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first_imgHospitals in Venezuela have lost huge numbers of medical professionals and are so dilapidated that, in some, staff use paint buckets as improvised toilets and reuse surgical gloves. Maduro insisted Venezuela is prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak, but health workers have expressed concern that the country’s health system will be quickly overwhelmed.Maduro said that all restaurants in the country would be permitted to make orders to-go, but would no longer be allowed to serve patrons on-site, along with bars, clubs and movie theaters. He added that he was evaluating whether or not to suspend work.Earlier in the week, he suspended flights from Europe and Colombia and said public gatherings would be canceled.Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said earlier Friday that schools will be closed as of Monday. Topics : Rodriguez said the two people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 had arrived from Spain and had been placed in quarantine. Maduro added that those who had come on the flight were also in quarantine.Earlier in the day shoppers flocked to pharmacies in search of hygiene products such as alcohol to sanitize hands, which is a struggle due to lack of running water that has resulted from the decay of public services.”People in Venezuela are accustomed to crisis situations, we move quickly in reaction to anything that happens,” said Juan Silva, 23, a chef who shopping at a Caracas pharmacy for soap and hand gel.He said he wasn’t overly worried about the disease due to the low mortality rate, but added “I don’t trust the government as a source of information.”Maduro says his government has been hindered in fighting the virus because U.S. sanctions, meant to force him from office, have led banks and foreign businesses to refuse services.The Pan American Health Organization said last week it would be prioritizing Haiti, Venezuela and a handful of other Central and South American countries who have “challenges to their health systems.”Hania Salazar, head of the nurses’ association for the western state of Zulia, said hospitals are not even guaranteeing that employees will have access to face masks.Interior Ministry Nestor Reverol on Friday said the government would provide border control authorities with face masks, gloves and thermometers, without mentioning supplies to for citizens and hospitals.On the street, citizens were already figuring improvised ways to handle the situation.Neima Arocha, 46, managed to buy the last bottle of cough suppressant at a Caracas pharmacy but got there too late to buy alcohol for hand sanitation.As a substitute she planned to buy cocuy, artesanal cactus liquor similar to tequila.”There’s no [rubbing] alcohol,” said Arocha. But in the liquor stores they still have all kinds of things.”center_img Venezuela on Friday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus amid concerns that the economically struggling South American nation is unprepared to confront a pandemic that is spreading rapidly around the globe.”We are declaring a state of alarm,” President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised appearance Friday night, urging Venezuelans to take precautionary measures and asking those over 65 to stay inside.Speaking with a blue mask covering his mouth, he encouraged people to wear face masks – even if it means making their own – and said no one would be allowed to board the metro or take trains without one.last_img read more

first_imgJakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has removed a restriction on the operational hours of public transportation after just one day.He said on Monday evening that public transportation would return to normal following a suggestion from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.However, Anies said the Jakarta administration would uphold a recommendation for social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus by limiting lines at Transjakarta and MRT Jakarta stations.The restriction massively backfired, with large crowds and long lines building up at Transjakarta and MRT Jakarta stations across the capital on Monday.The lines accumulated as commuters wearing face masks squeezed into packed bus stops and train stations during peak hours in the morning, with many commuters waiting for hours and becoming distressed over being late for work.While some commuters appeared ignorant about the city’s containment efforts, many others had no option because they still had to go to work since their companies had yet to impose or had only imposed a partial workfrom-home policy.Read also: Work-from-home policy in effect at major Jakarta companies over virus concernsAninda, a 27-year-old stateowned enterprise worker, said she was not able to stay at home because her company enforced a two-shift policy where each division was divided into two groups, taking turns working at the office and at home on a weekly basis.“I’m currently living with my parents in Ciganjur [in South Jakarta] and I was planning to leave from the Ragunan bus stop. Arrived there at about 7 a.m. I saw people lined up for approximately 10 meters,” Aninda said on Monday.City transportation companies said such operational restrictions were in line with the instructions of President Jokowi and an appeal from the World Health Organization to limit movement and maintain social distance in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus.Anies previously announced the city would limit the operational frequency of public transportation for the next 14 days starting on Monday so that people with no urgent need to travel could remain at home.In response to Monday’s chaos, Transjakarta appealed to Jakarta commuters to manage their travel times as well as possible by avoiding rush hours to prevent the possibility of overcrowding on the buses.“We urge customers to make the best schedule to get home before 6 p.m. and make sure not to jam [ into the bus],” Transjakarta corporate secretary Nadia Diposanjoyo said in a statement.Transjakarta management announced the restrictions on Sunday, saying it would only operate 13 routes, down from 248, with a 20-minute headway. The company will also suspend its evening services.Meanwhile, to ease passenger mobility on Monday, Nadia said, Transjakarta deployed a total of 290 vehicles to serve 13 Transjakarta corridors. She did not specify whether the same number of buses would apply for the remaining 13 days.Besides Transjakarta, LRT Jakarta and city-owned MRT Jakarta also imposed similar measures, with MRT Jakarta reducing the number of cars on each train to four from the usual 16, reducing the maximum capacity from 300 people to 60.MRT Jakarta said the public transportation service restriction was intended to limit the mobility of office workers who should have been working remotely.“By the government instruction, the MRT Jakarta service is only aimed at medical workers who still need to handle the COVID-19 outbreak and public servants who cannot work from home,” MRT Jakarta corporate secretary Muhamad Kamaluddin said.Crowds and long lines were seen at MRT stations, mainly in Lebak Bulus, Fatmawati, Cipete Raya and Dukuh Atas BNI stations; and a buildup of passengers also occurred at LRT stations on Monday morning.Read also: COVID-19: City-wide transport restrictions cause buildup at Transjakarta, MRT stationsLRT management said it had changed its train headway to 30 minutes from the normal 10 minutes.The company reported that the biggest buildup was at Velodrome Station. It immediately deployed an additional two cars to its trains to increase capacity to 120 passengers to adjust to the conditions.Both MRT Jakarta and LRT will now evaluate the buildup, with LRT corporate secretary Arnold Kindangen saying that “conditions in the future will follow demand”.The failure of social-distancing measures among commuters has resulted in passenger chaos despite the President’s call to stay at home. Pictures disseminated on social media show commuters — many wearing face masks — squeezing into packed buses and stations throughout the capital.Nurul Nadia, a public health expert from the Center for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI), said that the implementation of social distancing was not simple.She predicted that COVID-19 infections in Jakarta were likely to increase because the restriction policy was issued too late and because of the failure of the authorities to communicate the importance of social distancing to the public.“Complete information is highly important. Authorities should inform people as to why violating the policy could be dangerous for themselves and their families,” she said.Jokowi repeated his statement on Monday, saying that reducing people’s mobility was of utmost priority.“The central and regional governments have to continue providing services and improve the hygiene of public transportation. What is important is to ease crowds, queueing and the density of passengers inside the public transportation so that they can maintain distance,” he said on Monday.Topics :last_img read more

first_imgNearly 300 suspected and confirmed COVID-19 victims have been buried in Jakarta since the beginning of March, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on Monday. In a press conference at City Hall, Anies said that between March 6 and March 29, 283 people in Jakarta had been buried following COVID-19 protocols, with their bodies wrapped in plastic, put inside coffins and interred in less than four hours after they died.”Maybe some of them have not been tested, so it cannot be said that they were [COVID-19] positive. Or maybe some had been tested but the results have not come back,” he said. “This shows that the situation in Jakarta is very concerning. That is why I am asking the public to see the numbers not as only as statistics. They were our fellow residents and were healthy just a month ago.” Jakarta COVID-19 Task Force head Catur Laswanto said that according to official records, there had been 720 confirmed cases in the capital with 76 deaths, as of Monday.Anies urged the public show more discipline in following physical distancing measures to help prevent further deaths. “Stay at home, be disciplined about maintaining your distance, Protect yourself, protect your family, protect your neighbors, protect everyone,” he said. “Don’t force the Parks and Cemeteries Agency to record even more deaths. Let’s all be responsible.”Anies has also written a letter to the central government, proposing a city-wide quarantine in line with the 2018 Health Quarantine Law.  The government has yet to announce a quarantine to support regional administrations’ handling of the outbreak. Instead, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said after a meeting on Monday that the government would pursue a policy of “large-scale social restrictions” and stricter physical distancing measures.As of Monday, Indonesia had recorded 1,414 confirmed cases and 122 deaths. (dfr)Topics :last_img read more

first_img Topics : The British Open has been cancelled for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus.The 149th Open was scheduled to take place at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent in July.But with the pandemic ripping the 2020 sporting schedule to shreds, the event has became the first of the sport’s four majors to be cancelled this year. ‘Bigger than golf’ The British Open is the latest high-profile tournament to be axed because of the virus.Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II last week, while Euro 2020 and the Olympics have been pushed back a year until 2021. Ireland’s Shane Lowry won last year’s British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.”Obviously I’m disappointed that I won’t get to defend the Open Championship this year but I feel the R&A have made the right decisions based on people’s health and safety. See you all in Royal St George’s in 2021,” Lowry tweeted.Royal St George’s has hosted the British Open 14 times, most recently in 2011, when Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke won the event.The Open, which started in 1860, was also previously not held from 1915 to 1919 because of World War I.England’s Danny Willett, who won the 2016 Masters, told the BBC: “Postponement or cancellations is something that we have become accustomed to until everyone is safe and safe to do our sport. “It is a shame but there are things bigger than golf at the moment.”Both this year’s Masters and the PGA Championship were postponed in March because of the health crisis and were rescheduled after the British Open postponement.The PGA Championship, which was initially due to be held in May, is now set to be staged from August 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco.The US Open has been moved from June to September 17-20, the week before the Ryder Cup clash between Europe and the United States.The Masters, which usually takes place in April, is now slated to go ahead from November 12-15 at Augusta National. “We have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible. “We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organizations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with.”We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.” Golf’s oldest major will now be hosted at the same Sandwich venue in July 2021.”The Open was due to be played in Kent from 12-19 July but it has been necessary to cancel the championship based on guidance from the UK Government, the health authorities, public services and the R&A’s advisers,” organizers R&A said in a statement on Monday.St Andrews will still host the 150th British Open, but a year later than scheduled in 2022.”Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in the Open. We care deeply about this historic championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart,” R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said.last_img read more

first_imgMicrosoft on Tuesday announced it would invest one billion dollars in Poland to expand its operations, including the creation of a new regional cloud-computing data hub.The US tech giant said it had signed an agreement with Poland’s state-backed National Cloud Operator to provide “cloud solutions for all industries and companies in Poland”, according to a statement on its website.”Another great global player chose Poland to locate its investment, worth as much as $ 1 billion, the largest in our region of Europe,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday on his official Facebook page. “This is another important step on the road to digitization and accelerating the development of the entire Polish economy.”The investment project is expected to last seven years, Microsoft said.Microsoft is among the global leaders in providing cloud services — an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars.As well as charging for the service, cloud operators are able to harvest huge caches data and open up many other revenue streams. Topics :center_img The National Cloud Operator was set up two years ago by the state-controlled PKO Bank and the Polish National Development fund to speed development of the digital economy.Once among the EU’s most rapidly expanding economies, growth in Poland is set to shrink by 3.4 percent this year, according to a revised government projection, down from an expansion of 3.7 percent of GDP forecast prior to the pandemic.last_img read more

first_imgPT Kalbe Farma is bracing for the impact of COVID-19 on its business in the second quarter and hoping to cushion the blow through cashflow management and by making better use of digital channels.Kalbe Farma president director Vidjongtius said that, while the COVID-19 impact was not apparent in the first quarter, it would be more significant in the second quarter with an expected decline in the number of patient visits and limited consumer mobility.“We will take greater advantage of digital platforms as an alternative for our stay-at-home consumers,” the president director said on Monday. Meanwhile, Kalbe Farma has decided to slash dividends on last year’s profit to build up the retained capital to wither the COVID-19 impact.Kalbe Farma will only pay out Rp 937.5 billion (US$62.97 million) in dividends to its shareholders, lower than the initial projection of Rp 1.13 trillion to Rp 1.26 trillion.The dividends are around 37 percent of the company’s 2019 profit of Rp 2.5 trillion, lower than Kalbe Farma’s average dividend ratio of 45 to 50 percent over the years.“We are taking the initiative to increase the company’s cash flow reserve for the year 2020, so that we can weather the impacts of COVID-19 well,” Vidjongtius said.Furthermore, to boost its business, the company also plans to increase the production of a number of highly sought items during the pandemic, including vitamin supplements, jamu (traditional herbal medicine) and health equipment such as masks and protective coveralls.The company booked around 8 percent year-on-year (yoy) growth in net sales at Rp 5.8 trillion in the first quarter, while its net profit grew by 12.47 percent yoy to Rp 669.27 billion in the first three months.In the wake of the pandemic-related disruption of pharmaceutical supply chains, the company also plans to get more involved in the provision of raw materials for the industry as the country seeks to reduce its dependency on imported products.The company is said to collaborate with its longtime partner from South Korea, Genexine Inc., to develop raw materials for biotechnology-based medicines with a future potential of those products turning into export goods, according to Vidjongtius.While refraining from stating company targets for 2020, Vidjongtius expressed optimism about the growth of the pharmaceutical industry as “public awareness of health has increased significantly, at every level, in every region” due to the pandemic.“We have lowered our forecast on KLBF’s [Kalbe Farma] operating costs as we believe KLBF will keep increasing its efficiency at the operating level to support its net profit,” Mirae Asset Sekuritas Indonesia analyst Mimi Halimin wrote in a research note.The note also highlighted that the company’s net profit was forecast at Rp 2.7 trillion this year, a 5.7 percent increase yoy, in line with the management’s target of 5 to 6 percent growth. The company, which is traded on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) under the stock symbol KLBF, unchanged on Monday. The benchmark Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) climbed up 0.08 percent. Topics : The publicly listed company has several digital channels, including, a website that currently also provides services related to COVID-19, such as rapid test arrangement for consumers at risk in hospitals cooperating with Kalbe Farma.The service is currently available in Greater Jakarta and Surabaya, East Java.Meanwhile, through its subsidiary PT Enseval Putera Megatrading, Kalbe also runs digital health distribution services through the EMOS and MOSHEALTH platform, for both businesses and customers to ease the process of ordering pharmaceutical and other health products.“We see the utilization of the existing platforms as a very good option,” Vidjongtius added.last_img read more

first_imgDreams of completing a career “Golden Slam” are likely to remain elusive though. While sister Serena has kept pocketing Grand Slams regularly, it is 12 years since Venus won her last Slam, when she triumphed at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships.And Venus though knows that the clock is ticking.”I probably won’t be playing as long as what I have already played,” she says. “We’ll see how I feel. I still love winning as much, but when it’s over, it’s over.” Topics : When Venus Williams first stepped onto a tennis court in Oakland for her professional debut in 1994, the Rolling Stones were playing a concert next door at a neighboring stadium.Twenty-six years later, Williams, like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, is in no mood to simply fade away.The trailblazing American star celebrates her 40th birthday on Wednesday with the tennis season on pause amid the coronavirus crisis which has decimated the calendar. Highs and lowsWilliams has never been big on admitting defeat however, a hallmark of her early days under the tutelage of father Richard Williams, who drummed into his daughters the maxim that “the ball is never out” — an exhortation to chase down every ball.When Williams does finally call it quits, tennis will bid farewell to one of the greatest players in its history.And even though advances in sports science are increasingly stretching the boundaries of longevity for modern athletes, few players today are likely to match her achievement of a professional career that has spanned four different decades.By now the broad brushstrokes of Williams career are part of tennis lore: the upbringing in the gritty Los Angeles suburb of Compton, the rivalry with younger sister Serena, who has 23 Grand Slam titles to Venus’s seven, the successful comeback after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease whose symptoms include joint pain and fatigue.”I’ve had great moments, I’ve been on the top, I’ve been on the bottom, I’ve been down and out – I’ve done it all and I’ve been equally as happy during all of it,” Williams says.The final years of Williams career have coincided with the emergence of a young crop of African-American tennis players, including Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Taylor Townsend and Coco Gauff.Former US professional turned broadcaster Pam Shriver believes Williams has helped African-American women “to feel there’s a pathway for them to the top of the tennis world.”In recent weeks, Williams has spoken out about the tumultuous protests which erupted in the wake of the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25.Williams wrote in a long Instagram post that Floyd’s death and other incidents had shown that “racism that still pervades America.””This just scratches the surface of the hideous face of racism in America,” she said.”Speaking up about racism in the past was unpopular. It was shunned. No one believed you.”Until you have walked in these shoes, as an African American, it is impossible to understand the challenges you face in the country, in this world.” The former world number one, however, says there is no prospect of her quietly drawing a line under a career which has yielded seven Grand Slam singles titles, four Olympic gold medals and dozens of tournament wins.So, despite the march of time and a recent record of futility — her last singles title came in a WTA Tour event in Taiwan in 2016 – Williams won’t be hanging up her racquet just yet.”You always have to have dreams, so I keep having them,” Williams told the Tennis Majors website in an interview earlier this month, revealing that she still wants to challenge for the French and Australian Opens, the two Grand Slams that have eluded her.”I would like to win Roland Garros. I was not far from it. The same goes for the Australian Open: I was unlucky, I always missed it a little,” Williams said.last_img read more

first_imgUnder Italian law, anyone who negligently spreads an epidemic risks a prison sentence up to 12 years, while anyone who does so willfully may face up to life imprisonment.”It is a way to partially compensate the national law that does not require isolation upon return from a non-EU country if the stay abroad lasts up to five days”, Zaia said during a news briefing which was streamed via Facebook.Zaia’s order says that the person’s employer faces a penalty of 1,000 euros multiplied by the number of its employees, if it does not enforce the rule.The last available data on coronavirus cases released on July 6 for Veneto shows the region had a total of 169 people hospitalized, but it said it was concerned by 28 new infections, of which 15 were related to travel abroad.The spike in cases has attracted widespread interest in Italy, which is one of the world’s worst hit countries with a total of 34,869 dead and 241,819 infected with the coronavirus.Minister of Health Roberto Speranza said on Sunday that Italy is considering compulsory health treatment in cases where a person has to be treated and does not.The Ministry of Health did not respond to a request for comment on Veneto’s move.Topics : People who test positive for the coronavirus but refuse hospital treatment could face a prison sentence under a new regulation introduced in Italy’s northeastern region of Veneto.The order by Governor Luca Zaia says that until the end of July hospitals must tell the public prosecutor’s office of anyone refusing admission after testing positive.Anyone returning to Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, must also be given two compulsory swab tests, Monday’s regional order says if they are returning from a business trip outside the European Union or a non-Schengen country.last_img read more

first_imgIn Henan province, provincial SOEs have been told to expand hiring and reserve at least half the new positions for graduates.”Clearly, initiatives such as this run counter to the idea that China’s SOEs are run on a purely commercial basis,” said Louis Kuijs, of Oxford Economics. SOEs, which enjoy privileged access to certain sectors, have a “special responsibility” at times, he said.Government schemes sending young people to work in less developed areas of China have also been bulked up: one, where graduates help with poverty alleviation and other community support, has 5,000 more places than last year.Thousands more graduates than in 2019 will be granted passing grades in the highly competitive civil service exams, mainly held in the summer. Central Hubei province has increased its quota by more than 40%, while the northern region of Inner Mongolia has more than quadrupled its quota.Efforts to directly soak up labor are limited as China’s private sector accounts for 80% of urban jobs. But SOEs have also been told to help employment indirectly by promptly paying and reducing costs for smaller companies, said Andrew Polk, a partner at Trivium China, a research advisory.SOEs have been pivotal in driving China’s supply-led economic recovery amid the pandemic, although demand has not kept up, Polk said.Pros and consIn a letter dated July 7 to graduates embarking on grassroots work in the far western region of Xinjiang, Xi said he wanted degree holders to “contribute more to the (Chinese Communist) Party, the motherland and the people.”Coveted jobs in “the system” can provide security, status and help getting a more desirable “hukou,” a residential permit linked to access to local public services.”Nothing is more important than stability,” said Joanna Yu, an applicant for the civil service examination in Shandong province.Jiang Zhenxin, who graduated this year, will spend two years working in county-level government in southern Guangdong province.”As a Party member, working in the municipal committee is a way to serve the people,” said Jiang.But the bureaucratic life is not as comfortable as it used to be. Previous perks like gifts from local businesses have been cracked down on amid a years-long anti-corruption campaign.And advancement for ambitious cadres has also slowed, likely to better protect the middle-aged officials who are key supporters of Xi, said Jerome Doyon, a lecturer at Oxford University.”Now is not an ideal time to be a young official in China,” he said. Topics : Graduates, who generally enter the workforce in June or July, face a “severe” situation, officials have said. Available positions for them in the recent pre-graduation spring recruiting season fell by 22% on year, according to BOSS Zhipin Research.While China’s GDP bounced back into growth in the second quarter, surveyed unemployment of graduates aged 20-24 was more than three times the rate for the broader population, rising to 19.3% in June, 2.1 percentage points higher than May.State-owned enterprises, local governments, and public institutions, known collectively as “the system”, are responding to Xi’s call.Oil giant Sinopec Corp is more than doubling its 2020 recruitment numbers, with an additional 3,500 positions for new graduates. China’s thousands of state-owned enterprises, local governments, and public institutions are expanding hiring as a record number of students graduate into a job market left reeling by the COVID-19 pandemic.Around 8.7 million Chinese students are graduating this year, almost half a million more than last year, heading into an uncertain future as private firms rein in recruitment.Job stability for the young is a longstanding political concern in China. President Xi Jinping, who has previously warned that struggling graduates could “turn into negative energy,” is urging more hiring.last_img read more