India reporting record daily infections on Thursday, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance.Asian countries had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the virus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency.”We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. But failure to control the outbreaks would do more economic harm in the long run, Morrison said.’Act now, act fast’Vietnam, virus-free for months, has also had a harsh reminder of the dangers with a new surge spreading to six cities and provinces in six days, linked to an outbreak in the central city of Danang.The health ministry on Thursday reported nine new locally transmitted cases linked to Danang, taking total infections to 42 since the virus resurfaced at the weekend.Cases have also appeared in the capital, Hanoi, the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City and in the Central Highlands.Thanks to a centralized quarantine program and aggressive contact-tracing, Vietnam has registered a total of only 459 cases, with no deaths.But now more than 81,000 people are in quarantine.”We have to act now and act fast,” Nguyen Duc Chung, the chairman of the administration in Hanoi, said in a statement.Hanoi authorities said they will test 21,000 people who recently returned from Danang.Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the new surge was different to a wave Vietnam fought in March, and every province and city was at risk, state broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) reported.India reported more than 52,000 new cases over the previous 24 hours, its highest in a single day and taking its tally to almost 1.6 million.India has the third highest number of infections globally, and while its major cities like New Delhi and Mumbai have seen their case-loads ease, infections are increasing sharply in rural areas.North Korean warningChina reported 105 new coronavirus cases on the mainland, up from 101 the previous day, with 96 of them in the far western region of Xinjiang, five in the northeastern province of Liaoning, one was in Beijing and three imported cases.As of Wednesday, China had 84,165 confirmed cases, with 4,634 deaths.Isolated North Korea was on alert after a defector suspected of having the virus sneaked back in from South Korea.North Korea, which says it has had no domestic cases, imposed strict quarantine and screening in Kaesong, just north of the border with South Korea, where the suspected infection was reported in a 24-year-old man who defected to South Korea in 2017 and slipped back in to the North this month.North Korea has not confirmed the man tested positive for the virus but said he was showing symptoms.The Rodong Sinmun newspaper, a ruling Workers’ Party mouthpiece, warned against carelessness.”A moment of inattention could cause a fatal crisis,” it said. center_img Topics :last_img read more

UK risks twice-as-big second COVID wave without better testing, study finds

first_img“However, we also predict that in the absence of sufficiently broad test–trace–isolate coverage, reopening of schools combined with accompanied reopening of society across all scenarios might induce a second COVID-19 wave,” said the study, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.”Our modeling results suggest that full school reopening in September 2020 without an effective test-trace-isolate strategy would result in R rising above 1 and a resulting second wave of infections that would peak in December 2020 and be 2.0-2·3 times the size of the original COVID-19 wave.”The lead author of the study, Jasmina Panovska-Griffiths, said the test-and-trace system in England was currently reaching only about 50% of contacts of all those testing positive for COVID-19.Panovska-Griffiths, lecturer in mathematical modeling at University College London, told BBC radio that the worst scenarios could still be avoided. Britain faces a second wave of COVID-19 this winter twice as widespread as the initial outbreak if it reopens schools without a more effective test-and-trace system in place, according to a study published on Tuesday.Researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine modeled the impact of reopening schools either on a full- or part-time basis, thus allowing parents to return to work, on the potential spread of the virus.They concluded a second wave could be prevented if 75% of those with symptoms were found and tested and 68% of their contacts were traced, or if 87% of people with symptoms were found and 40% of their contacts tested. “Importantly, what we find is that it is possible to avoid a second epidemic wave if enough people with symptomatic infections can be diagnosed. Their contacts can then be traced and effectively isolated,” she said.”We are the first study that has quantified this, how much this needs to be for the UK.”Schools in Britain closed in March during the national lockdown, except for the children of key workers, and reopened for a small number of pupils in June.However, the government says all pupils will return to school across the United Kingdom by early September with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it is a national priority.”I think we all accept that test-and-trace is a program which needs to continue to improve. There is total humility in government about that,” junior local government minister Simon Clarke told BBC radio.”We fully accept that we need to keep driving those numbers up,” he said. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Local cadres oppose PDI-P decision to nominate Jokowi’s son-in-law for Medan mayoral race

first_img“Akhyar is a Marhaenist who is close to [a lot of] the party’s members. Our support for him grew after [we saw him] receive unfair treatment [from the party],” he said.Marhaenism is a socialistic political ideology that originated in Indonesia and emphasizes national unity, culture and collectivist economics.The head of the PDI-P’s Medan executive board (DPC), Hasyim, told the Post that only a handful of members opposed Bobby’s and Aulia’s nomination.“Most party members gladly accept and fully support the decision.”Hasyim added that the pair was a very strong contender in the December election. Besides the PDI-P and Gerindra, the pair is backed by the Golkar Party, NasDem Party, Hanura Party, United Development Party (PPP) and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI).”I’m optimistic that the pair nominated by the PDIP-Gerindra coalition will win in the Medan mayoral election,” he said, adding that the Bobby and Aulia reminded him of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who won the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election.Hasyim said the PDIP-Gerindra coalition had a strategic meaning for the 2024 presidential election.Meanwhile, Bobby’s nomination came after Jokowi’s eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, secured his ticket with the PDI-P to run in the Surakarta mayoral race in Central Java. (nal)Topics : Several local members of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) have expressed their disapproval of the party’s decision to nominate President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s son-in-law, Bobby Afif Nasution, for the Medan mayoral race in North Sumatra.They created the PDIP 98 Exponent Forum to show support for Medan acting mayor and former PDI-P senior politician Akhyar Nasution, who was initially a strong contender to be nominated for the upcoming election.”We set up the forum [to represent] members of the party who are disappointed that the party nominated a non-cadre for the mayoral race,” forum head Gumana Lubis told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. PDI-P executive Puan Maharani announced on Tuesday that the party would nominate Bobby and Gerindra Party politician Aulia Rahman to respectively run for mayor and deputy mayor in Medan. Bobby officially joined the PDI-P in March in a bid to contest the race.In late July, Akhyar switched parties from the PDI-P to the Democratic Party after the ruling party refused to back him in the city’s mayoral election. Akhyar’s candidacy is backed by the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Democratic Party.Gumana, who also heads the party’s Medan Johor branch, predicted that 60 percent of traditional PDI-P voters in Medan would likely vote for Akhyar, as both Bobby and Aulia are non-cadres.Read also: PDI-P officially nominates Jokowi’s son-in-law for Medan mayoral racelast_img read more

ByteDance censored anti-China content in Indonesia until mid-2020: Sources

first_imgSome US lawmakers, including Republican Senator Josh Hawley, have raised concerns over TikTok’s data security practices and allegations that it engages in censorship at the behest of the Chinese government.Indonesia, a country of 270 million where over half the population is under 30, is one of ByteDance’s fastest-growing markets. TikTok had more than 147 million downloads in the country, according to data from app analytics firm SensorTower.ByteDance bought Indonesian news aggregator BaBe in 2018 after TikTok was briefly banned in the country for showing “pornography, inappropriate content and blasphemy”, according to officials.In seeking to reverse the ban, ByteDance agreed with Indonesian authorities to hire a team of local TikTok moderators and reinforce its presence in the world’s fourth largest country, according to the then Indonesian communications minister and three company sources.It then purchased the full operations of BaBe, in which it had already been a majority investor.Soon after, moderation guidelines for BaBe, which uses artificial intelligence to aggregate stories from hundreds of Indonesian media outlets, were crafted by a team from ByteDance’s Beijing headquarters, two of the six sources said.BaBe moderators were also told not publish any articles on the TikTok ban while negotiations with the Indonesian government were underway, the people said.Under the new BaBe guidelines, articles from partner media outlets that were perceived as critical of the Chinese government would either not be republished on the BaBe app or would be taken down from the app, according to the six sources.Articles with the keyword “Tiananmen,” a reference to China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, or to Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China, were among those taken down, one person with direct involvement said.Another direct source described articles about tensions between Indonesia and China over the South China Sea as being banned on the app, even when they came from the country’s official news agency, Antara.Three of the sources said BaBe was using content guidelines patterned on those used for ByteDance’s Chinese news app, Toutiao, with some tweaks made for Indonesia regarding the topic of elections as well regarding race, ethnicity, and religion in Indonesia. Sensationalist articles on those topics, which are highly sensitive in Indonesia, would be dropped, they said.”They wanted a non-political happy tone for the app,” one of the people said.The guidelines changed in the second quarter of 2020, when it became possible to read articles on previously censored topics on the BaBe app, a separate source said, calling it a “learning process for ByteDance.”A 2019 internal ByteDance presentation reviewed by Reuters describes BaBe as Indonesia’s top news app with more than 8 million monthly active users and 30 million downloads by the end of 2019.  Those guidelines, which are published on its website, do not mention China or the Chinese government.”A cursory search on the BaBe app shows numerous articles and videos that highlight the type of content these claims say we would remove,” the statement said.ByteDance in Beijing said it had no additional comment beyond the BaBe statement. China’s foreign ministry and its internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), did not immediately respond to requests for comment.US President Donald Trump has threatened to shut down ByteDance’s short-video app TikTok – widely popular in the US, Indonesia and other countries – on national security grounds unless it is sold to a US company. Chinese tech giant ByteDance censored content it perceived as critical of the Chinese government on its news aggregator app in Indonesia from 2018 to mid-2020, six people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.The sources said that local moderators were instructed by a team from ByteDance’s Beijing headquarters to delete articles seen as “negative” about Chinese authorities on the Baca Berita (BaBe) app.In a statement to Reuters, BaBe said it disagreed with the claims and that it moderates content according to its community guidelines and in line with Indonesia’s local laws.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Facebook in India storm after hate speech claims

first_imgThe lawmaker in question, T. Raja Singh, on Monday claimed his account had been hacked, the New Indian Express reported.The Wall Street Journal report last week said Facebook’s top public-policy executive in India had opposed applying hate-speech rules to the lawmaker and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) individuals and allied groups who had been flagged internally. The executive, Ankhi Das, told staff members that punishing violations by politicians from India’s ruling party would damage the company’s business prospects in India, the newspaper reported.This was even after employees concluded Singh had violated its rules, the Journal said, citing current and former Facebook staff. Topics : Facebook is in the eye of a political storm in India after claims it failed to take action against hate speech posts by a Hindu nationalist lawmaker out of fear for its business interests.India is US-based Facebook and its messaging service WhatsApp’s biggest market in terms of users, and the firm is under pressure worldwide about how to police hate speech.But a huge row has now erupted in India after the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook stopped short of banning a ruling party MP even after he posted comments and made speeches saying Rohingya Muslim immigrants should be shot, Muslims were traitors, and threatened to raze mosques.center_img The main opposition Congress party on Sunday claimed there was “bias and alignment” of the Facebook India team in favor of the BJP and its allies.”They spread fake news and hatred through it and use it to influence the electorate,” tweeted senior party figure Rahul Gandhi.Without commenting directly on the Journal report, Facebook said Monday it would always prohibit “hate speech and content that incites violence”, and would “enforce these policies globally without regard to anyone’s political position or party affiliation”.”While we know there is more to do, we’re making progress on enforcement and conduct regular audits of our process to ensure fairness and accuracy,” a spokeswoman added.Lawmaker Raja Singh insisted Monday that his Facebook account had been hacked and someone was “deliberately trying to project me as a dangerous person all over the world.””Many pages and IDs are being run on my name on social media platforms without my consent,” he told the New Indian Express.last_img read more

Govt consistent in prioritizing health in handling COVID-19, Jokowi says

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo reasserted the government’s commitment to prioritizing health concerns in containing the COVID-19 outbreak.“Since the beginning, the government has been consistent in prioritizing health issues in issuing policies to handle the COVID-19 crisis. Once again, public health must be our priority,” the President said in a virtual press briefing on Saturday.Along with the focus on health, the government is working to maintain and restore the country’s economy. Jokowi added that the government had disbursed a total of Rp 203.9 trillion (US$13.6 billion) for people affected by the epidemic. According to the government, it had disbursed Rp 29.1 trillion to 10 million recipients through the Family Hope Program (PKH) as well as Rp 30.9 trillion to 19 million recipients of the national staple food program.Read also: Changed lives: Symptoms persist in COVID-19 long-haulersAuthorities also disbursed Rp 4.4 trillion to 1.9 million recipients of the Greater Jakarta staple food assistance and Rp 24.7 trillion worth of social assistance to 9 million recipients outside Greater Jakarta.The government distributed other aid through several programs, including the preemployment card program, cash aid from village funds, workers’ subsidy as well as free and discounted electricity.The government has been slammed by several parties, including the Indonesian Ombudsman, for prioritizing economic recovery over public health in dealing with COVID-19, as it restarted economic activities in several regions in the country.Many raised concerns that the country would run out of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients if cases continued to increase at the current pace. Health authorities confirmed a record daily high number of COVID-19 infections with 4,823 new cases on Friday.State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, who heads the national COVID-19 response and economic recovery committee, said the government had taken steps to increase the capacity of testing and hospital beds , as well as the supply of medicine. (aly)Topics :last_img read more

Zumba class organizer in East Lombok fined for neglecting COVID-19 protocol

first_imgA Zumba session organizer in East Lombok was slapped with a Rp 400,000 (US$26.90) fine for neglecting the social distancing COVID-19 protocol during its program.The program, which was attended by hundreds of participants, gained netizens’ attention after a recording of one of its sessions went viral on social media. The participants were also seen not to be wearing masks in the video. East Lombok regional secretary Juani Taofik confirmed that the event had been running since Sept. 16. However, he was unaware about it since it took place inside a building. Read also: Bali to slap fines on people who go out without masksJuani also said he had already notified the organizers. “Whoever uses public facilities without implementing COVID-19 protocols will be fined. The organizer had paid the fine earlier,” Juani said as quoted by on Tuesday.Lombok Police chief Sr. Comr. Tunggul Sinatrio said the police had not been notified about the program.“The police didn’t know because the organizer did not ask for our permission,” Tunggul said. (dpk)Topics :last_img read more

PREMIUMDine in or take out?: Officials debate how to curb COVID-19

first_imgGoogle LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Forgot Password ? Log in with your social account Linkedin Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and the chief of the government’s COVID-19 response task force, Doni Monardo, has called for stricter lockdown rules in Greater Jakarta, as the capital continues to register the highest number of daily cases in the country.In a coordination meeting chaired by Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, Anies and Doni highlighted the fact that Jakarta’s satellite cities continued to have lax social-distancing rules while Jakarta had imposed stricter measures.Anies said the city administration’s key decision to only allow restaurants to take takeaway orders could be effective in curbing transmission only if the rule was applied to all municipalities on the outskirts of Jakarta.”We haven’t allowed people to dine in. This may be difficult at first but we have to swallow the bitter pill. But if su… COVID-19 Luhut-Binsar-Pandjaitan anies-baswedan doni-monardo PSBB Indonesia remdesivir BPJS Topics : Facebooklast_img read more

Manchester United blocking Arsenal’s hopes of completing deal for Wilfried Zaha

first_imgWilfried Zaha is frustrated with Crystal Palace’s valuation (Picture: Getty)Arsenal’s hopes of completing a move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha are being scuppered by Manchester United.The Ivorian informed the Eagles at the end of last season that he wanted to leave the club and he is keen on a move to Arsenal, the club he supported as a child.However, the Gunners have had two bids rejected by Palace as they fall significantly short of the club’s £80m valuation of Zaha.Palace’s valuation is based on the fact they are under no financial pressure to sell Zaha but also due to a 20% sell-on fee in the forward’s contract.ADVERTISEMENT Manchester United blocking Arsenal’s hopes of completing deal for Wilfried Zaha Advertisement Comment Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 24 Jul 2019 9:01 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link3.3kShares Palace value Zaha at £80m (Picture: Getty)The clause was installed by Manchester United following Zaha’s move to the club in 2015 and would entitle the Red Devils to around £16m should Palace get their asking price for the 26-year-old.AdvertisementAdvertisementWith such a significant portion of the fee going to United, Palace are not willing to drop below their £80m valuation of Zaha and that has frustrated the Gunners, according to the Standard.Unai Emery is working on a tight budget this summer and it’s unlikely that the Gunners will be able to sign Zaha through a straight cash deal.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalPalace attempted to remove the clause during negotiations with United over the sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka but the Red Devils argued that the £6m fee they accepted for Zaha four years ago was well below the forward’s value and rejected the attempt to remove the clause.There’s just over two weeks left of the transfer window and Palace will not allow negotiations for Zaha to enter the final days without a resolution.The Eagles are frustrated by the lack of progress that’s been made in talks and will not leave themselves without a replacement if talks enter the final days of the window.MORE: Man Utd vs Tottenham TV channel, live stream, UK time, team news and odds Advertisementlast_img read more

Freddie Ljungberg reveals mood in training among Arsenal stars after Unai Emery sacking

first_imgAdvertisement Jose Mourinho: Unai Emery sacking is ‘sad news’To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 3:41FullscreenJose Mourinho: Unai Emery sacking is ‘sad news’ is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. Comment Ljungberg was named interim head coach on Friday (Picture: Getty)Arsenal play Norwich on Sunday in Ljungberg’s first game in charge, with the Gunners stranded in eighth place in the Premier League – eight points behind the final Champions League spot.A former Arsenal player, Ljungberg admitted it was a great honour to be named manager of his old club.‘It’s a great great honour, I feel this energy inside of me and it’s special,’ he said. ‘Of course there is sadness with what’s happened with the club, where we are.‘Then excitement for what we can do in the future.’ Arsenal play Norwich on Sunday (Picture: Getty)He told Sky Sports: ‘It’s a bit of a strange one. Not strange but a bit of sadness there, we had a coach for a long, long time, he was a good coach and also other coaching staff that all of a sudden disappear.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘It is a very cut throat thing in football and of course players are emotional as well and they will react on that.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘What I will tried to do was be as respectful as I could in that sequence and then after that when I trained the players, I just tried to take sessions where there is a little bit of excitement.‘Try to make them not think too much and just enjoy themselves and hopefully get them in a good mood because we had a game on Thursday, there was not the whole squad.’ Ljungberg took training after Emery was sacked (Picture: Getty)Freddie Ljungberg revealed there was sadness among Arsenal players in their first training session since the sacking of Unai Emery.Arsenal fired Emery on Friday and the Spaniard was dismissed when he turned up for training that morning.The squad were told of the decision before training and newly-appointed interim coach Ljungberg took charge of the session.In his first interview since being named temporary boss, Ljungberg admitted it was difficult to focus the minds of the players so soon after Emery’s exit.ADVERTISEMENT Freddie Ljungberg reveals mood in training among Arsenal stars after Unai Emery sacking Coral BarrySaturday 30 Nov 2019 11:30 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1kShares Advertisementlast_img read more