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  1. COVID-19: Phase 2 of reopening to start from Jun 19, social gatherings of up to five persons allowed https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid-19-phase-2-of-reopening-to-start-from-jun-19-social-12835758
  2. SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) will cut 96 per cent of its capacity that had been scheduled up to the end of April, said the airline on Monday (Mar 23). The decision was made after the further tightening of border controls around the world over the last week to stem the COVID-19 outbreak, SIA said in a news release. About 138 SIA and SilkAir planes, out of a total fleet of 147, will be grounded as a result. Scoot, the company's low-cost unit, will suspend "most of its network" and will ground all but two of its 49 planes. This comes amid the "greatest challenge that the SIA Group has faced in its existence", the company said. "It is unclear when the SIA Group can begin to resume normal services, given the uncertainty as to when the stringent border controls will be lifted," it said. "The resultant collapse in the demand for air travel has led to a significant decline in SIA’s passenger revenues." https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/covid-19-singapore-airlines-suspend-flights-coronavirus-12566248?cid=FBcna bad year for aviation
  3. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/The-Big-Story/Thai-protests-build-as-pandemic-fuels-unrest-across-Southeast-Asia?del_type=1&pub_date=20201021190000&seq_num=2 Thai protests build as pandemic fuels unrest across Southeast Asia How COVID aggravated inequality and triggered political reckoning across the region GWEN ROBINSON, Nikkei Asia editor-at-large, MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR, Asia regional correspondent and SHAUN TURTON, contributing writerOctober 21, 2020 05:13 JST BANGKOK/PHNOM PENH -- Something changed in the tone of the protests sweeping Thailand when police on Friday turned water cannons on youthful activists in central Bangkok. The confrontation was at a rain-soaked intersection, only meters away from the spot where, a decade earlier, security forces had shot and killed scores of anti-government protesters. The crowd on this stormy Oct. 16 night represented a new generation of activists taking on the ultimate taboo subject: the immense power and wealth of the Thai monarchy. They are led by students, many of them of high-school age, and tonight they were determined to stand their ground. Ploy, a 19-year-old university student, and her two friends braced themselves as jets of blue-tinged liquid hit the crowd. "It stung. We knew then that they'd gone too far, that we cannot let them get away with this," she said. The protesters, unfazed, formed umbrella chains and flashed three-finger salutes, a symbol of defiance drawn from "The Hunger Games" film series. Some supporters on the overpass above dropped umbrellas to the crowd. The young activists had gathered despite a new emergency decree banning gatherings of five or more people, determined to press their demands for reform and to voice anger at the arrest of more than 20 protest leaders, mostly students, earlier that week. The demonstrations -- calling for the resignation of the prime minister, a new constitution and reform of the monarchy -- have steadily intensified, even as the country remains closed to international tourism amid concerns about COVID-19. The latest rallies have drawn tens of thousands of people to locations around the country, as a wave of sympathy grows for the young protesters along with anger at government tactics. Protests have intensified in Bangkok and elsewhere around the country. "The Thai government has created its own human rights crisis," said Human Rights Watch. © Getty Images Immediately after the water cannon attack, three of the top 10 hashtags trending worldwide on social media were about Thailand's turmoil, many prompted by protesters' complaints that the water fired from the cannons was laced with stinging chemicals. Swift denials by police failed to stem condemnation from domestic and international critics, including human rights groups and student bodies. "The Thai government has created its own human rights crisis," said Human Rights Watch. "Criminalizing peaceful protests and calls for political reform is a hallmark of authoritarian rule." An outpouring of international support and sympathy has further energized the young protesters. "Whatever happens next, we've already won. We've forced the government to take us seriously, we've broken the taboo of discussing the monarchy," said Ploy. "This can't go away, it can't go backwards." Fresh moves by the government to censor Thai media in recent days have also backfired, fueling further criticism and a growing backlash against the country's unpopular monarch, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. Street graffiti has recently appeared proclaiming the "Republic of Thailand" -- unthinkable even six months ago. But today, the authorities seem powerless to counter the anti-monarchy tide. Thailand has emerged as a "COVID-19 star" in holding down case numbers -- but its tourism-reliant economy has also suffered among the worst. (Photo by Lauren DeCicca) Standing amid the roaring, densely packed protest crowds, it is hard to imagine that just half a year ago, Bangkok's major thoroughfares were silent and empty amid a deep lockdown, the population more fearful of the COVID-19 pandemic than political repression. COVID-19 and economic hardships have barely figured in the fiery speeches and social media posts of the Thai protest movement. The main issues are political change, democratization and burning anger at the actions of the politicians and military, and displays of royal wealth that now saturate an emboldened local media. Yet, the catalyst has undoubtedly been the long period of lockdown and antivirus measures, resulting in deepening economic gloom, soaring poverty and a growing sense of hopelessness among the 520,000 students who will graduate from Thai universities in coming weeks. A recent survey showed that as many as 80% of them have no clear idea of the jobs they might land after graduation. Ironically, the swelling street demonstrations are also the result of one of the government's signature successes: The young protesters are not afraid of COVID-19. They know that the government has earned international praise for its management of the pandemic. Thailand has been described as one of the world's "COVID-19 stars," with less than 60 deaths and barely 3,700 cases as of Oct. 20. But with its tourism-reliant economy collapsing and economic contraction of more than 10% forecast this year, it has also emerged as one of Asia's biggest economic losers. Thailand is a "victim of its own success" in warding off the coronavirus, said the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, Michael DeSombre. Summing up the government's dilemma, he said the country must find a balance between addressing urgent economic needs and virus prevention. The economic fallout has highlighted Thailand's ranking as one of the most unequal countries in the world. According to Credit Suisse's 2018 "Global Wealth Report," the richest 1% in Thailand controlled almost 67% of the country's wealth. Since 2017, the wealthiest person in Thailand has been the king, who transferred crown property assets into his name following the death of his father King Rama IX a year earlier. Estimates for the vast portfolio of property and shareholdings range from $40 billion to $70 billion. That fact has not been lost on the protesters who are defiantly breaking harsh laws against criticism of the royal family. As politics, economics and social dislocation converge in the escalating protests, Thailand stands as a cautionary tale for the region despite its outstanding public health record. Just as the country is struggling to restore investor confidence, reopen to tourism, rescue failing businesses and support its swelling population of the poor, doubts are being cast on its stability and security. Low cases, high cost Southeast Asian governments have become painfully aware of the trade-offs between fighting the pandemic and shoring up their flailing economies. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 they have experimented with mixed success in re-opening their economies in the absence of an effective vaccine. In Thailand, the closure of borders helped ward off the virus even as it now ravages neighboring Myanmar and prompts fresh lockdowns in the Philippines and Indonesia. But Thailand has paid a high price for its public health success. Within Southeast Asia, the World Bank's growth forecasts for individual countries contain some grim "low case" estimates. Thailand is the worst hit economy with an estimated 10.4% contraction, followed by the Philippines (-9.9%) and Malaysia (-6.1%). Unlike its main trading partners, China, the U.S. and the EU, Southeast Asia's reliance on external markets has made it more vulnerable to the "triple shock" of COVID-19: the pandemic itself, the economic impact of containment measures and reverberations from the global recession. Royal Thai Army soldiers move through Bangkok to sanitize the city in March, passing a portrait of the king. (Photo by Akira Kodaka) The good news for Southeast Asia is that the region has escaped the horrific scale of fatalities and contagion that have befallen the U.S. and parts of Europe, Latin America and South Asia. Within the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, COVID-19 has caused about 19,000 deaths among the 650 million population, although Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar are all experiencing spiraling "second wave" cases. The bad news is that the devastation to people's livelihoods is just beginning, while rising dissatisfaction at the lack of government relief support is evident throughout the region. The regional lockdowns fueled a surge in social media usage, particularly among the young, according to market research hub GlobalWebIndex. The growing activism of youth reflects the "Hong Kong effect," seen in the widespread admiration for the young activists leading the charge against China's tightening grip. Emulating tactics seen in the Hong Kong protests, Thai activists are practicing last-minute "flash mob" demonstrations, rapid dispersals and clever use of social media. Adding local flavor, they have resorted to creativity and satirical humor, such as staging Harry Potter-themed demonstrations and displays of protest art, fashion and music. Whether on the streets or via social media, dissent is growing over social and political fissures exacerbated by COVID-19. Among key issues, critics are targeting worker rights in Indonesia, government and monarchy in Thailand, along with human rights abuses in Cambodia and the Philippines. The issues are diverse but appear to have a common theme, characterized by Thomas Carrothers and Andrew O'Donohue, authors of a report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as a new wave of pandemic-induced "democratic erosion" in South and Southeast Asia. They see social polarization, amplified by the pandemic, as "a serious political disease ... that can tear democracies apart." Equally stark is a warning by the International Monetary Fund of the potentially destabilizing effects of widening inequality. "Specific measures may trigger protests, but rising tensions quickly transform social unrest into a broader critique of government policies," it said in its April Fiscal Monitor report. "People take to the streets because of long-standing grievances and perceptions of mistreatment. High or rising levels of poverty and inequality, particularly in countries with weak social safety nets, can contribute to unrest." In Indonesia, public indignation over lockdown deprivations and lack of official assistance erupted in riots over the government's hamfisted efforts to ease labor regulations and natural resources laws in order to lure investors. With the highest COVID-19 death toll in Southeast Asia, at more than 358,000 cases and nearly 13,000 deaths, the country's 270 million people are facing their first recession since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, with the World Bank forecasting a contraction of 2%. Protesters accuse the government of President Joko Widodo of putting the economy ahead of public health concerns. Adding to fierce criticism by the country's largest trade unions of the proposed changes in labor law, one of the biggest Islamic organizations said the changes would benefit "only capitalists, investors and conglomerates," and "trample" on ordinary people. https://www.ft.com/__origami/service/image/v2/images/raw/https%3A%2F%2Fs3-ap-northeast-1.amazonaws.com%2Fpsh-ex-ftnikkei-3937bb4%2Fimages%2F_aliases%2Farticleimage%2F3%2F2%2F2%2F1%2F30081223-1-eng-GB%2FAP_20273127725480.jpg?source=nar-cms [/img] The Philippines is one of Southeast Asia's coronavirus hotspots -- and has also committed one of its least generous stimulus packages. © AP In the Philippines, also facing its first recession in decades due to COVID-19, criticism has focused on a sharp rise in poverty due to lockdowns and draconian measures, including "shoot to kill" orders issued by President Rodrigo Duterte to enforce quarantine measures. Efforts to quell growing unrest recently saw the violent dispersal of protesters in Manila who were demanding government relief support. A new emergency stimulus package of $3.4 billion ranks at the low end of government relief efforts in Asia, and has failed to stem complaints. According to polling organization Social Weather Stations, the incidence of involuntary hunger has doubled to 16.7% since December and unemployment is soaring. Despite harsh containment measures, the Philippines is just behind Indonesia in COVID-19 cases, with 345,000 as of mid-October, although its 106 million population is less than half the size. In Malaysia, government and opposition leaders have been fighting for power as public criticism has focused on lax public health management, particularly during recent state elections in Sabah. The government has also cracked down on the media, including arrests and raids on organizations for reporting on harsh treatment of migrant workers. "As the country navigates a political crisis and a pandemic-stricken economy, young people in Malaysia have become increasingly impatient and frustrated with the state of their country's leadership," noted commentator Crystal Teoh writing for The Diplomat. "Although Malaysia has yet to see a youth-led movement as large and widespread as ... in neighboring Thailand, it bears careful observation as Malaysia moves in the direction of a possible snap election" in the near future, she said. In Myanmar, critics among the country's 22 million social media users are protesting the impact of renewed lockdowns on the poor ahead of Nov. 8 elections. As campaigning has moved online, Facebook accounts have shown "an increase in hate speech and disinformation about parties and candidates," warned the U.S.-based Carter Center, which is monitoring the poll. The prospect of a deeply flawed election, according to author and historian Thant Myint-U, "won't help Myanmar address any of its big challenges: violent conflict, climate change, inequality and underdevelopment." A resident of a semi-locked down alley looks on in Mandalay, Myanmar. © AP In Cambodia, which has recorded barely 300 cases of COVID-19 and no deaths among its 16.25 million population, international human rights groups have accused the government of using the pandemic as a pretext to intensify repression of human rights and environmental activists. The government arrested more than 30 Cambodians from January to April for allegedly posting fake news and has jailed 19 activists and artists since July. Human rights groups said the moves were an attempt to curb dissent over the administration's handling of the pandemic and its economic impact. Sweeping new cybercrime laws have dampened but failed to silence growing complaints on social media. In much of Southeast Asia, the protests have been dominated by the middle class, whether young or old. The irony is that the region's most vulnerable people -- slum dwellers, migrant workers, the rural poor and sex workers -- remain voiceless. "You are not really seeing the extreme poor speaking out on social media or on podiums at protests," said a Southeast Asian diplomat. "With a few exceptions, much of the dissent is ideological. ... t's about freedoms, politics, censorship, you can see it on social media. In cases like Thailand, the people protesting are largely those who can afford to protest; but sooner or later economic hardships will become a key issue, on the podium and on the streets." Degrees of debt The deepest dilemma for many under-resourced governments in Asia lies in growing pressure for stimulus spending to shore up the economy and help the most vulnerable sectors. The average spend by Asian governments on pandemic-related welfare programs has barely reached about 1% of GDP -- against Europe's 16%-plus. In Southeast Asia, with its threadbare social safety nets, the biggest question is about raising debt levels and increasing budget deficits. In Thailand, where emergency stimulus spending equals nearly 15% of GDP, government debt has risen from 41% to 57% of GDP. Indonesia has also seen its government debt rise from 30% to 37% of GDP. The region's governments have taken a mixed approach to emergency relief. Some, such as Cambodia and Myanmar, have offered little, while Malaysia and Thailand have earned wide praise for their efforts. Overall, the East Asia region spends a tiny amount on social protection measures compared to many others, highlighting what the World Bank's chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific, Aaditya Mattoo, sees as a gaping shortfall, even post-pandemic. "We are reminded yet again that the rich can telecommute, the poor cannot; the rich can self-isolate, the poor live in slums; children of the rich can do online classes, the poor cannot; the rich have savings, the poor do not," he said. Even with increased relief spending, World Bank figures showed that by August, government assistance across the East Asia and Pacific region had reached less than one-quarter of households whose incomes fell and only 10% to 20% of companies that requested assistance since the pandemic began. In its latest economic report on East Asia and the Pacific region, issued in early October, the World Bank forecast that 38 million more people in the region will fall below the poverty line this year as a result of COVID-19 including 33 million who would otherwise have escaped poverty and 5 million who will fall back below the line. Some economists believe the figure could be more than double that. But even the lower estimate swells the ranks of those living on less than $5.50 per day to 517 million -- a reversal of the steady improvement in recent decades. The numerous victims also include those suffering from what the World Bank calls the "third shock" after the pandemic itself and the resulting global trade slowdown. At the frontline of that shock are the young, particularly women. In Southeast Asia, they are bearing the brunt of the harsh impact on Asia's job market, according to the International Labor Organization. Nearly 85% of youth employment in the Asia-Pacific is provided by the informal economy, the sector most exposed to the pandemic-related downturn, according to the ILO. As regional labor markets dry up, "the catalyst for change will likely begin with Southeast Asia's disenfranchised youth -- younger populations that are now unemployed and tired of the region's endemically ineffective governance," writes Daniel P. Grant, a Southeast Asia specialist, in The Diplomat. Regardless of age, there is also a new, barely visible category of vulnerable people, mainly in the lower middle-class. They belong to what could be termed the "new COVID poor," said Mattoo. "They are not part of the usual poverty registry, they are not captured," he said. They include small and midsize enterprise owners as well as midlevel managers, the self-employed and tens of millions of people who rely on the informal economy. "Essentially, across the spectrum, people are getting poorer. ... All the while, new inequalities are emerging as old ones are being sharpened as a result of COVID-19 and containment measures," he added. Across the region, decades of hard-earned economic development gains have been wiped out - in some cases turning the clock back to the days of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Even in countries providing pandemic-related assistance, many of these "new poor" will not qualify for social welfare handouts or emergency schemes. While Southeast Asia's middle class was one of the signature success stories of the global economy in the 21st century, their lifestyle is now threatened by rising debts. Some may have to sell a house or car, close a company, pay off employees, move their children from private schools to state education or other measures. Their problems are reflected in the sharp drop in household incomes since the pandemic began, averaging 50% to 60% across the region, and surging household debt, which in Thailand alone is now approaching 90% of GDP, from 80% in March. Even in Vietnam, among the few Asian countries expected to grow this year, a wave of bankruptcies prompted the recent headline: "With new COVID-19 battle, Vietnam's middle-class dream deferred." In a stark example of the problems facing small businesses, a survey by a group of Thailand-based tourism and hospitality companies in May found that its 85-plus members had retained only 2% of staff on full salaries, with 67% on negotiated reduced salaries, 17% furloughed and 14% laid off. Many cited the urgent need for financial assistance, and said special soft loans from commercial banks were "difficult to impossible to access." More than two dozen interviews by Nikkei Asia with mid-level managers and small business owners across Southeast Asia found that those still employed had to accept forced pay cuts, with no reduction in working hours, while the self-employed and business owners feared potentially permanent closures. Ty Champa, a manager at a boutique hotel in the Cambodian tourist town of Siem Reap, said she had been suspended from work since April, leaving her with no means to support her extended family. "I've never experienced something like this in my career. Everything's going downhill. I don't know how long I can last with this situation, or how to repay my bank loan," she said. Saichon Siva-urai, who owns a traditional Thai massage shop in Bangkok's Sathorn district, said he suspended his entire staff after the government imposed a shutdown of massage parlors, and struggled to meet expenses such as monthly rent of 50,000 baht ($1,603). "I had no cash in hand, so when the business stopped my income dried up," he said. Although the ban has been lifted, he doubts his business will survive much longer. An emptied-out Soi Cowboy in Bangkok, a normally lively red-light district. (Photo by Lauren DeCicca) "You try and you try. We came out of severe lockdown, but business didn't recover -- I had to pay rent and staff. You reach a point where you just give up," said Somboon Chaiwath, who recently closed his Bangkok restaurant. "The trouble is in rebuilding -- I went back to my hometown, I don't have the resources or heart to go back to Bangkok and try again." From 40 million international visitors last year, tourist arrivals to Thailand have plunged to virtually zero this year. The forecast for next year, assuming that borders reopen, barely exceeds 6 million arrivals. Revenues from both domestic and international tourism have also collapsed, from about 2 trillion baht to barely 350 billion this year, as many hotels face closure, indicating that domestic tourists cannot make up the shortfall. In recent interviews, workers in the informal and formal economy in the region revealed the scope of the "invisible" crisis that has affected migrant workers -- many left stranded and jobless amid evaporating promises of compensation. Many said they were unable to access or qualify for social welfare schemes; most had returned to provincial home towns if they could. Governments are facing "difficult trade-offs," said the World Bank's Mattoo, warning that "significant expenditure on relief or a consumption-supporting stimulus may leave an indebted government less equipped to invest in infrastructure and hence growth." How governments distribute the burden of public debt across individuals and over time -- through indirect taxes, income and profit taxes, inflation or financial repression -- will matter for economic growth and distribution, and for future generations, Mattoo noted. More important, as regional leaders are keenly aware, how they deal with a restless population, emboldened by events in Thailand, Hong Kong and elsewhere, reeling from economic hardships and increasingly critical of their governments, will determine the future -- not just of economic recovery but of regional stability and social cohesion. In the absence of fresh ideas, unintentionally prescient advice for those leaders could well lie in the words of embattled Thai Prime Minister Prayuth, who said in an August address: "The future belongs to the young. Let the young lead the way ..." Additional reporting by Nikkei Asia staff writers Yuichi Nitta in Yangon and Erwida Maulia in Jakarta.
  4. Msia 18th to 30th march -total ban on public movement and mass activities -all businesses and places of worship closed except for shops and supermarkets -total ban for all overseas travel -self quarantine 14 days for those returning to Malaysia -total ban of foreign visitors -closure of all kindergarten, schools, colleges -closure of all except essential services water, transport, oil & gas, electricity, health, emergency services
  5. With the situation escalating by the day and the other thread moving 2Fast2Furious, we have decided to start this thread to share / highlight critical information relating to the virus outbreak and important health tip for easy reference by all MCF readers. We urge all to post only official information and useful tips from reputable sources to maintain the "tidiness" of this thread. Any post we deem unfit for this thread will be deleted or shifted to the other thread. Thanks in advance for your cooperation. @pChou @BabyBlade @kobayashiGT Please feel free to add other criteria to this thread and we shall regulate it from time to time. As a rule of thumb, NO tcss here... Some useful websites for official information: Ministry of Health - Updates on Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Local Situation World Health Organization - Novel Coronavirus 2019 The Straits Times - Wuhan Virus Outbreak Channel News Asia - Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak Singapore Government - Wuhan Coronavirus Updates Singapore Government - WhatsApp Push Notification Some useful tips for protect yourself and others from getting sick. More will be added in due course.
  6. As per topic title, how many of u are rescheduling or canceling holiday plans due to the virus or still proceeding? Just receive email from Scoot about rescheduling air tix. What are the airlines that are offering rebooking at no charges?
  7. So I just read these two articles consecutively. Very reassuring lol. One wrong move, and there goes the whole of China all over again. ST: Despite official figures, Wuhan continues to find new asymptomatic coronavirus cases daily https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/despite-official-figures-wuhan-continues-to-find-new-asymptomatic-coronavirus-cases?utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=STFB&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR2zuDoEfkCBbQWkN5vNLkOy_G0SmzFAiEaWILxFA7G44OexYRFN2uE_a38#Echobox=1585025147 CNA: COVID-19: China to lift travel curbs on Hubei province, including Wuhan https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/china-coovid19-coronavirus-lift-travel-curbs-hubei-wuhan-12570658?cid=FBcna Here's the two articles: ST: Despite official figures, Wuhan continues to find new asymptomatic coronavirus cases daily BEIJING (CAIXIN GLOBAL) - Despite official figures reporting few to no new domestic Covid-19 cases on the Chinese mainland in recent days, authorities continue to detect more infections, with those in the city at the heart of the country's outbreak often amounting to more than a dozen a day, Caixin has learned. According to a member of the infectious disease prevention and control team in Wuhan, every day the city continues to record "several or more than a dozen asymptomatic infected individuals", which are people that have tested positive for Covid-19, but do not feel ill and are excluded from published numbers. As of Sunday (March 22), Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, had four consecutive days of zero new "confirmed cases." The person, who asked not to be named, said that these asymptomatic people are found by tracing the contacts of others who are infected and by screening quarantine workers who are at high risk of infection, as opposed to en masse testing. "It's not possible at the moment to tell if transmission has stopped," the person said. As reported new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 have dwindled, China has moved to send home the teams of medical personnel it brought in from across the country to assist hospital workers in Hubei. Between March 17 and 20, some 12,000 medical personnel departed the province. But the infectious disease prevention and control team has stayed behind, after Hubei's provincial Covid-19 task force on Friday ordered it to remain until central authorities say otherwise, Caixin has learned. According to a person at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, this team of specialists was kept in Hubei because the central government continues to feel unease about the situation in the area, in part because of the presence of asymptomatic individuals. Since February, the Covid-19 prevention and control policies issued by the National Health Commission (NHC) have stipulated that asymptomatic infected individuals are not considered "confirmed cases" and that their numbers should not be released. However, given numerous studies suggesting that this group is infectious, the NHC has required that, once detected, they be subject to a 14-day quarantine and lab testing, recategorising them as "confirmed" cases only in the event they develop symptoms. Caixin previously obtained data that showed Northeast China's Heilongjiang province had 480 "confirmed cases" on Feb 25, but had also discovered 104 asymptomatic infected individuals that it left off the public tally. A March 6 preprint - a study that has not yet been peer-reviewed - by Chinese and American researchers suggested that asymptomatic cases and those with mild symptoms could account for at least 59 per cent of Covid-19 infections, potentially undetected and fuelling its spread. Considering Wuhan is the epicentre of China's epidemic, "there's still a lot that needs to be investigated and traced", the infectious disease prevention and control team member said. CNA: COVID-19: China to lift travel curbs on Hubei province, including Wuhan BEIJING: China's central Hubei province, where the deadly coronavirus first emerged late last year, is to lift travel curbs after two months under lockdown, local officials said on Tuesday (Mar 24). Healthy residents will be allowed to leave the province from midnight Tuesday. Travel restrictions for leaving Wuhan will be lifted on Apr 8, and people will be able to leave on the basis of using a health code The announcement as China reported 78 new cases of the deadly coronavirus on Tuesday, with the vast majority brought in from overseas as fears rise of a second wave of infections. The first new case in nearly a week was also reported in Wuhan - the epicentre where the virus emerged last year - along with three other local infections elsewhere in the country. Seven more people died, the National Health Commission said, all in Wuhan. There have now been more than 81,000 cases in China, and the death toll has reached 3,277. As the country tries to control imported cases, there are signs of normality beginning to return to Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province. Travel and work restrictions in the province have been gradually eased and Chinese President Xi Jinping made his first visit to Wuhan earlier this month. Wuhan residents considered healthy can now move around the city and take public transport if they show identification, and they can also go back to work if they have a permit from their employer.
  8. This is what happens if a country who is doing well in managing the Chinese Virus starts to relax and let it's guard down. And isn't it too late for the Prime Minister to "calls for immediate prosecution of undocumented immigrants". We need to remain vigilant at all cost. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Vietnam-tightens-border-control-as-new-coronavirus-cases-emerge?utm_campaign=RN%20Subscriber%20newsletter&utm_medium=daily%20newsletter&utm_source=NAR%20Newsletter&utm_content=article%20link&del_type=1&pub_date=20200727190000&seq_num=2&si=%%user_id%% Vietnam tightens border control as new coronavirus cases emerge Prime minister calls for immediate prosecution of undocumented immigrants Vietnamese border guards wear masks at the Huu Nghi crossing with China on Feb. 20. © Reuters TOMOYA ONISHI, Nikkei staff writerJuly 27, 2020 15:49 JST HANOI -- Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked local authorities to impose tighter controls on illegal immigrants from neighboring countries as the Southeast Asian nation, which has won praise for effectively containing the coronavirus, confirmed its first new locally transmitted cases in three months in the city of Danang. Phuc on Monday called for authorities in the central Vietnamese city to take strong measures to prevent the spread of any more cases. "We must have a decisive attitude, otherwise we [Vietnam] will fail in this anti-epidemic campaign," Phuc said in an online meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control with authorities in Danang. The prime minister asked authorities there to implement social distancing throughout the city starting from the afternoon. "Nonessential services must be stopped," Phuc said. "We have not used the 'lockdown' word for Danang yet, but there must be a level of social distancing." He also called for stronger actions in that regard than the city itself announced Sunday. Phuc's concern came after Nguyen Thanh Long, the acting health minister, in a meeting with the government on Saturday said a 57-year-old man from Danang who tested positive for COVID-19 had no record of traveling outside the country. Local media reports quoted the official describing that case and three other confirmed infections linked to the city as being "imported to the city of Danang." But at a government meeting Monday, Long said there is not enough evidence to confirm that the four new cases have the same source of infection, suggesting the possibility of multiple avenues and even that the outbreak may have started in the community. But he stressed that the virus in the newly confirmed patients is a different strain compared with ones already existing in Vietnam, strongly suggesting it came from outside the country. Following the announcement, critics in both mainstream and social media said Chinese immigrants illegally entering Vietnam by land and skipping necessary prevention measures as well as Vietnamese returning from China should be taken into account as the possible source of the local transmission of the virus. Vietnam shares land borders with countries including China, Laos and Cambodia. The one with China, where the pandemic originated, stretches more than 1,200 km. Thanks to strict quarantine and aggressive social distancing measures, the Southeast Asian country has managed to keep its virus total to only 420 cases with zero deaths as of Sunday. But it has found a hole in its defenses in the form of illegal immigrants from its neighbors. The new case in Danang ended a run of 99 days with no locally transmitted infections. Hanoi currently allows international charter flights to bring Vietnamese home from overseas as well as for foreigners entering the country, but all arrivals are required to follow stringent measures to avoid the spread of the virus. So far, new imported cases made public have all been detected at airports. Vietnam requires all people entering the country to stay in mandatory quarantine for 14 days, during which they will be tested for the virus several times. Quarantining and testing are free for everyone. After medical officials confirmed the new case in Danang, Phuc said at a cabinet meeting in Hanoi on Saturday that authorities must as a deterrent swiftly punish anyone who helps bring immigrants into Vietnam illegally. He also called for immediate prosecutions and fast trials for all cases related to the activities of bringing foreigners to Vietnam illegally and "widely publicize the information to the people." Phuc also asked his cabinet to stay on high alert. "The Ministry of Public Security and the People's Committees of all provinces and cities have to identify all illegal immigrants to put them under medical surveillance and issue fines to these undocumented immigrants in accordance with current regulations," he said. The government on Saturday also asked the ministries of national defense and public security to continue with strict border controls, especially at crossings and border gates, with illegal entrants to face stiff penalties. On Sunday, the Health Ministry reported three more locally transmitted infections, bringing new cases inside the country to four over the weekend. Two of the people are in serious condition. Danang again imposed social distancing measures from noon on Sunday, banning gatherings of more than 30 people. Residents and visitors are asked to stay 1 meter apart and wear masks in public spaces. The city has canceled all events that draw crowds. Meanwhile, the capital, Hanoi, requested that people who recently returned from Danang self-isolate at home and report any fevers. Shops selling medicine are required to report those who purchase medicine to relieve fevers. Authorities are also tracking down everyone who came in contact with the four new patients, three of whom are in the city while one who visited it has returned to Quang Ngai Province, south of Danang. The number who had direct contact rose to more than 200, while those with indirect contact totaled more than 1,000. Local authorities have been ramping up efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants over the past few months. On July 5, border guards in Quang Ninh detained five Chinese nationals accused of illegally entering Vietnam to gamble, according to provincial authorities. On July 19, law enforcement in the town of Dien Ban in Quang Nam Province arrested 21 Chinese who are believed to have entered Vietnam along small paths along the border to seek jobs. On July 16, up to 24 Chinese nationals were found entering Danang illegally. That forced the city's police to examine 14 local households accommodating foreigners, as well as 374 guesthouses, hotels, home stay locations, rental houses, resorts and apartments in a mass search for Chinese nationals in the city. The mission found two dozen Chinese were staying illegally in the city on Saturday. Vietnam cannot tolerate even a small number of COVID-19 cases because its health system is fragile and may struggle to handle an explosion of infections, according to a political analyst who declined to be named. "Hanoi remains on high alert because it needs to avoid the spread of the coronavirus until next January," he said, referring to scheduled voting for key Communist Party, National Assembly and government posts. "Safety, stability and unity before the election are the top priorities of Vietnamese leaders at this time."
  9. Meanwhile, whilst Covid is still around.... https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53218704?at_custom3=BBC+News&at_custom2=facebook_page&at_custom4=1148D5C6-BA40-11EA-8D3C-B0574D484DA4&at_custom1=[post+type]&at_campaign=64&at_medium=custom7&fbclid=IwAR2-uNadmc3vl1cGIdkvNFnXCF8mA6cY3f-7uWIKozZcqCs80Ds9gX5mhTU&fbclid=IwAR3s4A_HIa0m1GFExTdWKfOxTuNiOd7zp_8Yp7p17dZDXx9jA0vmKr13-14 Pandemic threat A bad new strain of influenza is among the top disease threats that experts are watching for, even as the world attempts to bring to an end the current coronavirus pandemic. The last pandemic flu the world encountered - the swine flu outbreak of 2009 that began in Mexico - was less deadly than initially feared, largely because many older people had some immunity to it, probably because of its similarity to other flu viruses that had circulated years before. Coronavirus: This is not the last pandemic Does the UK have coronavirus under control? Worst could be 'yet to come' in coronavirus pandemic That virus, called A/H1N1pdm09, is now covered by the annual flu vaccine to make sure people are protected. The new flu strain that has been identified in China is similar to 2009 swine flu, but with some new changes. Media captionSearching for viruses in Thai bats - watch scientists collect samples from the animals in order to look for clues about coronaviruses So far, it hasn't posed a big threat, but Prof Kin-Chow Chang and colleagues who have been studying it, say it is one to keep an eye on. The virus, which the researchers call G4 EA H1N1, can grow and multiply in the cells that line the human airways. They found evidence of recent infection starting in people who worked in abattoirs and the swine industry in China. Current flu vaccines do not appear to protect against it, although they could be adapted to do so if needed. Prof Kin-Chow Chang, who works at Nottingham University in the UK, told the BBC: "Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses." While this new virus is not an immediate problem, he says: "We should not ignore it." Prof James Wood, head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, said the work "comes as a salutary reminder" that we are constantly at risk of new emergence of pathogens, and that farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses.
  10. StreetFight3r

    Expats feeling the heat in Sinkapore

    https://goodyfeed.com/expats-job-losses-pay-cuts/ Expats leaving Sinkapore due to redundacies Reminds me of the AMDK at Robertson Quay
  11. Social distancing has been heavily emphasized by all countries across the globe. This is a term relatively new and alien term to many of us, not just Singaporeans. We're used to queuing up like sardines in a tin can. What does it really mean for us Singaporeans? Restaurants and businesses have tried to place tape markings to demarcate queues, some have halved its tables and chairs at various outlets. But do Singaporeans really know how to work with the markings given? Some of the markings are too near due to space constraint and are not slots for you to stand in, they are supposed to provide safe distancing for you to stand at least 1m apart. Post the social distancing measures you've observed in this thread. First two correct, the rest wrong. Bad example (pic taken from our Minister CCS's fb page) Social distancing in a wedding. Tables further apart. Lesser people in one table. Social distancing in Our Tampines Hub. Honestly should just cancel this. Just watch movie at home this period la. Our Tampines Hub has also been actively telling people not to stay home, join the outdoor/family activities. A little irresponsible this period of time, sending the wrong message across. Many of us laugh at this arrangement. Will you adhere to this? If the lift is too packed, how? Wait for the next one lor. Or walk down the stairs if you're heading down. Why squeeze? Zero social distancing at Shake Shack despite the tiny black markings on the floor. Minimal social distancing observed for the first two. After that, who cares? 😫 Social distancing in Chinatown. Pretty hard isn't it? Toast Box? Social distancing is about standing at least 1m away from each other. The lines are not slots for you to stand in. Stand on or as near to the front line as possible so the person behind you can do the same. The authorities can't babysit us in every aspect. If you're queuing up for food, make a conscious effort to keep a distance from the next person even if there's no marking on the ground. If someone is standing too closely to you, step aside or ask the person to watch his or her distance. If the restaurant is too packed and nobody is adhering to social distancing, go to the next, do takeaway, call food delivery (ask the rider to place the food outside, minimize contact) We can make our own judgment, right? Most importantly, if you are unwell, stay home, see a doctor. Practice good social responsibility.
  12. CB easing measures in 3 phases details out Added by BB Circuit breaker to end June 1 with three-phase resumption of activities | Schools to reopen on June 2 | Visits allowed to parents, grandparents
  13. The World Health Organisation (WHO) released new guidance for governments looking for exit strategies beyond existing lockdown measures. For many countries currently under lockdowns which have crippled or stalled economies, the answer of when and how to ease restrictions has not been easily answered or forthcoming. “We understand that these countries are now trying to assess when and how to ease these measures,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The answer depends on what countries do while these wide measures are in place.” Six criteria were identified in WHO’s guidance document to ensure that governments would be able to manage a controlled and deliberate transition from community transmission to a steady state of low level or no transmission. Any government that wants to start lifting restrictions must first meet six conditions: Transmission of Covid-19 is under control Health systems and public health capacity are able to detect, test, isolate and quarantine every case and trace every contact Hot spot risks are minimized in highly vulnerable places, such as nursing homes Preventive measures such as physical distancing and hand washing in workplaces have been establised Controlled and managed risk of new import cases from travellers Populations are fully engaged, understand and empowered to live under a new state of “normality” There must be a gradual process to prevent a cycle of new outbreaks. “You can’t replace lockdowns with nothing,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme. “We don’t want to lurch from lockdown to nothing to lockdown to nothing.” “We need to have a much more stable exit strategy that allows us to move carefully and persistently away from lockdown.” WHO has said that in most countries, it is too soon to get back to normal. Ending lockdowns prematurely in an attempt to restart economies could result in the reemergence of infections. There are currently more than 2 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide and more than 130,000 people have already died. https://codeblue.galencentre.org/2020/04/16/who-countries-need-to-meet-6-conditions-to-end-lockdowns/?fbclid=IwAR30p_2zYQjm0e7pVUI6AXY-OQ1l8h2jozomgaE3qwnEF9zpLyh3Tmae-8U After seeing all the crazy spikes and explosive nos pop out all across Asia, Europe, United States whats more interesting is how countries are executing their exit strategies from this pandemic. Meanwhile in SG our fight has just started So far countries already eased restrictions/planning to China South Korea New Zealand Vietnam? Germany Norway Switzerland USA
  14. From 14 to 28 June, DENSO Singapore and its partner workshops are providing FREE DENSO Cleverin Treatment Service for car owners with no purchase required! What is Cleverin? Cleverin, developed by TAIKO, which uses chlorine dioxide to suppress viruses, bacteria and odour components at a molecular level which is able to kills and eliminates 99% of the bacteria and viruses in the air using chlorine dioxide gas. Who need Cleverin? Stocks for their Cleverin cartridges are limited and therefore, free Cleverin service will be on a while stocks last basis. Book your appointment now with DENSO partner workshops here. List of Participating Workshops Chun Jie Motor Services (Kaki Bukit) 2 Kaki Bukit Ave 2, #01-14 Kaki Bukit Autohub, Singapore 417921 H-Tyre (Bendemeer) 46 Bendemeer Rd, Singapore 339931 Ricardo Auto Centre (Sin Ming Autocity) 160 Sin Ming Drive #02-02/03 Sin Ming AutoCity Singapore 575722 Shell Autoserv (Sengkang Branch) 61, Sengkang Road, Singapore 545015 Tomika Auto Air Conditioning (Ubi) Blk 3023A Ubi Road 1 Singapore 408717 *Free Cleverin service only available in the morning (11am slot) Tomika LLP (Bukit Merah) BLK 1010 Bukit Merah Lane 3 Singapore 159724 *Free Cleverin service only available in the afternoon (3pm & 5pm slot) Bando Auto.com (Bukit Batok) 1 Bukit Batok Crescent #03-04 Wcega Plaza Singapore 658064 New Luck Car Air-con Enterprise (Kaki Bukit) Autobay @ 1 Kaki Bukit Avenue 6 #02-07 Singapore 417883
  15. So we have reached the time where most of us need to stay indoors.. Many of us have access to streaming facilities, so what are you watching or listening to? Do you have a Covid playlist? If you're in UK, these two are quite apt. The UK landscape of empty streets is quite eerie.. 28 days later? 28 weeks later is quite apt for UK.. For USA: I am Legend Omega man: And those related to virus spread: The CLOSEST to the truth Contagion: Outbreak: Amazing how they can generate a plasma vaccine sample in an hour...
  16. 10, 20 years from now, we want to remember the faces behind the success of defeating COVID-19. No doubt about it, we will win the fight against the virus. Here's a thread out of the many COVID-19 ones, to remember the people behind our success. From Doctors, Nurses, Cleaners, Social Distancing Ambassadors, SPF, SAF, SCDF, NEA, ICA, MFA ... Let's share stories about these angels. Here's one from NCID to start. Inside Singapore’s COVID-19 screening centre, on the front line against the disease As the number of cases continues to rise, it is all hands on deck at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, where doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers screen hundreds of patients daily. SINGAPORE: At the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) screening centre, one important part of the defence against the pandemic has been none other than ice cream. Charmaine Manauis is hardly joking when she says that. She is the lead consultant in infectious diseases at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s emergency department, which is in charge of the screening effort. “Ice cream is important; it makes us happy. You see everyone — they have ice cream, they perk up,” the doctor said about her colleagues, and herself. “Plus, it’s hot inside the personal protective equipment. So they love eating ice cream (in the pantry) during their break.” She is certainly not kidding about feeling the heat under their yellow gowns, shower caps, gloves, goggles and N95 masks, which they wear throughout their seven- to 10-hour shifts, except during breaks. “When I remove my yellow gown, I’m usually drenched. It’s really hot,” she said. “When I remove (my mask), then I feel as if I can breathe again.” That is how it has been for the staff running both the TTSH emergency department and the NCID screening centre in the time of the coronavirus. And it is not just emergency doctors who are seeing to the suspected COVID-19 cases. While their department used to have about 20 doctors on shift at any time in the day, it has been a whole new ballgame since Chinese New Year. Hundreds of doctors across different specialities in the hospital — from urology to ENT (ear, nose and throat) to plastic surgery — are being mobilised for training so they can carry out COVID-19 duties too. Since Singapore’s first confirmed case on Jan 23, more than 400 doctors from the hospital have been rostered to work at the NCID screening centre across the road. And the one co-ordinating their training is Manauis, the senior consultant leading the screening efforts — as CNA Insider finds out in an inside look at the frontline battle against COVID-19. GETTING WIND OF THE VIRUS ON HOLIDAY The 42-year-old as well as her boss — Adjunct Assistant Professor Ang Hou, head of the emergency department — were on holiday in December when they first heard of a mysterious disease in Wuhan. “I said, ‘Hm, this might be something.’ So when I came back, the department had already started screening,” recounted Manauis. “We started screening for (travellers from) Wuhan on Jan 2.” That was the day Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that it was monitoring the pneumonia outbreak closely, and sent a circular to medical practitioners here. Whispers of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) started “floating around” TTSH. “We were SARS central back in 2003, so that’s never left the DNA of the department,” said Ang. “You can’t help but relive memories that you’ve been through, especially when you know your colleagues and your friends had been affected very deeply.” The possibility of a second coming did not surprise him, however. “We were always anticipating something like COVID-19 ... We knew that it wouldn’t be a matter of if, but when,” he said. “We knew that by the time it were to come from Wuhan to Singapore, it would’ve been ... a significant outbreak in the world or at least in this part of the region.” The department started screening for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in a “very small, dedicated space”. But even “way before” Singapore’s Disease Outbreak Response System Condition alert was raised to orange, the number of people coming every day “was growing to a scale that we had to move out of (that) physical space”, he added. As the rest of the country wound down for Chinese New Year, furniture had to be moved in, and computers set up, for the NCID screening centre to be activated. “It was a very busy Chinese New Year for a lot of people, not because we were going around celebrating but because we were preparing for the next phase in screening,” said Ang. By Jan 29, the screening centre was up and running round the clock. FROM SCREENING CENTRE TO TENT Those first few weeks of the centre’s operations were “really hectic” for Manauis. “We were on call 24/7. Every Saturday, we’d train (staff). During the week, we’d look at protocols — we’d look at whether our processes were working well, whether we had to manage any choke points in the screening centre,” she recounted. One of those choke points were the X-ray rooms. “If the screening centre was full, then there’d be a queue for X-rays. And so we’d need more efficiency, more radiographers,” she said. Based on the travel history and the chest X-ray results, the doctors had to decide whether the patients had to be warded or could be discharged. For those who needed admission, those were uncertain times. They had many questions. “How long will I stay? What tests will they be doing for me upstairs? How about my family? Do they need to be admitted too?” cited Manauis. The numbers coming for screening kept rising until the load “became quite difficult at one point”, said Ang. That came about when the MOH changed the definition of a suspect case, following the transmission of the coronavirus at a health products shop visited by Chinese tourists. “That led to a lot of patients being referred by their doctors for screening because they’d come into close and frequent contact with travellers from China,” said Ang. “A lot of people in various industries came in, whether they were taxi drivers, tour bus drivers, people who worked in tourist attractions or hotels, airports and casinos. They were all flooding in.” So, after consulting the ministry, TTSH proceeded to swab and discharge these patients, “to conserve beds for patients who were really ill and needed treatment”. Then there was “a strange point in time”, when the number of people coming for screening and the cases confirmed as positive slowed down, even as the numbers were picking up in the rest of the world. “We knew that the numbers would go up sooner or later,” said Ang. “We knew that the screening centre might not be able to cope ... so we made the decision together with the ministry to set up a tentage, to expand the number of places available.” That ended up being the case. On March 23, the TTSH team screened the highest number of people until now: More than 520. “We call it the most terrible Monday,” said Manauis. “The patients came in the afternoon and at night. And at night, we have less manpower. We had to open the tentage until 3am, with a lot of patients having to wait a little bit longer. So that was a struggle.” MIGRANT WORKERS A NEW CHALLENGE There are still hundreds of patients screened daily, although the challenge as of late is not the numbers but the space needed, as the spike has been among migrant workers, and the tent outside the screening centre is “perennially full”. “For these foreign workers, we need to wait for swab results before they can be discharged (if they test negative). So we need a bigger waiting area for them,” said Manauis. “After that, they have to wait for transport also, to bring them back to their dorms. So they can wait for as long as, probably, 18 (to) 20 hours.” WATCH: An exclusive look inside the NCID screening centre (Dur 5:20) While there are now Swab Isolation Facilities like the CherryLoft chalets — where the workers can be sent after their nose swabs — these facilities “are quite full” nowadays, she added. The workers are otherwise unable to self-isolate. "Every day, we’d have to ask whether there’s any vacancy, and then they still need to wait for an ambulance or dedicated transport." While there is swabbing done at the dormitories now, some of the workers need to go to the screening centre depending on their symptoms. If they complain of chest pain or have difficulty breathing, for example, then they need an X-ray, a blood test or an electrocardiogram. As long as they are symptomatic or have had close contact with a positive case of COVID-19, they should be swabbed. An MOH circular sent on Thursday has also updated the swabbing criteria for everyone. Anosmia — the loss of the sense of smell, either total or partial — is now one of the symptoms to look out for, cited Manauis. “There were (research) papers that came out, and there were positive cases which presented only with anosmia,” she explained. The other symptoms still include fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat and gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea or vomiting. Since she started on TTSH’s clinical protocols and work instructions for COVID-19 screening and infection controls, Manauis has developed 61 versions for the staff to follow. There is also a workflow for the foreign workers from dormitories, which is at version 17 now. IN FOR THE LONG HAUL She has also trained nine batches of doctors from various departments, with as many as 51 physicians in a batch. They work a 10-day cycle as part of a group of more than 100 people, including nurses and other healthcare workers, running the screening centre. Most of them, even senior specialists, are volunteers, and some have done more than one rotation, although each department is also supposed to contribute a certain amount of manpower. “Screening is very different from what they do every day. So it wasn’t a surprise that they were a little bit apprehensive. But they were very willing to help out,” said Manauis. She is grateful for all the support. At one of the training sessions this month, she told the doctors: “We really need your help on the front line. On behalf of the emergency department, I thank you guys for volunteering.” The thing is, her department is not only working at the screening centre, but also attending to the usual emergency cases. To do this, the staff have cancelled their leave and reduced their days off. “You just have to do your work. I go day by day — whatever needs to be done, needs to be done,” she said with a shrug. “Everyone’s made sacrifices, not only me or not only the doctors ... But we do this willingly because we know that this is our job.” The emergency cases are tended to in a different zone, although that does not mean the staff necessarily get to dispense with personal protective equipment. The forward screening triage nurses, for example, must wear the full equipment. “Sometimes walk-in patients ... are close contacts (of a COVID-19 case), so we have to protect our frontline staff,” said Manauis. To protect the patients as well, one of the changes made is to ensure that they queue at least two metres apart. This, and many of the current arrangements in the emergency department, could be in place for some time. “For those of us who’ve been here for a while, who’ve gone through other outbreaks, we know that, potentially, it’s going to be long-drawn,” said Ang. “It could affect some of our own members — that the memories of SARS come back — and I think it might hit those (employees) a little bit harder.” When asked on Friday about her team’s morale, Manauis, who has been with TTSH for 15 years, gave a cheerful reply. “We’ll try our best to ... help the nation, especially now that (the number) of positive cases has been increasing,” she said. “We’re still okay. We still have ice cream, so we’re happy. I mean, you’ll need to try and pace yourself because we know that this is going to stay for a few more months.” https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/inside-singapore-covid-19-screening-centre-defence-disease-ncid-12656312?cid=fbcna&fbclid=IwAR2aRtq_Z2MAo0V4ZhWSMMaT9GnvC_-dupS3ZWBKls8QOzPkW7931n7Pa0M
  17. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/razer-covid-19-face-mask-manufacturing-line-singapore-12597834?cid=fbcna SINGAPORE: Singapore gaming company Razer announced plans on Wednesday (Apr 1) to set up an automated face mask manufacturing line within 30 days to produce "a couple of million certified masks" each month. Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang announced the plans on his Facebook page at about 9am, calling on Singaporeans or Singapore companies to buy the first US$50,000 worth of masks off the line. He made another post four hours later, saying three companies - Frasers Property, JustCo and PBA Group - had agreed to each commit US$50,000 to purchase masks. "It’s pretty awesome to see fellow Singaporeans stepping forth to support our efforts," wrote Mr Tan. "Now I just need to go figure out how to get the line up," he added. In a separate press statement released by Razer on Wednesday, the company said that it had initially converted existing product manufacturing lines in China to make and donate masks for immediate relief, with initial shipments going out earlier this week. However, the company had been "inundated by requests due to an extreme shortage of face masks and PPEs", particularly in Southeast Asia, and decided to set up a line in Singapore. "Many of the face masks in the market are not properly manufactured, do not meet certification standards and offer little or no protection to the users," said Razer in its release. The company said that its masks will be "certified to Singapore and international standards" and used to supply both the local and regional market. A Razer spokesperson said separately that the masks will be "standard three-layer face masks". “The COVID-19 virus situation has had an immense impact around the world," said Mr Tan in the press release. ”Everyone at Razer understands that we all have a part to play in combating the pandemic, no matter which industry we come from.”
  18. https://mothership.sg/2020/03/never-follow-stay-home-notice/ From Mar. 20, all travellers entering Singapore will be issued a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN). People under SHN have to remain in their place of residence at all times. But one man in Singapore not only went out for bak kut teh the day he touched down, but posted that he was “feeling fantastic” about it on Facebook. The man identifies himself as a photographer in his profile. In the comments, plenty of Facebook friends were seen calling him out for flouting his SHN. The photographer then replied that his SHN hasn’t started, as he was allegedly told by the customs officer that the following day would be Day 1. However, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH), this is because the day of touchdown is considered Day 0 — which is also the day SHN commences. In fact, one friend was so upset that he made a Facebook post out of the above screenshots. According to this friend, the photographer had returned from Myanmar one to two days ago. The post was uploaded on the morning of Mar. 24, and deleted on the same night. Myanmar confirmed its first two cases of Covid-19 on Mar. 23, both of who are imported cases. Is this man for real? He thinks that Day 0 is not counted in SHN? It will be funny if he goes to jail because of this🤣
  19. Many companies are resorting to cohorting, where one team works and another remains at home. Others have reduced the workplace exposure by having some do work remotely. Trips have been cancelled but some companies have asked workers to consume their annual leave. So what are you doing with the extra time? What new food have you tried? Taken up any new hobbies?
  20. Too much MCU/Avengers ar Almost had to double confirm isit really on Gov.sg lol.... In a parallel world, the Virus Vanguard is the advance guard in our COVID-19 battle. The team is fighting on multiple fronts, an essential strategy to keep the enemy and its cronies at bay. Get to know them here: Circuit Breaker is a highly advanced robot piloted by a 12-year old girl, Mini Moh. Backstory: The girl was volunteering at a nursing home as part of school CIP when one of the patients took a particular liking to her. She then gave the 12-year old a tiara which, when worn, will unleash a humanoid machine – Circuit Breaker. Powered by solar energy, Circuit Breaker is a biomorphic entity with Mini Moh controlling it through neural signals. Mini Moh is sharp with her words (to hide her insecurities) but has a soft heart. Abilities: Hypersonic speed of up to Mach 5. Can control any digital equipment with a chip in it within a 50 km radius. Can achieve lossless data compression ratio of up to 1000:1. Weakness: Solar power storage of up to 48 hours. Fake News Buster wields the Mallet of Truth and wears a suit with force enhancing nodes to generate power when knocking sense into people. Otherwise, he is Felix, a corporate cog data cruncher in his late 20s. Backstory: Felix was a flat earth believer until he failed his geography in secondary school and could not follow his girlfriend to the same JC. Devastated, he denounced flat earth and all things fake. With his single-minded focus to study and memorise all the world’s information, he became a walking supercomputer, and a legit Fake News Buster to eliminate what he deems to have cost him his ultimate love. Abilities: Walking Wikipedia and Google combined. Able to decipher big data and cull out facts or known truths. Weakness: Maps or anything resembling a map (including suspicious-looking birthmarks) will render him into a temporary state of catatonia. MAWA Man enforces safe-distancing (Must Always Walk Alone) as he repels people and objects far apart. To his friends, he is Manzoorakkaman (Man Man for short), a sports super agent in his late 30s. Backstory: Man Man is a fanatical Manchester United fan who grew up in the 80s when Liverpool kept winning titles and he was constantly taunted by his two Liverpool fan brothers. This made him despise everything Liverpool including their motto You’ll Never Walk Alone (YNWA). His hatred for Liverpool so far exceeds his love for Man Utd that it manifested as a telekinesis power in MAWA Man to push objects and people through his eyes. Abilities: Repelling power to push objects and people back, aided by a digital distance meter through his eyes. Uses a special helmet he invented to control the magnitude of force and calculate other tech stuff. Weakness: Cannot stop Man Utd fans from gathering as he will be compelled to join them. Dr Disinfector can detect the presence of any virus or bacteria and she dons an exoskeleton suit with extended multi-appendages to eradicate and disinfect. Ordinarily, she is Darshita, a microbiologist at Singapore Clinical Research Institute in her mid-20s Backstory: Darshita graduated summa cum laude from MIT with double degrees in chemical science and microbiology at the age of 14. A failed experiment during her doctorate studies caused her to shrink to the size of a microorganism. Her colleague then unwittingly flushed her down the toilet. She survived the ordeal and returned to normal size. But the trauma caused an extreme OCD towards cleanliness and her senses became ultra amplified which made her perfect as Dr Disinfector. Abilities: Able to detect virus and bacteria through sight, smell and even sound from the vibration of their movement. Wields a multifunctional treatment gun with various capsules containing antidotes and boosters. Weakness: Cheesecake. Care-leh Dee (pronounced Care Lady) uses empathy to absorb all negativity, or to send torrents of powerful emotions to her target. Not ordinary even in person, she is Diyana Amperthee, a female trillionaire philanthropist of unknown age. Backstory: Diyana made her trillions from prudent investments and then decided to go for a year-long meditation experience in the remote mountains of Kathmandu. She got trapped during an avalanche and during the two-month ordeal, which she survived, she attained unusual enlightenment to become Care-leh Dee, having gained the ability to feel exactly what others around her feel. Abilities: Able to make others feel better, and also understand how others feel through telepathy. Temporarily absorb negative energy and thoughts. Levitation. Weakness: When she absorbs negative energy, she needs to meditate to purge it from her vessel otherwise it may harm or kill her. https://www.gov.sg/article/battling-the-virus
  21. https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/wuhan-virus-likely-to-have-much-wider-and-deeper-impact Wuhan virus likely to have 'much wider and deeper impact' China's economy and its trade with Singapore and the rest of the world have grown enormously since the Sars outbreak in 2003: Chan Chun Sing THE Wuhan virus outbreak is likely to have a much wider and deeper impact on the world economy than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) episode of 2003, and Singaporeans need to be mentally prepared for this, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Sunday. Mr Chan was speaking to reporters during his visit to Oasia Hotel Downtown, where a 73-year-old Chinese national had stayed before testing positive for the coronavirus. He said: "I've heard a lot of people comparing this episode with the Sars episode many years ago in 2003. I think we shouldn't do that kind of direct comparison... Comparing 2003 to now, China's GDP (gross domestic product) has gone up by about four times. Our trade with China has also increased by nearly four times." China's GDP as a proportion of the entire world's GDP has more than doubled since 2003, from 9 per cent then to more than 19 per cent today. Mr Chan added: "The impact of any disruption to the Chinese economy and the supply chains is likely to be a much wider, much deeper impact because of the interlinkages with the global economy, and certainly with the Singapore economy." It is too early to say exactly how big the impact will be. But as the rest of the world progressively tightens their border controls, there will be "serious implications" on tourism and other industries, including manufacturing, Mr Chan said. On Friday, Singapore announced that it will bar anyone with a Chinese passport from entering the country, with exceptions made for Singapore permanent residents, those on long-term passes, and those who can show they have not been to China recently. Other visitors who have been to mainland China within the past 14 days will also be denied entry. In the 13 hours since these travel restrictions kicked in with effect from 11.59pm on Saturday, 15 travellers have been refused entry to Singapore. The bans do not affect existing work pass holders, although about 30,000 work pass holders who are of Chinese nationality left Singapore over the Chinese New Year break and have not returned, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Sunday. These work visa holders, who would be required to go on a 14-day leave of absence when they return to Singapore, make up less than 1 per cent of the work force here, she said. Chinese tourists account for around 20 per cent of Singapore's total international visitor arrivals, with about 3.6 million visitors to Singapore in 2019. To dampen the punch for tourism businesses, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced on Sunday that it will waive licence fees for hotels, travel agents and tourist guides. It will also defray enhanced cleaning costs of hotels that provided accommodation to confirmed and suspected cases of Wuhan virus infections. Mr Chan promised that the measures taken by STB to support affected businesses will be followed by a wider relief package that will be unveiled in the Budget speech on Feb 18. For example, some tour agents and F&B businesses have been very badly hit because 80 to 90 per cent of their business comes from the Chinese market, Mr Chan noted. "Even beyond the tourism related industries, what people are most concerned with is cash flow," Mr Chan said, noting that the ability of businesses to support jobs depends on their survival. "Companies have also asked if we can help them with temporary bridging loans. This is something that we are studying to see how to help them with their cash flow." The Ministry is also studying how it can help defray costs for the aviation sector while maintaining air connectivity between Singapore and China, he said. Mr Chan added: "For the taxi industry and the private hire industry, we will be looking into measures to see how we can help the drivers alleviate some of the temporary cash flow issues that they have at this point in time." He reassured Singaporean businesses and Singaporean workers that "we stand together with them", adding: "We do have the means to help them tide over this difficult moment, but we must do this with a long-term perspective. We must make sure that whatever we do is sustainable because we are not sure how long this crisis will last. "We must be mentally prepared, psychologically prepared that the impact of this, compared to Sars could be wider, deeper and longer."
  22. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/exhausted-dutch-minister-leading-coronavirus-fight-quits-12558254 Not meant to be a political thread. but just want to give thanks to the man in charge of overseeing the situation in sg. The face of COVID-19 in Sg is that of National Development Minister Lawrence Wong. Maybe nt noticed by many before the task force was setup, surely well noticed by all now. Not an easy task to be the one delivering all the bad news every day. From dorscon orange, to the panic buying situation, to announcing all the new travel advisories, pleading with sgreans not to go overseas this period, taking questions from the press, being asked tough questions like will sg be seeing triple figures soon since 47 cases recorded, still kept a calm face throughout. speaks well, good english, measured response. stil cannot escape from all the negative responses from public saying wayang etc but majority of sgreans dont thinklike that... lawrence wong has been seen as the main person overseeing all the press conferences instead of our health minister. sai gang warrior. i give credit where credit is due. it is a stressful job this period. wish him best of health. http://theindependent.sg/lawrence-wong-gets-high-marks-from-netizens-for-coronavirus-crisis-response/ Singapore— National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs a multi-ministry task force specially formed to combat the coronavirus outbreak, has quietly been winning over many Singaporeans for how he has handled the crisis, with even normally critical netizens calling him “nuanced,” “measured,” and “better than the rest of the team.” People have even noted how the tech-savvy minister uses his smartphone as a tool during press conferences. Some have even called for him to be the next Deputy Prime Minister, and there are those who have compared other ministers to Mr Wong quite unfavourably.
  23. A passenger who died on a bus in China has tested positive for a completely different virus than COVID-19 — one more fatal that often produces very similar symptoms, according to state-run media. The unidentified victim from Yunnan province died while on a chartered bus heading to his workplace in Shandong province, the state-run Global Times announced in a tweet Monday. “He was tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on bus were tested,” the outlet stated, offering no further details. The suggestion of a new virus starting just as China starts lifting its strict quarantines from COVID-19, which originated in the Asian nation, sparked panic among many on social media, with #hantavirus trending. However, experts were quick to point out that it is not a new virus — and has only rarely thought to have been passed between humans. “The #Hantavirus first emerged in 1950s in the American-Korean war in Korea (Hantan river). It spreads from rat/mice if humans ingest their body fluids. Human-human transmission is rare,” Swedish scientist Dr. Sumaiya Shaikh tweeted. “Please do not panic, unless you plan to eat rats,” she stressed. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said hantavirus is rare — but put the death rate at 38 percent. Symptoms may occur up to eight weeks “after exposure to fresh urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents,” the CDC says, noting it can occasionally also come from bites from infected rats or mice. The symptoms in many ways mirror those reported from the novel coronavirus — with sufferers reporting fevers, headaches, coughing and shortness of breath. One patient likened it to “a tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face,” the CDC said. That is almost identical to what those with COVID-19 have reported, with Rep. Ben McAdams recently saying he “felt like I had a belt around my chest.” Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome became a “nationally notifiable disease” in the US in 1995, but there have been no known cases transmitted between people, the health group says. “In Chile and Argentina, rare cases of person-to-person transmission have occurred” in the case of one strand named Andes virus, the CDC says. “There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection,” the CDC warned, saying patients often need intensive care to “help them through the period of severe respiratory distress.” “Therefore, if you have been around rodents and have symptoms of fever, deep muscle aches, and severe shortness of breath, see your doctor immediately,” it warns. https://nypost.com/2020/03/24/man-who-died-on-bus-in-china-tests-positive-for-hantavirus/
  24. Hi all. This is a question I've been asked by a couple of you who are concerned about your upcoming holiday trip - whether you should postpone your trip or not. I'm aware there's another thread regarding flight cancellations but I'll start this one here to share more about my FIRST Bali trip and in particular UBUD! This will include itineraries and tour operators! But I'll update slowly as I've just returned to work and have emails and work to clear. We'll talk about the Changi Airport situation first. - I had a 5am flight. Took a Grab to the airport with my friend. Driver wore a mask, but was coughing! He was really friendly to help with our luggage though. Wished him well when we alighted. - Inside Terminal 1 (flight was Jetstar), about 50% (my estimation could be wrong) of the people wearing masks, this is comparatively higher to the heartlands where it's about 30%-40% wearing masks? - Auto-dispense Sanitizers (sensor type) readily available at the auto check-in counters. Everything was normal except we exceeded our 15kg sole check in luggage by 5kg (it was 20kg). Spent the next 30 mins trying to unpack and repack to 15kg. What a bummer. - Immigration, thermal scans. Few people sitting behind the thermal scanners/monitors watching you as you make your way towards immigration. For me, it was also my first time using the iris and facial ID for immigration clearance on my new passport. Times like these, it's also much more hygienic than thumbprint scan. After we cleared immigration, it was pretty much normal. Normal in the sense you can feel the seriousness in the air (virus scare) but at the same time, everything is normal but you take extra precautions. You see more people masking up, you see people using hand sanitizers proactively etc. 4am shops closed, nothing much to do. For me personally, I masked up just before boarding the plane. Flight to Bali was about 70% filled. You see empty seats here and there. Air crew didn't wear masks. Tough job. Huge respect to them! On the plane I refrained from touching anything onboard the plane other than the seat belts and the window shades when it got too sunny. I would sanitize my hands after each time. Used to like to go through the inflight magazines as well to kill time, didn't do it this time. What surprised me was the number of Caucasians wearing masks. In Singapore, you see lots of ang mohs tourists not masking up but in the airport, a good percentage of them actually masked up. It may or may not be effective against the virus but I guess we're just doing it for peace of mind, even if it's just a false sense of security. Whatever floats your boat you get what I mean? We're also handed a declaration form regarding the COVID-19. This is required by the Indonesian immigration. Basically to state if you've been to China for the past 14 days. Landing in Bali Never expected the Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport to be this big and modern! Again, thermal scans just before immigration, and also you have to hand in the COVID-19 declaration form, and in return you're given a COVID-19 paper. I see it as declaring us as COVID-19 free? Lol. The way I see it, the checks being done felt the same as Changi Airport. I don't see Singapore as being more stringent or anything like that. Heard immigration officers asking another Singaporean if she's been to China. Apparently she was there for a holiday in December but left in January 22nd or something like that. He asked her things like why were you there, etc. Think he cleared her in the end. So yeah that's about the experience at Changi, onboard the plane and Bali airport. Medications I bought for the trip I have sinus every morning and also I catch a cold quite easily on a flight. Didn't wanna be mistaken for having COVID-19 symptoms so I bought medications. - Afrin Nasal Spray ( I use at least 2 hours before the flight) - Zyrtec-R (Take 2 hours before flight) - Panadol Sinus Max - Panadol Cough & Cold - Berocca - VapoDrops (Just in case my sinus acts up mid flight) - Panadols - Kool Fever Cooling Gel Sheets for adults - Mozzie coils - Insect repellent - Mozzie patch - Ru Yi You (my middle name is lao sai queen) So I went on this trip fully aware Bali could already have infections. We all know Zero is impossible. But at the same time, already booked so it's a bit wasted if cancel right? Besides you can catch the virus in Singapore too. It's just a number game and to do with probability. You can only try to practice good hygiene as much as possible and as much as we can remember. Gonna continue with the Bali itinerary later. Back to work! TOTAL MASKS USED FOR THIS ENTIRE 5 DAYS TRIP - 2! (One for plane to Bali, one for plane ride back to SG)
  25. SINGAPORE - The popular and iconic Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar, which the People's Association (PA) organises, will not be returning this year, in the light of the coronavirus situation and the need to practise social distancing in public venues. In response to queries from The Straits Times, a PA spokesman said on Wednesday (March 18) that it is also cancelling the other Hari Raya festive bazaars it usually organises. "For the well-being and safety of our residents, the PA will not be organising festive bazaars and trade fairs with effect from March 18, 2020. This includes the annual Hari Raya Bazaars organised at Wisma Geylang Serai as well as at Our Tampines Hub and in Woodlands," said the spokesman. "As the festive bazaars contribute to the festive mood, we understand that some residents may be disappointed. However, as our bazaars attract large crowds, we have taken the difficult decision not to proceed with these activities." The month-long festive bazaars held during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan across the island attract large crowds. The bazaars are known for the wide variety of food sold, festive clothes and household decorations. In response to the growing number of Covid-19 cases here, and to prevent community spread, the Government on March 13 had announced that all ticketed cultural, sports and entertainment events with 250 participants or more were to be deferred or cancelled. It also issued an advisory on social distancing in public venues, and to defer or cancel all non-essential events and gatherings. Earlier this month, it was reported that the PA had opened a new tender for this year's Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar at the Wisma Geylang Serai social and cultural heritage hub. This tender, which closed on Monday, attracted bids by Adex Group and separately, Corpbiz Events. PA had opened a tender earlier but this was closed on Jan 17 without the tender being awarded. The latest tender document uploaded on government tender portal Gebiz included mitigating factors in which stall owners were required to take to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including social distancing and cleaning programmes. Vendors were also required to check the temperature of their workers every day. The plan was to reduce the number of stalls at the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar from 800 to 50, and grouped in clusters of four with each stall set 10m apart. But on Wednesday PA announced the cancellations. The spokesman said that for trade fairs that are ongoing, the operators have put in additional precautionary measures such as temperature taking and providing hand sanitisers. "For festive bazaars where tenders have been awarded, the organisers will abide by the cancellation clauses and look after the interest of the tenderers," added the spokesman. Last year, about two million people attended the bazaar at Wisma Geylang Serai - the highest ever number recorded for such a bazaar. It surpassed the 1.8 million visitors the year before. The bazaar encompassed the field behind Wisma Geylang Serai, the Tanjong Katong Complex and Haig Road area and the areas around Joo Chiat Complex and Geylang Serai market. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/coronavirus-all-ramadan-bazaars-by-peoples-association-including-geylang-bazaar-cancelled?utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=STFB&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0vS8VP23iVdBhJhRSJMdiqgywLFH_Akqg66Erl_NB4E-guFS17a6_X9Hs#Echobox=1584510095 GOOD DECISION
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