Plea for masks, gloves as anxious French health workers face virus

first_imgTopics : “We feel like we are going to the front, a little like we are infantry,” said a nurse from the Edouard-Herriot hospital in Lyon, requesting anonymity, who said there was a lack of screening for even the healthcare workers most likely to be exposed. “We are told that we are heroes but we are firstly professionals and above all we want to be protected.”   Mustapha Soussi, doctor in charge of emergencies at the hospital in La Mure in the Hautes-Alpes region, said one practitioner had threatened not to come into work.  “Staff are worried about the lack of masks, we fear possible infection because we are in the front line,” he said.  Fearful health workers across France sounded an alarm Monday over a lack of protective gear as hospitals, with hundreds of coronavirus patients in critical care, braced for an onslaught of new cases.With more than 5,000 people officially recorded as infected in the country and some 400 in serious condition, France is scrambling to slow the spread of COVID-19 by implementing travel restrictions, closing non-essential retail businesses and limiting people’s movements.But there are fears that hospitals could become overwhelmed.  ‘Who will go in our place?’Also on Monday, the country’s National Order of Nurses called for emergency measures to provide protective equipment like masks, eye protectors and gloves to a wide range of health workers, including doctors, pharmacists, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists and midwives.”Health professionals must not become vectors of contamination,” it said in a statement.The nursing group also called for special measures, like shared childcare arrangements, to help boost the nursing workforce. Even with protective equipment, some health workers said they were fearful of the virus. Amarylis, a 39-year-old emergency nurse at the hospital in the southeastern city of Valence said she had just discovered that a 90-year-old patient she had been in contact with over the weekend had tested positive. In her department a colleague has already contracted the disease. Amarylis worries about how to protect her family and has decided not to see her children for 15 days as a precaution. But her fears are not enough to dissuade her from going to work. “If we don’t go, who will go in our place?”   Eva Defix, a 36-years-old emergency nurse at the Puy-en-Velay hospital in southern France, said she was “a little afraid” because the best countermeasure against the new coronavirus is isolation. “We bathe in it permanently, 12 hours in a row,” said the mother of two daughters, three and six. “That inevitably generates anxiety.”Her husband is looking after the children, although she says shared childcare at the hospital and at schools is being offered. Which is good because she expects to work overtime.    Bianca Fazi, an emergency doctor at Ajaccio hospital in Corsica and member of the French island’s executive health council, said emergency doctors are likely to be the least afraid, even though they know the risks. “I’m pretty fatalistic,” she said, but she added that the health system would likely have to carry the strain for a prolonged period. “The epidemic promises to be long.” Concerns over masks, hand sanitizer and gloves were particularly acute among community health providers. “We have zero equipment,” said Kaouther ben Amor, a home nurse in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille and a mother of a little girl. She and her colleagues provide in-home care to some 30 patients.   “I had to beg for masks at the pharmacy,” she said, adding that she was able to buy only 10.  She shared them with a colleague who could not get any because the pharmacies are out of stock and now has to wear the same mask for her entire working day, from 5:30am to midday, and then 3pm to 8pm.   “We are afraid for our patients, for us,” she told AFP. “We are crying out for help because we lack resources.” “But of course, we continue to treat our patients because it is crucial for them — we must take care of them!”Luc Lavaud, a general practitioner in Saint-Georges-de-Mons in the central Puy-de-Dome region said he planned to provide masks and hand sanitizer for anyone arriving at his office with a cough. But he said the plan would only work for so long. “I have 50 masks left. And after that?”last_img read more

Indonesia reports 81 new COVID-19 cases, death toll rises to 38

first_imgThe government, Yurianto said, had been preparing to import chloroquine drugs. Yurianto claimed the medication was potent against COVID-19, although no medicine has been clinically proven to cure the disease. However, medical personnel in several countries have been using the drugs to treat the disease’s symptoms in patients.“Chloroquine is used to treat [the disease’s symptoms], not prevent it; therefore, people should not hoard chloroquine,” the spokesperson said.He went on to say that the government had prepared more than 12 million surgical masks and 81,000 N95 masks for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. “Hospitals needing such equipment should make a formal request to the local health agency.”Yurianto urged people to stay at home and maintain social distancing from others to prevent possible virus transmission. (mfp)Topics : Other regions recording spikes in the number of positive cases were West and East Java with 41 and 11 new ones, respectively.“We have given all this data to the heads of provincial health agencies, who forwarded the data to the hospitals where these patients are being treated,” Yurianto said during a broadcasted press briefing on Saturday.“The data has also been used by health offices in every district as material for contact tracing.”He added that the contact tracing efforts would be followed by rapid testing, which could show results in minutes. The tests, however, were only used for preliminary detection of whether a person had been infected by the coronavirus. Indonesian health authorities have recorded another spike in the number of COVID-19-positive cases in the country, as the government announces 81 new ones on Saturday, with a total of 450 reported nationwide.Health Ministry Disease Control and Prevention Director General Achmad Yurianto said the number of fatalities caused by the disease had also increased to 38, compared to 32 on the previous day. Meanwhile, 20 people had recovered from the disease so far.Yurianto, also the government’s spokesperson for COVID-19-related matters, said Jakarta still recorded the highest increase of positive cases with 44, with the number of positive cases in the capital city becoming 267. Authorities reported 23 people had died of the disease in Jakarta.last_img read more

Almost all business sectors will get tax breaks: Govt

first_imgThe tax breaks will be provided to the following 18 sectors:FoodMining and coalManufacturingElectricity and gasWastewater managementConstructionTradeLogisticsFood and beverage Accommodation providersInformation and communicationsFinance and insuranceReal estateProfessional servicesTravel agentsEducationHealthcare and social activitiesTourism and recreationSource: Coordinating Economic Minister Airangga Hartarto The Tax Office, meanwhile, has announced new tax incentives to boost the supply of medical devices, including tax exemptions for personal protective equipment and medicine manufacturers. More than 20,000 manufacturers have applied to receive tax incentives.Tax Office chief Suryo Utomo said the government would waive value-added taxes, individual income taxes and import taxes for goods and services needed to manage the COVID-19 crisis, adding that the exemptions would be provided to government institutions and hospitals, among others.“This will serve as fiscal support to handle the COVID-19 pandemic,” Suryo told reporters during a teleconferenced press briefing. The regulation took effect immediately and will remain in place for the next six months.According to Finance Ministerial Regulation No. 28/2020, the government will not collect value-added and import taxes from imports of medicines, vaccines, laboratory devices, testing kits, protective gear, patient treatment kits and other COVID-19 related goods.The government will also pay the value-added taxes for services needed to handle the pandemic, including construction and consultation, among other services.As many as 20,018 firms have applied for the tax incentives for manufacturing companies, Suryo said. Around 15,000 applications have been accepted, according to an official document.Indonesia has set aside Rp 436.1 trillion from the 2020 state budget for medical needs, social safety net programs, relief for small and medium businesses, as well as relief for manufacturing and tourism companies to handle the impacts of the pneumonia-like illness that has infected more than 7,135 people as of Wednesday afternoon, killing 616.”Ideally, the stimulus should help all sectors affected by the pandemic to improve their resiliency against crisis,” said Perbanas Institute economist Piter Abdullah. “However, the current stimulus will not be enough to finance the fight against the pandemic.”The government needs to commit at least $70.5 billion to its healthcare, social safety net and business recovery programs, Piter projected. The government is looking to finalize next week Rp 35.3 trillion (US$2.26 billion) in new tax incentives for 18 sectors including those hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic such as tourism and the food and beverage sector. It will also introduce new tax breaks for the healthcare sector.The government is currently formulating the regulation and will finalize it by next week in its fourth stimulus package, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said. The incentives will take the form of individual income tax exemptions, import tax deferrals and corporate tax discounts — similar to those offered to the manufacturing sector in previous stimulus packages. “Almost all of sectors of the economy will receive tax breaks,” Sri Mulyani told reporters, adding that the plan included rolling out tax breaks for micro, small and medium businesses. “Micro, small and medium business taxes will be covered by the government.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

South Korea sees largest spike in virus cases in nearly two months

first_imgSocial distancing rules have been relaxed in South Korea and facilities such as museums and churches have reopened. Some professional sports — including baseball and soccer — started new seasons earlier this month, albeit behind closed doors.Students have been returning to classes since last week, although some schools were forced to turn away their pupils over concerns of new virus cases in their neighborhood.The country endured one of the worst early outbreaks of the disease outside mainland China, and while it never imposed a compulsory lockdown, strict social distancing had been widely observed since March.But it appears to have brought its outbreak under control thanks to an extensive “trace, test and treat” program. Topics : It was the largest increase since 81 cases were announced on April 5.An outbreak at a warehouse of e-commerce firm Coupang in Bucheon, west of Seoul, has seen 69 cases, said the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Around 4,100 workers and visitors to the building were under self-isolation, with more than 80 percent tested so far, vice health minister Kim Gang-lip told reporters.”We are expecting the number of new cases linked to the warehouse to continue rising until today as we wrap up related tests,” he added.center_img South Korea reported its biggest spike in coronavirus cases in nearly two months on Thursday, as officials scramble to tackle fresh clusters that have raised concerns of a possible second wave of infections.The country has been held up as a global model in how to curb the virus and has begun to ease restrictions, but is now rushing to contain new infections as life returns to normal.Officials announced 79 new cases Thursday — taking its total to 11,344 — with most fresh infections from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.last_img read more

Woman’s search for birth parents leads to landmark S.Korea adoption ruling

first_imgThe ruling officially registers Bos as the child of a man who, according to a DNA test ordered by the court earlier this year, is 99.9981% likely her biological father.That designation could entitle Bos to inheritance. The ruling could also lead to more adoptees with limited or no records to apply for South Korea citizenship, according to the Justice Ministry.The man was identified only by his surname, with no contact details and Bos said the family wished to remain anonymous.Bos said with the positive paternity test and the court ruling, the family finally agreed she could meet her father as soon as next week.Long search for answersIn 1983, a two-year-old Bos was found abandoned in a market south of Seoul. Less than a year later, she was adopted by an American family.Bos, who now lives in the Netherlands with her Dutch husband, knew from childhood she was adopted. Her search for her biological parents only began after the birth of her own daughter, who made Bos realize what it would mean to abandon a child at that age.“At that point I realized that there is trauma involved in adoption, and it is much more complex than the saviour story,” Bos said.After several years of searching archives in South Korea, a break came in 2016 when a genealogy website matched her to a young South Korean man, whose grandfather was found to be Bos’ biological father.Bos said she took the case to court after exhausting all other ways of trying to speak to him and his family to find out about her mother.“I even went to one of their houses and begged, literally, on my knees. And they called the police on me.”Bos said she would not sign away any rights to inheritance but her primary goal was to speak to her father and eventually identify her mother.“Without that legal help, I would still be in the dark,” Bos said. “I would still have no options.” Topics : Decades after she was sent for adoption in the United States, Kara Bos’ quest to find her birth parents in South Korea moved a step closer on Friday when a Seoul court ruled that a South Korean man was her biological father.The ruling is the first of its kind in South Korea, which Amnesty International once dubbed the “longest and largest supplier of international adoptees”.It sets the stage for potentially thousands of other adoptees to be officially registered as children of their birth parents, with implications for inheritance and citizenship laws.center_img While laws vary widely from country to country, many jurisdictions are providing more information to adopted children about their biological parents. Advocates say South Korea’s policies remain relatively restrictive.Bos, whose birth name is Kang Mee-sook, broke into tears as she left the courtroom. Removing a medical mask, she said in Korean: “Mom. Can you recognize my face? Please come to me.”Bos is one of more than 200,000 Korean children adopted overseas in the past 60 years, and her struggle to identify her parents highlights the challenges for many adoptees, said Rev. Do-hyun Kim, who heads KoRoot, a charity that works with adoptees.”I think Kara’s journey, Kara’s fight, is meaningful because it reminds us that parents, society, and the state itself has public responsibility to clearly inform a child born in South Korean society about their roots,” he said.last_img read more

Guardiola at a loss to explain Man City defeats

first_imgChampions Liverpool have lost twice in the league all season.”We’re leading in goals. We create a lot of chances,” said Guardiola, who lost a third straight away league game for the first time in his managerial career.”We’re a team who concede less — no team conceded as few chances as us but we lost a lot of games.”It’s difficult even for me to find a reason why but you have to insist and talk about the game, the way they play and try to do more, concede as few as possible and score up front.” Topics : Guardiola backed City to return to winning ways at home against Newcastle United on Wednesday.”I have confidence we can do it because we are the same guys and we did it in previous seasons,” he added.”This season the way we are playing is quite similar but it is not enough to win the games.” center_img Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he is struggling to understand why his team score so many goals and limit the opposition to so few chances but have still lost nine Premier League matches this season.City, who relinquished the league title to Liverpool, lost 1-0 at Southampton on Sunday despite dominating possession (73%) and peppering the Saints goal with more than 20 shots.Striker Che Adams sealed victory for 13th-placed Southampton and condemned City, who beat Liverpool 4-0 in their last game, to a third successive league defeat away from home.last_img read more

KFC, Pokemon, boozing: Aussies fined for breaking virus rules

first_imgAbout 1,500 cases have been recorded since the lockdown began as the city experiences soaring community transmission, with clusters emerging in public housing estates, nursing homes and a school.Despite the rest of Australia sealing off borders with Victoria, a cluster of 34 cases has broken out in Sydney, in neighboring New South Wales state, linked to a popular pub.NSW health officials on Wednesday said the most likely source of that growing outbreak was a man visiting from Melbourne.”We’ve made these links with extensive interviews over multiple public health units,” emergency health manager Jennie Musto told reporters.Police were called in to enforce social distancing Monday after popular US snack chain Krispy Kreme offered free doughnuts to people who had birthdays during isolation, attracting large crowds to its stores across Sydney.Acting NSW assistant police commissioner Tony Cooke slammed the promotion as “nonsensical”.Australia has recorded just over 10,000 coronavirus cases and 111 fatalities. Most states and regions have returned to normal in recent weeks, having reported few or no new daily infections. Pokemon GO enthusiasts and KFC guests are among hundreds fined since Melbourne entered a second COVID-19 lockdown, police said Wednesday.Roughly five million people in and around Australia’s second-largest city have been under stay-at-home orders since last week after a surge in coronavirus infections.In a crackdown on rule-breakers, police in Victoria state have handed out more than 500 fines in six days, totaling Aus$902,000 ($631,000). Among them were two men caught playing Pokemon GO in their parked car, a group who claimed to be “charging their phones” at a friend’s home, and a man who sat down with his meal at a KFC outlet and refused to leave.That came just days after a group was fined Aus$26,000 when their house party was exposed by an unusually large order of KFC.”A particular concern for us is the ongoing parties and gatherings,” acting assistant police commissioner Rick Nugent said.Melbourne residents are only allowed to leave their homes for work, study, medical care or exercise, or to buy essentials.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Poland will not let EU ‘force’ it into allowing gay marriages: Justice minister

first_img“This is bizarre. If you want to get these [EU] funds, you should automatically accept how the EU expects them to be spent, because adhering to the rule of law means adhering to basic human rights and it is about respecting them,” she said.Poland is at loggerheads with the European Commission over several issues, including judicial reforms which Brussels says undermine the independence of the judiciary. The government says the reforms are needed to overhaul the communist-era system. Poland’s justice minister said on Monday the European Union may be in a position to force Warsaw to legalize gay marriage if EU leaders make financial aid conditional on upholding democratic norms, and warned that this was unacceptable.At talks in Brussels on the next EU budget and an economic recovery plan, some leaders have demanded that payouts be blocked to member states which the executive European Commission (EC) deems to be undermining democratic values.Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said this would give Brussels the possibility of “arbitrarily” blocking payments worth billions of euros. “There is a real risk that we may find ourselves in a situation where the EC will effectively force us to introduce the so-called homosexual marriages with the right to adopt children,” he told a news conference.”Well, we cannot agree to this under any circumstances.”The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) came to power five years ago on a pledge to defend traditional family values. Gay marriages are illegal in Poland and President Andrzej Duda was re-elected this month after saying he would not allow adoptions by gay couples or permit classes on gay rights in state schools.Gay rights activist Alicja Sienkiewicz of the Lublin Equality March Association, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said members of the LGBT community were being portrayed as enemies of the state.center_img Topics :last_img read more

EXCLUSIVE: Nadiem says school reopening ‘bold’ but necessary amid ‘education crisis’

first_imgTopics : After previously giving the green light for schools in COVID-19 green zones, or low-risk areas, to reopen in mid-July, the government expanded its school reopening policy to schools in yellow zones, or moderate-risk areas, on Friday.The move sparked criticism from teachers and pediatricians, who called for schools to stay focused on distance learning as they feared that sending children back to school could put them at risk of contracting the coronavirus.Nadiem, however, said that conventional face-to-face learning was, in many cases, the only available option amid socioeconomic discrepancies among teachers and students across the archipelago.He went on to say that, for instance, 88 percent of the country’s least developed regions were considered green and yellow zones, and that they had no option but to reopen schools due to their limited access to decent internet connections and digital communication software. Read also: Decision to reopen more schools draws ire from teachers“There’s always an element of increased risk in doing this, but when we have 50 percent of our population struggling immensely for reasons that are not their fault, […] the gap between them and the more well-to-do parts of the economy could become permanently unbridgeable,” Nadiem said.He called on the public to view the current situation not only as a health or economic crisis, but also as an education crisis that could have lasting repercussions for the future of Indonesian youth.“This is something we need to balance in our considerations and policies, while maintaining as strict a health protocol as possible,” he added.In response to concerns over the health and safety of students returning to schools amid the pandemic, Nadiem said the government had issued an official guideline mandating – among other things – a limit on the number of students allowed to attend classes on a given day and the temporary closure of all extracurricular, nonessential activities.Furthermore, the decision to reopen schools ultimately falls on the parents themselves, he asserted.Official data shows that 57 percent of Indonesian students currently live in red and orange zones, while the remaining 43 percent are in green and yellow zones across 276 cities and regencies.The Federation of Indonesian Teachers Associations (FSGI) previously said that reopening more schools risked creating new infection clusters. The group has received reports of at least 180 teachers and students from across the nation who have tested positive for the virus.center_img Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim has fended off criticism over the government’s decision to allow the reopening of more schools amid the pandemic, defending the policy as a difficult but necessary trade-off to maintain students’ spirit of learning in a time of crisis. “You can consider [the decision] bold in some aspects, but on the other hand, you can also see that we’re a little late,” Nadiem said on Wednesday during the webinar “Educating the Nation”, which is part of The Jakarta Post’s webinar series “Jakpost Up Close”.“We are the second-last to reopen schools out of the 11 countries in Southeast Asia.”last_img read more

PGN seeks to cut 2020 capex by up to 60 percent

first_imgThe company will focus spending on building a new piping system for the 50-year-old Rokan Block in Riau and on exploiting the oil-rich Pangkah Block in East Java.PGN’s parent company, state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina, ordered the new piping system prior to taking over Indonesia’s second-most productive oil block from United States-based Chevron next year.Meanwhile, PGN’s upstream subsidiary, PT Saka Energi Indonesia, is the sole operator of the Pangkah Block that produced 3,024 barrels of oil per day in the first quarter, making it the company’s most productive oil block.Company cash reserves stood at $1.35 billion in March, up 29.3 percent from December 2019, according to PGN’s latest available financial report.Even though oil prices have rebounded since March, analysts expect the international oil price benchmark Brent to remain below $50 per barrel, lower than last year’s average.PGN saw its net profit fall by 31.8 percent year-on-year to $56.48 million in the Jan-March period this year, the report also shows.Topics : Gas distributor PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) is looking to cancel most of its capital expenditure planned for this year to secure its cash flow amid weak global oil prices.The publicly listed company has asked its board of commissioners for permission to only disburse between 40 and 44 percent of the initially budgeted US$705 million in capital expenditure for this year, according to PGN finance director Arie Nobelta Kaban.“We will prioritize [spending] on projects that will generate short-term revenue,” he told the press on Friday, estimating that 10 percent of the budget has been disbursed as of June.last_img read more