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COVID-19: Warning issued as cases in U.S. states rise while tapering off in B.C.


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The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said there are 183 active cases of the disease, with 16 in hospital of whom four are in intensive care. Those numbers continue to fall.

There have been 2,659 cases reported since COVID-19 appeared in B.C. in late January, and 167 deaths.

The contacts of the people who most recently became ill have all been traced.

Henry said there have been no new outbreaks in health-care settings between noon Friday and noon Monday. There are four active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living facilities.

She said health authorities are working on plans to allow families to start visiting relatives in long-term care homes and that would likely begin in the “coming weeks.”

The outbreaks at Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry and Superior Poultry have ended.

Henry said summer travellers need to be respectful of any community they visit and to practise social distancing.

Dix said B.C. has received 4.8 million N95 respirators, two million sets of goggles and 30 million sets of gloves since the state of emergency was declared on March 18.

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China coronavirus infections rise as some Spanish companies prepare to restart work | World news


China has seen a rise in Covid-19 cases along its northern border with Russia, as some Spanish factories and construction sites are preparing to resume work amid other continuing restrictions.

On Sunday China’s national health commission reported 108 new infections, the highest number in more than five weeks, surpassing Saturday’s 99, which was nearly double the 46 reported on Friday.

All but 10 of the cases were imported, and seven of the local infections were in the Heilongjiang province, a northern region where authorities are increasing restrictions and monitoring after a rise in people with Covid-19 crossing the Russian border.

China Russia map

Heilongjiang’s capital, Harbin, as well as the border city of Suifenhe – which is under some Wuhan-style restrictions – now require all arrivals to quarantine for 28 days and undergo testing. Under the new restrictions, residential units in Harbin – where people have been confirmed to have the virus, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic – are to be locked down for 14 days.

Suifenhe was one of the few routes for people to return to China from Russia after Russia stopped all flights and closed its land border to incoming traffic in late January and early February.

Hubei province, where the outbreak began, again recorded no new cases, but two deaths in Wuhan.

In Europe, Italy and France reported a drop in deaths in the past 24 hours – with Italy, the European nation most afflicted by the disease, reporting its lowest toll in more than three weeks.

Some Spanish companies will resume operations on Monday, at the end of a two-weeks halt to all non-essential activity. The country’s death toll has fallen over recent days, but as a small bump in deaths was reported on Sunday, the prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, warned that the locked-down country was “far from victory”.

“We are all keen to go back out on the streets … but our desire is even greater to win the war and prevent a relapse,” he said. “General confinement will remain the rule for the next two weeks and the only people allowed out will be those going to authorised jobs or making authorised purchases.”

The move to allow some business to resume has drawn criticism from some sectors, which fear infections will rise again. Those returning to work have been advised to maintain social distancing, and face masks will be handed out in metro and rail stations.

“I want to be very clear: we are not entering a phase of de-escalation,” Sánchez said. “The state of emergency is still in force and so is the lockdown. The only thing that has come to an end is the two-week extreme economic hibernation period.”

Italy is expected to let more businesses begin operating on Tuesday.

In the US, Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday night to angrily deny accusations that he rebuffed advice to implement physical distancing measures as far back as February, describing the New York Times, which printed the allegations, as a “fake” paper.

Donald J. Trump
(@realDonaldTrump)

The @nytimes story is a Fake, just like the “paper” itself. I was criticized for moving too fast when I issued the China Ban, long before most others wanted to do so. @SecAzar told me nothing until later, and Peter Navarro memo was same as Ban (see his statements). Fake News!


April 13, 2020

Trump’s top medical adviser on the pandemic, Anthony Fauci, appeared to confirm the allegations, which said he and other administration officials recommended physical distancing measures in February but were rebuffed for almost a month.

Fauci told CNN that “there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then”.

In the same CNN interview, Fauci said any gradual economic re-start in the US would be dependent on rapid and widespread testing. “Once the number of people who are seriously ill sharply declines, officials can begin to think about a gradual re-entry of some sort of normality, some rolling re-entry.”

Fauci believed this could happen in some places by May, but cautioned that easing restrictions would result in more infections. “I mean, that is just reality.”

He said he believed that if there was a “good, measured way of rolling into the steps towards normality”, then people would hopefully be able to vote in the 3 November election “the standard way”.

Current social distancing measures in the US are due to expire on 30 April.

The global number of confirmed cases has passed 1.85 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. There have been more than 114,000 deaths globally, including 19,899 in Italy, where the fatality rate has started to slow.

In other developments:

  • Germany’s number of confirmed coronavirus infections has risen by 2,537 to 123,016. That was lower than a 2,821 increase reported on Sunday and marked the third decline after four days of increases. The reported death toll has risen by 126 to 2,799.

  • Top oil-producing countries agreed Sunday on “historic” output cuts in a bid to boost plummeting oil prices due to the new coronavirus crisis and a Russia-Saudi price war.

  • Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to accept the resignation of his interior minister over an abrupt nationwide lockdown that triggered a spate of panic-buying.

  • Boris Johnson was discharged from hospital and thanked the NHS for “saving [his] life”.

  • The UK government is facing mounting criticism over its coronavirus response, particularly over its failure to secure enough personal protective equipment and tests for NHS and care workers, as the country’s death toll passed 10,000. It followed a warning that the UK could end up with the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe.

  • Thousands of displaced Syrians began returning to Idlib, some driven by fear of the spread of coronavirus to camps near the Turkish border.

  • China vowed to improve treatment of Africans in the southern city of Guangzhou following international pressure. Facing accusations of discrimination linked to the pandemic, China said it rejected all “racist and discriminatory” remarks.





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Peers hand themselves an inflation-busting 3.1 per cent pay rise hiking their daily tax-free pay to £323 – The Sun


PEERS are handing themselves an inflation-busting 3.1 per cent pay rise in April — hiking their daily, tax-free pay to £323.

The move comes after the House of Lords decided to link allowances to MPs’ pay increases.

 Peers have handed themselves an inflation-busting 3.1 per cent pay rise, which will hike their daily tax-free pay to £323

1

Peers have handed themselves an inflation-busting 3.1 per cent pay rise, which will hike their daily tax-free pay to £323Credit: AP:Associated Press

But in contrast to MPs, peers do not pay income tax or National Insurance.

Critics also point out that MPs’ pay is linked to average weekly earnings in the public sector.

Peers receive expenses on top of the allowance for every time they are in the upper chamber.

The House of Lords is due to sit for around 150 days this year, so peers could get nearly £50,000.

With inflation at 1.4 per cent, TaxPayers’ Alliance boss John O’Connell said: “This looks like a plum deal for the Peers but a rum deal for the taxpayer.

“These allowances are meant to cover costs of working in Westminster to make sure the best can serve, not to offer the Lords and Ladies a large tax-free increase.”

But a Lords spokesman said: “Between 2010 and 2018, the daily allowance was frozen.

“In the last decade, the House of Lords daily allowance has increased by 4.3 per cent.

“In that same period, the salaries of MPs went up by more than 20 per cent.”

The Sun Says

WE didn’t think the Lords could do any more harm to their shattered reputation — but the grasping duffers have found a way.

The unelected chamber was already on thin ice before peers spent three years shamefully trying to overturn Brexit while pocketing £313 a day tax-free.

And you might think that, with their public standing now shredded, they would have the decency to freeze that rate.

Especially with inflation at only 1.4 per cent. But no.

They’ve voted themselves an inflation-busting 3.1 per cent instead — so they’ll now get £323 just for showing up.

A few Lords and Ladies have experience and ability, we admit.

The rest shuffle in for the warmth and the cash.

The truth is the House of Lords is an antiquated insult to our democracy, a dumping ground for political failures and discredited cronies, where almost no one is too odious . . . though it still draws the line at Bercow, obviously.

A courageous Government with a big majority would take it on and reinvent it as a mainly elected second chamber — with a small handful of unelected peers chosen for specific expertise.

How about it, Boris?

Former Speaker John Bercow explains ‘conspiracy’ to block him from House of Lords







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Alibaba shares set to rise 6.3% in Hong Kong debut



Alibaba Group’s Hong Kong shares are set to rise 6.3% in their debut after marking the city’s biggest share sale in nine years, Trend reports citing Reuters.

Alibaba has raised at least $11.3 billion from the secondary listing and could go as high as $12.9 billion if an over-allotment option is exercised.

The company sold the shares at HK$176, which was a 2.9% discount to the company’s closing price in New York last Tuesday. Each American Depository Receipt (ADR) represents eight Hong Kong shares.

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