Mongolian president placed under quarantine after returning from China, state media ULAA

first_imgMongolia’s President Battulga Khaltmaa and other government officials have submitted to a 14-day quarantine after returning home from their visit to China, the state news agency Montsame reported on Friday.Battulga is the first head of state to visit China since the country began implementing special measure to curb the coronavirus outbreak in January.He arrived in Beijing with Foreign Minister Tsogtbaatar Damdin and other senior government officials on Thursday, and held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.They were taken into quarantine as soon as they arrived in Mongolia as a precautionary measure, Montsame said. Topics :last_img read more

Italian schools go digital as coronavirus shuts classrooms

first_imgHer school was closed on Feb. 22 and by the following Thursday, the virtual system was operational.Schools have been closed in the northern regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna until at least the end of the week, but with the number of cases in Italy rising to more than 2,000, there is no certainty about when they will reopen.Many schools have websites and email or electronic messaging groups that have allowed teachers and pupils to stay in touch.”The school has an electronic registry and I am sending work to my pupils using email and WhatsApp. I gave them a canto of Dante today to study,” said Flavia Santonico, a high school teacher in Bologna. In the red zone in which 10 towns in the Lombardy region around Milan and one town in neighboring Veneto have been locked down, telecoms operator TIM has temporarily provided unlimited data coverage.Marco De Rossi, head of WeSchool, an Italian company that develops educational platforms, said the company had seen a three-fold jump in traffic on its platforms last week, with 590,000 active users. He said extra shifts had been added to deal with demand.”Stir Crazy”The Education Ministry has appealed to schools to share their experiences to help adapt to the shutdown and opened a page on its website to help with long-distance learning.Schools and children have different levels of experience with long-distance learning and, for now, there is no national system.”There were a few problems at first but it’s working great now,” said Federico Vita, 11, a pupil at the Ungaretti school in Melzo which started focusing on digital teaching techniques about three years ago.The state school, near Milan, has “adopted” a school in the red zone in Veneto to share its experience.The shut down has created a headache for parents forced to find child minders, work from home or take time off.”My 12-year-old is going stir crazy,” said Susan, a mother in Bologna. “And you have to make sure they don’t get hooked all day on their mobiles.”Homework has been coming through, but there have been no virtual classes or lessons or stuff like that organized yet.”Even teachers who say the system has worked well worry about whether pupils will be able to keep learning effectively outside the normal rhythm of the classroom.Monica Boccoli, a maths teacher in Cremona, who is part of a network of teachers trying to encourage digital educational techniques, works in a school experienced in digital learning for younger pupils. “But managing an emergency is different,” she said. “In primary schools, teacher contact remains fundamental”. For schoolchildren in northern Italy, the beginning of their second week blocked at home because of coronavirus saw a scramble to adapt digital alternatives to the classroom, ranging from online maths games to homework on Dante sent by WhatsApp.Schools in several areas have been closed since the coronavirus outbreak just over a week ago and authorities have had to improvise to keep classes going, using school digital platforms and services like Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom.”The system has been functioning very well and it’s holding up for the moment,” said Lucia Balzarini, a religion teacher at the A. Tosi agricultural technical college in Codogno, a town in the quarantined “red zone” where five children have tested positive. “The problem will be in the longer term.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

COVID-19: Man quarantined in N. Sulawesi after returning from Malaysia

first_imgA 46-year-old man has been put under observation for possible COVID-19 infection at the Prof. Kandou General Hospital in Manado, North Sulawesi, after returning from Malaysia.The patient, a Bitung resident who works in Malaysia, arrived in Manado from Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 19 via Singapore.”He complained of cough and shivering. However, his temperature was normal at 36.1 degrees Celsius,” the hospital’s medical services head Handry Takasenseran told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. “We have categorized him as a suspected COVID-19 patient because he has a travel history to countries affected by the outbreak.”  Handry said the patient had begun to feel ill ten days after arrived in Bitung and had decided to report his illness to the Bitung Health Agency when he saw that his condition was not improving.”We’ve confirmed the case with the Bitung Health Agency; we’ve also coordinated with the North Sulawesi Health Agency,” Handry said. “Last night at around 6 p.m. he was isolated and his samples were taken.”He said the samples had been sent to the Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) laboratory in Jakarta and the patient would remain in isolation until the test result came out.Indonesia has confirmed COVID-19 in two people, both of whom are currently being treated at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital in Jakarta. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

Greece to hand reins to first woman president

first_imgTopics : Sakellaropoulou was elected by parliament in January by 261 out of 300 lawmakers, one of the broadest cross-party majorities in Greek history.She has set out her priorities as tackling the economic crisis, climate change and mass migration.The new president was until now the head of Greece’s top administrative court, the Council of State.The daughter of a Supreme Court judge, Sakellaropoulou completed postgraduate studies at Paris’s Sorbonne University.  She was the first woman to lead the Council of State.Although the president is nominally the head of the Greek state and commander-in-chief, the post is largely ceremonial.Greek presidents confirm governments and laws and technically have the power to declare war — but only in conjunction with the government.Greece has so far announced 117 cases of coronavirus, one of whom died on Thursday after ten days in hospital.Three people are in intensive care and the government has shut down schools and universities, courts, cinemas, gyms and other indoor public gathering areas for two weeks in an effort to curb the outbreak.center_img Greece on Friday prepared to swear in the first woman president in its history as the country grapples with over a hundred coronavirus cases.Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, a 63-year-old senior judge, will become the new Greek head of state for a five-year term.She will take her oath in parliament, lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier — Greece’s foremost military monument — and go to the presidential mansion for a handover ceremony with outgoing president Prokopis Pavlopoulos, parliament said.last_img read more

On a roll: The psychology behind toilet paper panic

first_imgTopics : Taking control Economists have also suggested people may be trying to eliminate one risk that is relatively easy and superficial, rather than doing something more costly that may reduce their risk a greater amount.This is known as “Zero risk bias.””My guess is we want to feel in control and have limited budgets,” said Farasat Bokhari, a health economist at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.”So we go buy something that is cheap to buy, that we can store, and we know at the back of our minds that we are going to use anyway,” he said. A more expensive but necessary item to stock might be non-perishable food — but if frozen meals, canned foods and ramen aren’t exactly your favorites, you could be stuck with a big bill for items you eventually throw away, should the worst fail to materialize.According to Taylor, many of the behaviors we see now also occurred in previous pandemics, including the Spanish flu in 1918, which killed almost 700,000 Americans and sent panicked citizens to stores and pharmacies to hoard goods.Some at the time even floated the conspiracy theory the virus may have been a bioweapon devised by Germany. The new coronavirus has been called a Chinese weapon and an American bioweapon, depending on who is making the accusation.One key difference between the current pandemic and those before it is the ubiquity of social media — the swine flu pandemic of 2009 happened when the medium was still relatively new —  and Taylor sees both pluses and negatives.”That’s enabled the reverberations of dramatic images and videos throughout the world, inflating people’s sense of threat and urgency,” said Taylor.On the other hand, “Social media can be great for social support, particularly if you’re in self isolation.”So are we destined for a breakdown in social cohesion if the pandemic stretches out? History says no, said Taylor.”Rioting and bad behavior in previous pandemics has been relatively uncommon — it has happened, there have been outbreaks, but the main response has been one of order, of people coming together, of solidarity, helping each other out and doing their best as a community to deal with this.” “And so I think this is one reason they latched on to the toilet paper, because it’s a means of avoiding disgust.” But this doesn’t explain it entirely — toilet paper can’t save you from infection, and we haven’t yet seen the same level of hoarding for more key items like canned foods — so something else is clearly afoot.”I think it probably stuck out in the dramatic images in social media because it was quite clear, the packets are quite distinctive and it’s become associated in the minds of people as a symbol of safety,” Steven Taylor, author of “The Psychology of Pandemics” told AFP.”People feel the need to do something to keep themselves and their family safe, because what else can they do apart from wash their hands and self-isolate?” added the psychiatry professor at the University of British Columbia.Another theory Taylor put forward is rooted in our evolutionary aversion to things which disgust us, heightened when people feel threatened with infection. It’s a scene that’s become familiar around the world: From the US to France to Australia, rows of empty supermarket shelves where toilet paper used to be, the result of coronavirus-induced panic buying.What exactly is it about the rolls of tissue that has caused mayhem across cultures, including at times violent clashes that have reverberated on social media?At its most basic, say experts, the answer lies in game theory: If everyone buys only what they need, there will be no shortages. If some people start panic buying, the optimal strategy will be for you to follow suit, to make certain you have enough squares to spare.last_img read more

COVID-19: National Police chief issues edict forbidding mass gatherings

first_imgNational Police chief Gen. Idham Azis has issued an edict announcing that the police will take strict action against people who conduct mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the edict, dated March 19, Idham urged the public to refrain from organizing mass gatherings in public places or private properties. Several examples of mass gatherings prohibited by the edict include social meetings, workshops, music festivals, carnivals, sports events, fairs, mass protests and family receptions.  Topics : Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan declared a 14-day state of emergency in the capital city on Saturday in an effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.He urged all stakeholders – including corporations, social organizations and religious groups – to take drastic action to prevent the spread of the disease during the state of emergency.”Officers from the Jakarta Police, the Jakarta Military Command and provincial administrations will be out in the field on Monday to make sure everybody obeys the policy.”Indonesia reported 514 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide with 48 deaths as of Sunday afternoon.center_img “If the situation is pressing and cannot be avoided, mass gatherings should be conducted with participants maintaining a safe distance from each other and they must follow the government’s COVID-19 prevention procedures,” he said. He also warned the public to refrain from stockpiling food and other basic necessities. “Police officers are required to take the necessary police action according to prevailing laws and regulations should they find any party violating this edict,” Idham said.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo recently called on the public to work, study and worship from home to prevent a nationwide outbreak, but he stressed that the government was “not leaning toward issuing a lockdown policy”.last_img read more

PREMIUM‘It’s time to work together’: Comradeship among SMEs

first_imgGoogle Indonesia COVID-19 impact SMEs solidarity sales Drops market shopping-mall Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are helping each other as many of them have begun to feel the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their business activities.Many small and medium companies, especially those involved in the retail sector have lost their customers as people avoid going to markets or malls in compliance with the government’s social distancing policy.Kania Annisa Anggiani, the founder of Chic & Darling, an all-women-run SME that creates and sells lifestyle products, reached out to her fellow business owners through her Instagram account, @kekekania, and offered to promote their products for free to her 36,300 followers.“Right now is not the time to compete. We’re all in survival mode,” she wrote on her post on Saturday, while asking for owners to list their businesses in the comment section and saying that she would make a directory … Log in with your social account Topics : Facebook Linkedin Forgot Password ? LOG INDon’t have an account? Register herelast_img read more

US Navy captain says carrier faces dire coronavirus threat

first_img“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Crozier wrote, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which published a copy of the letter on Tuesday.”The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating,” Crozier wrote, referring to the ship’s “inherent limitations of space.”He asked to be able to quarantine nearly the entire crew onshore at Guam, saying keeping them all on board the ship was an “unnecessary risk.” There is little opportunity for “social distancing”, which US civilians have been told to practice, among the cramped passageways and sleeping quarters of an aircraft carrier. “Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure,” he said. “This is a necessary risk.”Asked on the CBS Evening News whether it was time for an evacuation, Esper said: I don’t think we’re at that point.”He added that supplies and medical assistance are being moved out to the Roosevelt.”We’re providing additional medical personnel as they need it.” He added that “none of them are seriously ill” and the Navy is “trying to make sure that we contain the virus, that we deploy testing kits. We get a good assessment of how much of the crew is infected.” Topics : Over 100 cases on board The Chronicle said that more than 100 aboard the warship had been confirmed infected with the new coronavirus, around four times the figures given last Friday.Crozier asked in the letter for quarantine facilities for the entire crew on Guam.The US Navy did not confirm the contents of the letter, which were also reported by The New York Times.In a statement, a Navy official under condition of anonymity said that Crozier had alerted his Pacific fleet leaders on Sunday of the problems aboard the carrier.”The ship’s commanding officer advocated for housing more members of the crew in facilities that allow for better isolation,” the official said.”Navy leadership is moving quickly to take all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt, and is pursuing options to address the concerns raised by the commanding officer.”center_img Vietnam port stop Some speculated that the infection could have begun with a port stop in Vietnam by the Roosevelt.The carrier put in to Da Nang port for five days in early March, when the virus was raging in China and more than a dozen cases had been detected in Vietnam.Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told CNN Tuesday that he agreed with Crozier on the seriousness of the situation, and that they had been working over the past few days to move people off of the Roosevelt.However, he said, facilities to sequester the afflicted sailors in Guam, which hosts a major US naval base, are limited.”We are having to talk to the government there to see if we can get some hotel space, create some tent-type facilities there,” Modly said.In his letter published by the Chronicle, Crozier referred to a study about the Diamond Princess cruise ship which was quarantined off Japan earlier this year.The study concluded that early evacuation of passengers and crew would have prevented many more infections. Ten passengers died and more than 700 people who were on board contracted the virus. The captain of the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt told the Pentagon that new coronavirus is spreading uncontrollably through his ship and called for immediate help to quarantine its crew.But Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday ruled out evacuating the ship, whose plight bears similarities to that on civilian cruise ships where the COVID-19 illness spread.Captain Brett Crozier wrote in a four-page letter that they had not been able to stem the spread of COVID-19 through the 4,000 crewmembers, describing a dire situation aboard the vessel now docked at Guam, a US territory in the Pacific.last_img read more

Indonesia’s COVID-19 stimulus worth 2.5% of GDP, lower than Singapore, Malaysia

first_imgIndonesia has rolled out a fiscal stimulus worth trillions of rupiah and widened its state budget deficit beyond the 3 percent legal limit to afford a fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, but the figure seems small compared to what other countries are spending.The government has set aside Rp 436.1 trillion (US$26.36 billion) for the stimulus, equivalent to 2.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which still does not match what other countries have allocated for their fight against the outbreak, said Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati,“Other countries have taken extraordinary measures to prevent the health crisis from turning into a financial crisis,” she told the House of Representatives Commission XI overseeing financial affairs in a teleconferenced meeting on Monday. Australia’s fiscal stimulus, for instance, is 11 percent of its GDP, while Singapore has allocated 10.9 percent of its GDP, she added.The United States, meanwhile, is rolling out a $2 trillion stimulus package, which is worth 10.5 percent of the country’s GDP, and Malaysia has set aside 100 billion ringgit ($23 billion) or 10 percent of its GDP.“This means that [many] countries are taking similar measures,” Sri Mulyani said.Read also: Indonesia announces Rp 405 trillion COVID-19 budget, anticipates 5% deficit in historic move The government has announced plans to spend Rp 405.1 trillion on health care, social safety nets and business recovery programs to counter the effects of COVID-19. It previously announced an Rp 8.5 trillion stimulus package for tourism and vulnerable households, as well as a Rp 22.5 trillion package for manufacturing businesses.The pneumonia-like illness has infected 2,738 people and killed 221 others as of Tuesday afternoon, according to official data.The government has declared a public health emergency and imposed large-scale social restrictions to contain the virus, which has disrupted businesses and put vulnerable families at risk.“Fiscal and monetary policies will be implemented to try to minimize the impacts of COVID-19,” Sri Mulyani said.“This is an ongoing scenario because the situation is rapidly developing, particularly in April and May, which [experts say] will be the peak of the outbreak. Projections may change as the situation develops.”Topics :last_img read more

North Sumatra may see spike in poverty, unemployment as pandemic damages economy: BI

first_imgNorth Sumatra is projected to see a rise in poor and unemployed residents as the novel coronavirus pandemic hits the earnings of millions of workers and damages the country’s economy, according to Bank Indonesia (BI).Wiwiek Sisto Widayat, the chief representative of the central bank’s North Sumatra branch, said that under the moderate scenario, about 125,000 people would fall into poverty, bringing the province’s total poor population to 1.38 million after the COVID-19 crisis had passed.Under the extreme scenario, an additional 589,521 residents of North Sumatra could fall into poverty, bringing the province’s total poor population to 1.85 million. Wiwiek said that North Sumatra might see 4.3 to 4.7 percent growth after the outbreak in a mild scenario, but an extreme scenario might leave the province with only 1.2 to 1.6 percent growth.The central bank has implemented monetary policies to anticipate the turbulence, including those seeking to reduce interest rates, stabilize the exchange rate, digitize small and medium enterprises and relax statutory reserve and liquidity requirements.Wiwiek said BI was also focusing on macroprudential regulations and payment system policies as well as deepening financial markets and encouraging sharia economic activities.“We are doing this because Bank Indonesia doesn’t want the extreme scenario to happen. We must anticipate it as much as possible with the cooperation of all stakeholders,” he said.Read also: COVID-19: Swift, accurate government aid disbursement critical in avoiding spike in povertyThe central government previously estimated that 1.1 million to 3.78 million Indonesians would fall into poverty and 2.9 million to 5.2 million could lose their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, as the pandemic had upended supply chains and forced companies to lay off employees.As many as 2.8 million people have lost their jobs as of Monday, according to data from the Manpower Ministry and the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan). More than half were furloughed and placed on paid or unpaid leave.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects the worst global recession since the Great Depression, potentially dragging Indonesia’s economic growth to 0.5 percent this year from 5.02 percent in 2019. (mfp)Topics : He also estimated that the number of unemployed workers in the province would almost double, increasing from 383,000 to 737,000.“This is all due to COVID-19, which has affected all the business sectors that are the sources of North Sumatra’s regional gross domestic product,” Wiwiek said in a virtual seminar hosted by the Medan State University School of Economics on Tuesday.Read also: Up to 9 million people to fall into poverty, unemployment as COVID-19 hits: Sri Mulyani“It has also impacted other economic growth variables such as consumption, investment, government spending, imports and exports. All will be affected, including the poor population and unemployed people living in North Sumatra.”last_img read more