News Around the Globe

Persistence of COVID-19 ‘devastating’ for children in poorest areas of the world, NGO warns

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is certainly impacting the world as we know it, but according to non-governmental organization (NGO) Educo, it is devastating most especially for children in the poorest areas of the world.advertisement In a press statement, Olga Rodriguez, country Director of Educo Philippine explained: “In order to avoid transmitting the coronavirus, it is vital to wash your hands various times a day. This simple gesture saves lives, but if there is limited to no access to clean water in the homes, schools, and communities, the virus will spread very quickly.” Educo also expressed concern on the children’s access to nutrition, saying children often depend on the meals they receive daily in Educo schools. With schools closed, children may suffer from undernour...

Cashing in on e-payments to flatten the COVID-19 curve

THE World Health Organization is encouraging countries to take advantage of e-payment systems as an alternative to cash-based transactions. This is to limit the use of cash in making transactions, since cash itself is a potential agent of transfer of the COVID-19 virus. Accordingly, several central banks, including the Bank of England, the Bank of Korea and the US Federal Reserve, have resorted to burning cash or at least mandating banks to sanitize their cash holdings and place them in quarantine for 14 days. According to the World Bank’s Global Findex Database, 25% of the adult population in the Philippines (at least 15 years old) used an e-payment instrument in 2017. This is up from about 20% in 2014, but is still very low. Except for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, the rest of Sou...

Pope’s March prayer intention: “For Catholics in China”

Pope Francis on Thursday released a video message accompanying his prayer intention for March, which this month is for: “The unity of Christians in China” In his prayer intention for the month of March 2020, Pope Francis encourages Chinese Catholics to be “truly Christians” and “good citizens” who “promote the Gospel, but without engaging in proselytism.” The Pope also invites all people to pray “that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity.” It has become the custom of Pope Francis to release a video message detailing his prayer intention for each month. The full text of his intention is below: Today, the Church in China looks to the future with hope. The Church wants Chinese Christians to be truly Christians, and to be good citizens. They sho...

WHO Raises Global Risk for Coronavirus to Very High

The World Health Organization raised its global risk assessment for the new coronavirus to “very high” from “high” as some countries struggle to contain the pathogen. Infections that are spreading from Italy and Iran to other countries are raising concerns about the virus that emerged in China, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing Friday. Some health systems aren’t ready to deal with the widening epidemic, he said. Elevating the risk level is meant to spur countries to step up their responses, said Mike Ryan, who runs the agency’s emergencies program. Health officials need to be ready to isolate patients and carefully trace their contacts to keep the disease from spiraling out of control, he said. “This is a reality check for every government,” he sa...

The coronavirus has pandemic ‘potential’ as it spreads in South Korea, Italy, and Iran, according to WHO

The novel coronavirus that has prompted more than 79,551 cases of COVID-19 worldwide is spreading rapidly — and independently — in countries outside of China, including Italy, South Korea, and Iran. At least 33 people have died from COVID-19 so far outside China. The World Health Organization said Monday that while it’s not calling the outbreak a pandemic just yet, the virus has “pandemic potential” to spread freely globally. Cases of COVID-19 are spreading freely among people outside China, the country where the virus originated in December. The viral illness is being diagnosed among hundreds of people in pockets of South Korea, Iran, and Italy who have no connection to China. It’s a first sign that while the number of new cases being spread in ...

USAID Launches Resource Centers for Children with Disabilities

Manila, February 21, 2020 — The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the first Inclusive Education Community Resource Center in the Philippines today at Sorsogon East Central School. The center is part of USAID’s three-year, Php92.3 million Gabay Project.  Implemented in partnership with Resources for the Blind Inc., a local non-governmental organization, Gabay is designed to increase access to quality education for blind, deaf, and deafblind children. Two other Inclusive Education Community Resource Centers will be established later this year in Batangas City and Maasin City.  The USAID-supported centers provide braillers, braille embossers, hearing aid devices, and other assistive technology and equipment for use...

Why the coronavirus outbreak might be much bigger than we know

What the situation in countries like Singapore and the US tells us about the risk of global spread In a remarkably calm and candid tone, Singapore’s prime minister acknowledged something difficult: The new coronavirus disease, Covid-19, was likely spreading in his country, even among people who have never been to China. “In the last few days,” Lee Hsien Loong said on February 8 in a Facebook video, “we’ve seen some cases which cannot be traced to the source of infection. These worried us because it showed that the virus is probably already circulating in our own population.” If the virus is even more widespread, he added, “it’s futile to try to trace every contact.” Instead of trying to contain the disease, health officials in Singapore will have to accept that it’s gone everywhere and shi...

To prevent spread of COVID-19, Hong Kong Diocese cancels Masses

HONG KONG— The threat of spreading the coronavirus has forced Catholic officials in Hong Kong to suspend all church programs Feb. 15-28, including Sunday Masses and the Ash Wednesday liturgy that marks the beginning of Lent. Ucanews.com reported Cardinal John Tong, apostolic administrator of Hong Kong, said the “disappointing” decision had been made “because the next two weeks will be a crucial time to suppress the epidemic.” “Some church members may be disappointed” with the diocesan move, the cardinal said in his Feb. 13 pastoral letter. “This is not an easy decision.” The move comes amid global fears that the epidemic, now called COVID-19, has worsened in China against the prediction of experts. The epidemic, first reported in Wuhan city of Hubei province, has spread across the world an...

It’s About Health Not Politics; Phl Stands By Taiwan Travel Ban

The World Health Organization has warned against imposing travel restrictions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but the Philippine government insists that health concerns are primordial and above politics. Vince Nonato, Alexis Romero Friday, February 14, 2020  The Taipei 101 skyscraper. Photo by Timo Volz from Pexels It took more than a week before Taiwan was included in the travel ban imposed by the government on travelers from China due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The clarification was made on Feb. 10 by the Department of Health (DOH), which cited the Philippines’ One-China policy in including Taiwan in the ban. On Feb. 2, only mainland China and its administrative regions – Macau and Hong Kong – were specifically mentioned by the government as area...

WHO names deadly virus from China as ‘COVID-19’

The UN health agency on Tuesday announced that “COVID-19” will be the official name of the deadly virus from China, saying the disease represented a “very grave threat” for the world but there was a “realistic chance” of stopping it. “We now have a name for the disease and it’s COVID-19,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva. Tedros said that “co” stands for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”, while “19” was for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on December 31. Tedros said the name had been chosen to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people in line with international recommendations for naming aimed at preventing stigmatisation. WHO had earlier given the virus the tempor...

Like medieval Europe, virus idles China growth engine

Workers are stuck in their hometowns. Officials want detailed health plans before factories or offices can reopen. Assembly lines that make General Motors cars and Apple iPhones are standing silent. More than two weeks after China locked down a major city to stop a dangerous viral outbreak, one of the world’s largest economies remains largely idle. Much of the country was supposed to have reopened by now, but its empty streets, quiet factories and legions of inactive workers suggest that weeks or months could pass before this vital motor of global growth is humming again. Global growth could suffer the longer China stays in low gear. It has been hampered by both the outbreak and its own containment efforts, a process that has cut off workers from their jobs and factories from their raw mat...

IMPORTANT PAL ADVISORY

Philippine Airlines will be mounting special flights on FEBRUARY 10, 2020 MONDAY to assist passengers stranded as a result of the cancellation of all PAL flights to and from mainland China for the month of February, amidst the ongoing coronavirus (nCoV ARD) situation.    The special PAL flights serving the Manila-Xiamen and Xiamen-Manila routes will be staffed with pilots and cabin crew who volunteered for the service.  The flag carrier plans to use its 199-seater  Airbus A321 aircraft for the planned mission.  Due to the Philippine Government Travel Ban, the Manila to Xiamen flight on February 10, 2020 is strictly for non-Filipino citizens in Manila.  The Xiamen to Manila flight on February 10 is strictly for Filipino citizens, Philippine Resident Visa Holder...

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