Indonesia to turn former Vietnamese refugee camp into hospital for COVID-19 patients

first_imgThe hospital, which is expected to be able to accommodate 1,000 patients, will be equipped with isolation rooms as well, which will take up 2 percent of the hospital’s total capacity. “We will prepare 50 isolation rooms as the World Health Organization’s health protocol stipulates that 2 percent of the hospital’s capacity must be isolation rooms,” Hadi said.  Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said construction would be completed within a month. “We will not forget the locals’ contribution here. The construction might not take long. The water source is already available, everything has been prepared according to the standards of the facilities in Natuna and Sebaru,” Basuki said, adding that he did not know what the total budget for the project would be.Hadi and Basuki were also unable to say when construction would begin. Read also: Indonesia to test more people for COVID-19Meanwhile, head of the Riau Islands Health Agency Tjeptjep Yudiana said the decision to set up the special hospital on Galang Island had not yet been made final.“They have only come to assess the site. Galang is one option, but so far no decision has been made,” Tjeptjep said. The field coordinator for the visit, Said Adnan, said the military had inspected a former hospital building, a logistics building and several religious buildings. “We have been ordered to clean out the buildings and provide details on the condition of the buildings to the commander,” Adnan said. (dpk)Topics : The site also has access to clean water and electricity, while the island is located 50 kilometers from Hang Nadim International Airport. Read also: ‘Diamond Princess’ evacuees to start separate quarantine on Sebaru islandHadi explained the hospital would treat infected patients and also function as a quarantine center. A coronavirus quarantine center was previously set up in Natuna, Riau Islands.“We shall see if this is the right time to turn the location into a special hospital to treat patients infected with novel coronavirus. Hopefully, this plan will be realized soon and the hospital can be put to use immediately, especially if there are infected patients near Galang Island,” Hadi said.  Following the confirmation of the first two COVID-19 cases in Indonesia, the government is making plans to transform a former camp for Vietnamese refugees on Galang Island, Batam, Riau Islands, into a hospital for COVID-19 patients. During a visit to assess the site, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said Galang Island was chosen as the location for a COVID-19 hospital as several of the site’s buildings still remained after being used as a refugee camp from 1979 to 1996.last_img read more

Police arrest three in Central Java for allegedly reselling masks at 900% markup

first_imgMeanwhile, Central Java Police general crimes head Sr. Comr. Budhi Haryanto explained that the police had tracked down the suspects through a cyber investigation based on reports from the public. Read also: Surabaya Mayor Risma admits to hoarding masks ‘since January’ in anticipation of COVID-19 outbreakHe said several areas in Central Java, including areas along the North  Coast (Pantura) Highway as well as the regencies of Brebes and Kendal, which had already run out of face masks and hand sanitizers. “Apparently, they have [sold out] because the hoarders bought them all,” Budhi said. “We already have the names of more than five other face mask hoarders,” he added, indicating that investigations were ongoing in other price gouging cases.Budhi warned the general public to refrain from buying face masks in bulk with the intent to resell them at markup prices. “Please have more sympathy for the public. We will keep looking for hoarders because the President has instructed us to be strict toward them,” he cautioned.A buying frenzy gripped people all over the country on Monday afternoon following President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s announcement of the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in country. Stores reported that customers were buying up items ranging from instant noodles to face masks and antiseptic wipes. Designated Case 1 and Case 2, Indonesia’s first confirmed cases are a mother and daughter currently being treated at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital in North Jakarta. (dpk) Central Java Police arrested on Tuesday three residents of Semarang for alleged price gouging in the wake of the buying frenzy that erupted on Monday, when the country confirmed its first cases of COVID-19.The three had reportedly been caught stockpiling face masks and hand sanitizers and reselling them at almost nine times the original price. Central Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Iskandar F. Sutisna said on Tuesday that the police had arrested the three suspects – identified only as A, 45; M, 25; and AU, 45 – who had been selling the marked-up products on Facebook, where they had also posted their contact information.“We have confiscated 4,000 face masks as evidence, as well as hand sanitizers. One box of masks originally costs from Rp 30,000 (US$2.12) to Rp 40,000, but they were selling [one] for Rp 275,000,” Iskandar said. “People were rushing to look for face masks after the coronavirus [announcement] and they panicked when they couldn’t find it at [stores], so they resorted to buying them from the suspects,” he added. The suspects have been charged under Article 107 of Law No. 7/2014 on Trade, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison sentence and a Rp 50 billion fine. They are also being charged with violating the 1999 Consumer Protection Law. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Govt to disburse Rp 38t to help the country’s underprivileged amid COVID-19 outbreak

first_img“We will make the decision soon,” Sri Mulyani said during a broadcast press conference on Friday. Assuming that an Indonesian family typically has five members, Sri Mulyani said the new disbursement would allow 50 million people to receive money to cushion them from the impact of COVID-19.The minister said the government was also open to disbursing the aid through the Staple Food Card in addition to the Family Hope Program.According to the Social Affairs Ministry website, Indonesia disbursed Rp 32.65 trillion to 10 million families last year through the Family Hope Program. Each family received a base benefit of Rp 550,000 per year and added benefits depending on the family’s situation such as an additional Rp 2 million if there is a high school student in the family.The government also has a free rice program that has more beneficiaries. Last year, it distributed free rice to 15.5 million families. Combined, all the social safety net programs helped about 70 million underprivileged people in the country, Sri Mulyani said.According to a World Bank report titled Aspiring Indonesia, only one out of five Indonesians is economically secure, which means around 24.8 million or 9.22 percent of the population lives on under US$1 a day and over 60 million are vulnerable to dropping into poverty. (eyc)Topics : The government said it was ready to disburse Rp 38 trillion (US$2.3 billion) for social safety net programs to help about 70 million underprivileged citizens cope with the financial impacts of COVID-19.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the ministry planned to disburse additional funds for COVID-19 through the Family Hope Program (PKH) or the Staple Food Card. In 2019, the government distributed aid through the Family Hope Program to 10 million families.The government is mulling over several ways to disburse the money. First, it is considering two options for the Family Hope Program: Increase the recipients of the program or cards to around 15 million from 10 million families without increasing the value of the benefit, or increase the value but keep it at 10 million families.last_img read more

UK PM Johnson, on the mend after COVID-19, faces lockdown conundrum

first_img“That decision is for the prime minister in consultation with his doctors,” Hancock said. “I spoke to him yesterday, he’s on very good form and is clearly recovering.”Lockdown The government’s as yet unpublished strategy for unwinding the lockdown will be heavily scrutinized as investors try to work out which major economy will be worst hit by the most severe public health crisis since the 1918 influenza outbreak.The United Kingdom has the fifth worst official death toll in the world, after the United States, Italy, Spain and France, and government scientists have said that the death rate will only start to decline quickly in a another couple of weeks.Hancock said on Friday that it was too early to lift the lockdown, though economic data indicates Britain’s economy is crumbling under the strain of the lockdown.According to the country’s budget forecasters, the economy could be heading into its deepest recession in more than 300 years even after the finance ministry and the Bank of England rushed out a string of emergency stimulus measures.British retail sales fell by the most on record in March as a surge in food buying for the coronavirus lockdown was dwarfed by a plunge in sales of clothing and most other goods, official figures showed on Friday.Sales volumes plunged by 5.1% in March from February, the sharpest drop since the Office for National Statistics records began in 1996. It was also a bigger fall than the median forecast for a drop of 4.0% in a Reuters poll of economists.”Clearly there is huge uncertainty as to how deep the downturn proves and how long restrictions remain in place, a fall in the region of 25% in GDP over the next few months seems likely,” said Thomas Pugh, an economist with Capital Economics. “He sounded incredible,” US President Donald Trump said on Thursday of how Johnson sounded on a call they had two days earlier. “He was ready to go.””It’s like the old Boris,” Trump said. “He’s doing great.”Johnson’s government, which was slower than European peers to impose a lockdown, has come under fire for its limited testing capacity and for failing to deliver enough personal protective equipment to front-line health workers.The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Johnson is planning to return to work as early as Monday, and his health minister, Matt Hancock, described the prime minister as cheerful, ebullient and getting much better. Topics :center_img Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces the biggest conundrum of his premiership as he recuperates from COVID-19: how to lift a lockdown that is destroying swathes of the British economy without triggering a deadly second wave of the outbreak.Johnson, 55, is on the mend at his country residence after spending three nights in intensive care at a London hospital earlier this month with COVID-19 complications. He later said he owed his life to the hospital staff.But as speculation mounts that the prime minister is preparing to return to work, Johnson is under pressure to explain just how and when the world’s fifth largest economy will exit the crippling lockdown.last_img read more

COVID-19: Surabaya and its satellites to start PSBB with curfew

first_imgPrior to the implementation of the PSBB, more than 80 checkpoints to monitor people’s movements have been established in the three regions – 13 in Surabaya, 24 in Sidoarjo and 45 in Gresik. Luki said checkpoints were not set up to stop people from going to work. “We will not make the people’s economic activities stop running. Shops, hypermarkets and traditional markets will stay open. We just want people to adhere to physical distancing rules,” he said. He said that a 4,300-strong joint team of police, military and public order agency (Satpol PP) personnel would be deployed to ensure people’s adherence to the PSBB order.  The COVID-19 task forces in Surabaya, East Java and its satellite regencies Sidoarjo and Gresik are set to impose a curfew during the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) as part of efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the three regions, which will be effective for 14 days from Tuesday until May 11.East Java police chief Insp. Gen. Luki Hermawan said the curfew and other restrictions would be enforced with several exceptions to make sure the PSBB did not hamper people’s economic activities. “Economic activities are not prohibited. There are at least two traditional markets in Surabaya that open at night, for instance. We will let them open [despite the curfew],” Luki told reporters on Tuesday morning.  “But we will give more verbal reminders to violators especially in the first three days of PSBB implementation,” he said. Similar to the restrictions imposed in Jakarta, the three regions are limiting vehicles to use only 50 percent of their seats. Motorcycles are not allowed to take passengers. Surabaya is the hardest-hit region in East Java with 372 confirmed cases and 51 fatalities as of Monday. The inclusion of Sidoarjo and Gresik in the implementation of the PSBB is partly due to Surabaya’s interconnection with the two satellite regions. Sidoarjo is the second-hardest-hit region with 81 confirmed cases and 11 fatalities, while Gresik has 22 confirmed cases and four fatalities. According to the official government count, East Java has 857 cases with 90 fatalities as of Tuesday. Topics :last_img read more

Malaria drug touted by Trump for coronavirus fails another test

first_imgThat analysis of medical records showed a death rate of 28% when the drug was given in addition to standard treatments, compared to 11% with standard care alone.In the latest study, 811 patients got hydroxychloroquine and 565 did not.Because they were not randomly assigned to receive hydroxychloroquine or a placebo, “the study should not be taken to rule out either benefit or harm” for the drug, researchers said. Randomized trials, the gold standard for tests of new therapies, should continue, they added.But for now, “the guidance in our hospital has changed so we don’t recommend giving hydroxychloroquine to hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Schluger, chief of the division of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine at Irving.Smaller studies, including one done in China, had suggested hydroxychloroquine might be useful, “but these were tiny studies and not of good quality. People seized on them because patients were dying,” he said.There are currently no approved treatments for COVID-19, although Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental antiviral drug remdesivir last week receive emergency use authorization from US regulators.  Topics : The malaria treatment repeatedly championed by US President Donald Trump as a “game changer” in the fight against the novel coronavirus has again failed to show a benefit in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a study released on Thursday.While the study being published in the New England Journal of Medicine had certain limitations, doctors reported that the use of hydroxycholoquine neither lessened the need for patients requiring breathing assistance nor the risk of death.”We didn’t see any association between getting this medicine and the chance of dying or being intubated,” lead researcher Dr. Neil Schluger told Reuters in a telephone interview. “The patients who got the drug didn’t seem to do any better.”center_img Among patients given hydroxychloroquine, 32.3% ended up needing a ventilator or dying, compared with 14.9% of patients who were not given the drug.But doctors were more likely to give hydroxychloroquine to sicker patients, so researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center adjusted the rates to account for that. They concluded that the drug may not have hurt patients, but it clearly did not help.Decades old hydroxychloroquine, which is also used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, also showed no benefit when combined with the antibiotic azithromycin, Schluger’s team reported. Azithromycin alone also showed no benefit.Last month, doctors at the US Department of Veterans Affairs reported that hydroxychloroquine did not help COVID-19 patients and might pose a higher risk of death.last_img read more

Three men charged with murder of US black jogger Ahmaud Arbery

first_imgTopics : The three men arrested after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black jogger in the southern United States, were formally indicted on murder charges by a grand jury on Wednesday. Arbery, 25, was shot dead on February 23 while running in a residential area of Brunswick, Georgia, which has a long history of segregation. For more than two months, local police did not make any arrests. It was only when video of the killing went viral on social media at the beginning of May that the investigation began in earnest. They “caused his death by unlawfully chasing him… in pickup trucks and shooting him with a shotgun,” the document said. “This confirms what Ahmaud’s father has been saying for months — that this was a lynching,” Ben Crump, a lawyer for Arbery’s family, said in a statement Wednesday. “This is a significant step on the road to justice and while nothing will bring back Ahmaud Arbery’s life, it is important that a Grand jury recognized his life had value and was wrongly and ruthlessly ended,” he said, calling for a “successful prosecution” and proportionate sentences.  Arbery’s name has been chanted for weeks all over the United States during giant demonstrations protesting violence and systemic racism against African Americans.He joins a list including George Floyd, who suffocated beneath the knee of a white police officer and whose killing on May 25 kicked off the protests; and Breonna Taylor, shot dead as she slept at her home in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13 by police who burst into her apartment during a so-called no-knock warrant. center_img Retired police officer Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, who were visible on the video, were arrested on May 7. The man who filmed the killing, William Bryan, 50, was arrested two weeks later. The indictment was formalized on Wednesday by a grand jury, a group of citizens appointed to weigh how valid a charge is ahead of a trial.Nine counts, including murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment were laid against the three men. last_img read more

PM Johnson and Prince Charles lead birthday tributes to Britain’s health service

first_imgPrime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles paid tribute to Britain’s state-run National Health Service on its 72nd birthday on Sunday, expressing pride in how it has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic.Both have recovered after contracting the coronavirus, with Johnson having said the NHS saved his life, “no question”, after he was admitted to intensive care with severe COVID-19 symptoms.Johnson was expected to join in a “Clap for Carers” at 5 p.m. (1600 GMT), a reprise of what had been a weekly tribute to doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers during the height of lockdown. Topics : “This year, we’ve seen not only the greatest challenge the NHS has ever faced, but also an unprecedented outpouring of affection and support for that institution,” Johnson said in a video tribute.The NHS was founded on July 5, 1948 by Aneurin Bevan, who was health minister in the Labor government at the time. He said the taxpayer-funded service should be free at the point of delivery, with treatment based on clinical needs and not a person’s ability to pay.Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth’s son and heir to the throne, said this founding principle was a “profoundly moving statement of our values” which was never more relevant than now.He paid tribute to the sacrifices made by the staff of the NHS to provide treatment to more than 100,000 patients who have been treated in hospital for COVID-19. He has said he was lucky to get away with only mild symptoms from his diagnosis, and was not admitted to hospital.”To all who have given so much during this present danger, I just want to say that it is you who have been our shield. It is your hands that have held us up,” he said in a video message.”Despite all that has been endured, there is deep cause for gratitude, and a true reason for pride.” last_img read more

US companies leap over low profit hurdle in coronavirus-hit quarter

first_imgThe latest big boost to numbers came late last week, when results from Facebook and trillion-dollar market value companies Apple, and Google parent Alphabet surpassed forecasts.In many cases, estimates had been lowered so much ahead of earnings season that they were easier to beat, strategists said. Still, the results bolster the case for investors betting that the impact of coronavirus-led lockdowns and layoffs on companies’ bottom lines may not be quite as dire as previously believed.“What it’s saying is there are pockets of absolute strength in corporate America,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.Tech results in particular suggest “there is spending going on globally,” she said. A record high percentage of United States companies are beating analysts’ forecasts this earnings season, giving investors a glimmer of hope in what is still expected to be the slowest profit period since the financial crisis.More than halfway through second-quarter earnings, 82.1 percent of companies reporting have surpassed profit expectations, which would be the highest in the history of Refinitiv IBES data going back to 1994.What’s more, the size of the beats is well above what is typical. S&P 500 companies have beaten earnings expectations by a whopping 21.7 percent, also set to be the highest on record since 1994, based on Refinitiv’s data as of Friday. The S&P 500 is up nearly 4 percent since results began in mid-July, putting it 3.4 percent from its February record closing high.To be sure, the pace of the market’s rebound off the March lows has slowed in recent weeks, with earnings coming in as the United States sees a resurgence in virus cases in many areas and economic numbers remain bleak.Second-quarter S&P 500 earnings – expected to have dropped 33.8 percent from a year ago – are still set to be the low point for earnings this year and the biggest quarterly decline since the financial crisis.Data on Thursday showed jobless claims rose last week, while the economy took its biggest hit on record in the second quarter.Strategists at BofA Global Research wrote in a recent note that while margins are “tracking a hair above expectations,” they are still expected to collapse and comments from companies suggest more job cuts ahead.Still, some companies have managed better-than-expected results for the second quarter.Investors have been particularly keen to hear from technology companies, the most heavily weighted sector in S&P 500 earnings.With results in so far from 36 of the 71 tech companies in the S&P 500, second-quarter earnings for the S&P 500 tech sector now are seen growing 1.4 percent from a year ago versus an 8 percent decline estimated on July 1, Refinitiv’s data shows.The S&P’s healthcare index has also seen big improvements since July 1, thanks to strong results from UnitedHealth Group, drugmakers like Pfizer and others. Analysts now expect healthcare earnings to have increased 1.1 percent compared with a 15.1 percent decline forecast at the start of July, according to Refinitiv.“The second quarter of 2020 was a quarter with more uncertainty in it than I have ever seen in my life. Managements for the most part suspended guidance, so had the world kind of flying blind as to what the second quarter would bring,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.And, “it’s brought results that are generally better than the worst imaginable. … Things are a little bit more positive than many people thought.”Topics :last_img read more

Serena begins marathon with exhausting first step

first_imgAll four matches Williams has played since the WTA Tour restarted following the COVID-19 hiatus have gone to three-sets.Monday marked the first exhausting day in what could be a three-week tennis marathon for Williams, who will be hoping her long search to win an elusive 24th grand slam title — and equal Margaret Court’s record tally — will end on Sept. 12 with victory in the US Open final.Down 6-5 in the third set and with Rus serving for the match, a drained Williams looked down for the count but she picked herself up to break the Dutchwoman to force a deciding tiebreak. She then moved in for the kill to win it 7-0.After working her way into the main draw through qualifying, Rus came in match sharp while Williams looked sluggish on a hot and humid New York afternoon. She spent much of the first set trying to tame a misfiring forehand.While Williams fitness has been questioned, her fighting spirit has never been in doubt and never more than in the third set.Despite showing signs of fatigue, Williams insisted she was fit and ready for the task ahead.”I’m actually super fit and I’m super ready,” assured Williams. I feel like I’m ready for anything.”  Serena Williams shook off some COVID-19 layoff rust to grind out a 7-6(6) 3-6 7-6(0) win over Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus on Monday to move into the third round of the Western and Southern Open.Williams’ matches are a magnet for fans but with no spectators allowed onto the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center grounds due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the atmosphere inside a steamy Grandstand was one of relief rather than excitement as the 38-year-old American trudged off following the hard-fought victory.”I was fine,” said Williams, when asked about playing without fans in the stands. “At one point I was pumping my fist and saying, “Come on”. Topics :center_img “I had a crowd in my head or something.”It was actually funny to me. For me, it was like there was a crowd there.”By the time Williams arrived on court to face her 72nd ranked opponent, she was the highest seed left in the women’s draw after number one Karolina Pliskova and number two Sofia Kenin lost their opening matches on Sunday.And Williams needed to draw on all her experience and survival instincts to ensure she did not join them at the exit as Rus put the former world number one through a near three-hour workout.last_img read more