#U.S.; #EpicentreOGlobalPandemic; #SocialDistance; #InternationalTravel;
Ottawa, Mar 31 (Canadian-Media): Having reported by far the most reported cases of COVID-19 than any country in the world, not just in total numbers but also with a per-capita rate, United States (U.S.) is now considered the epicentre of a global pandemic, media reports said.
Being made aware of grim projections by the U.S. health experts on April 30, that inaction of U.S. President Donald Trump could cost up to 2.2 million Americans their lives, Trump decided to extend social-distancing guidelines, extend international travel restrictions of visitors entering from Europe, and for those entering the U.S. from Canada until April 30.
Donald Trump. Image credit: Facebook page
America's 161,000 reported cases was by far the highest in the world, followed by about 102,000 in Italy and under 90,000 currently reported by each China and Spain.
Nearly half the U.S. cases are in New York State, said Saverio Stranges, the chair of epidemiology and biostatistics at Western University's Schulich School
James Blanchard of the University of Manitoba said New York City might be uniquely prone for its population density; also, more than 65 million visitors flocked there last year.
The unemployment rate in the U.S. could hit 32 percent in this quarter, U.S. Federal Reserve had said.
This could have a drastic impact of Canada's economy, given that three-quarters of Canada's international exports go to the U.S.
It is also uncertain when Canadians with property in the U.S. will be permitted to return.
Border towns, like Detroit, that rely on Canada-U.S. travel are being hit especially hard, said Andrea Vaitzner, an immigration lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright in Montreal.
For example, Detroit, a border town has recorded surging cases of COVID19 and Canadian medical workers are being effected by this.
The request of Rashida Tlaib, a member of Congress from Detroit to a U.S. House hearing this month to keep the flow of essential workers across the border is being complied with as Detroit relies on 1000 Canadian nurses.
Essential workers from Ontario have described how patients are forced to die in isolation and medical staff being asked to deliver final goodbye messages.
#PrinceHarry; #MeghanMarkle; #DonaldTrump; #California; COVID19Outbreak
Washington, Mar 29 (Canadian-Media): Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were not greeted very warmly by United States (U.S.) President Donald Trump amid reports that the pair have moved to the U.S. from Canada, media reports said.
Harry and Meghan. Image credit: Twitter handle
The couple and their son Archie had spent much of this year residing in Canada's west coast, following a six-week Christmas break on Vancouver Island.
The family moved last week to the Los Angeles area where Meghan was raised and where her mother, Doria Ragland, now lives, US media reports.
They have yet to make any formal announcement about their move.
It was announced last month by the Canadian government that it would stop providing security assistance to the family due to the change in their status.
Trump also said the pair would have to pay for their own security.
Prince Harry and Meghan will formally step down as senior royals on 31 March and will no longer carry out duties on behalf of the Queen, but these arrangements will be reviewed after one year.
The president's announcement comes as the novel coronavirus cases continue to grow steadily across the US, currently with 135,499 confirmed cases, and there have been 2,381 deaths.
Coronavirus cases in California are rising rapidly, with 5,565 cases and 121 reported deaths.
A shelter-in-place order was issued last week by Governor Gavin Newsom ordering Californians to remain at home except for providing or accessing essential services.
#USPresident; #DonaldTrump; #CriticalChoice; #COVID19; #MitigationEfforts
Washington, Mar 29 (Canadian-Media): As the ending of White House campaign of "15 days to stop the spread" is nearing and with U.S. having topped 120,000 coronavirus cases, the most in the world and by late Monday, United States (U.S.) President Donald Trump is perplexed with a critical decision to extend, tighten or loosen the mitigation measures, media reports said.
Donald Trump. Image credit: Facebook page
Trump's pondering over the idea of allowing more freedoms, hoping for an economic resurrection and not heeding to the strategy of dividing America into low, medium and high-risk areas for quarantine purposes he asked CDC to urge a strong travel advisory to hard-hit areas, and that a quarantine will not be necessary.
Focusing on the economic casualties, including 3.2 million unemployed, Trump's statement that he wants to open up the country, but in a responsible way alarmed the Infectious disease experts who want more time to measure if the mitigation efforts across the country are working and strongly urge strict adherence for a longer period.
Trump said the number of deaths does not justify shutting down the whole of the country for longer than a few weeks.
"In my opinion, the mortality rate, it's way, way down, and that takes a lot of fear out. You know, it's one thing to have it. It's another thing to die," he said.
"When I first got involved, I was being told numbers that were much, much higher than the number seems to be. That's one of the reasons I say, look, we're going to beat this and we're going to get back to work."
#USPresident; #DonaldTrump; #$2TrillionBillPassed; #COVID19Pandemic;
Washington, Mar 28 (Canadian-Media): A massive relief bill to respond to the significant economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic by U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday after it was approved by a voice vote in the House earlier in the afternoon, media reports said.
Donald Trump. Image credit: facebook page
The enacting of this bill was in response to filing unemployment claims by a record number of Americans and the U.S. having topped China with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The $2 trillion bill which was passed with bipartisan support by a voice vote contains expanded unemployment insurance, provides direct payments to most Americans, and hundreds of billions of dollars in loans and grants would be paid to corporations, hospitals, state and local governments and more.
#Coronavirus #COVID19Pandemic #China #Spain #CzechRepublic #CoronaTestKits
Madrid/Prague, Mar 28 (Canadian-Media): Chines companies had been accused of selling faulty and inferior quality dud test kits to different countries, media reports said.
coronavirus testing kits. Image credit: Twitter handle
Spain and Czech Republic returned these purchased kits from China when they realized that these failed to meet the required specification.
According to the reports of National Review, Up to 80 percent of the 150,000 portable, quick coronavirus test kits China delivered to the Czech Republic earlier this month were faulty
Meanwhile, the Turkish government has cast aside a sample of Chinese-made coronavirus rapid testing kits after finding out that they gave inaccurate results, a Turkish official confirmed to Middle East Eye on Friday.
A $20 Trillion lawsuit has been recently filed by American lawyer Larry Klayman and his advocacy group Freedom Watch against Chinese authorities in the US over the Coronavirus outbreak which has hit nearly all the nations across the globe.
Klayman, the founder of both Judicial Watch and now Freedom Watch and a former federal prosecutor said the suit filed was by Freedom Watch not for political reasons, but rather to have a jury award damages to the victims of China's release of the COVID-19 virus, which has already killed many Americans, exposed huge numbers of others to death and harm from a biological weapons facility in Wuhan China.
The virus outbreak, which is believed to have originated from China's Wuhan province, has also adversely impacted the future of the economic outlook of the world.
COVID19Pandemic; #G20countries, #WorldBank, #InternationalMonetaryFund; #ECOSOC
New York, Mar 27 (Canadian-Media): Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the United Nations to operate in new ways, its vital work worldwide continues largely uninterrupted, heads of UN principal organs assured Member States, during a joint briefing on Friday held online, UN news reported.
The President of the UN General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, takes part in a remote briefing to UN Member States on the coronavirus crisis.
Image credit: United Nations/Reem Abaza
In his welcoming remarks, the UN General Assembly President underscored the value of safety and solidarity in the face of a crisis that has affected practically every corner of the globe.
“Although we are not sitting together, be rest assured that we are in this together”, said Tijjani Muhammad Bande. “We must lead by example. We must stay at home, abide by social distancing recommendations, wash our hands, and look out for one another”.
Mr. Bande reported that thanks to technology, the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee was able to make important budget decisions during this time.
He said countries must not only defeat the new coronavirus: they also have to mitigate its social and economic impacts, stating that “we need to galvanise multilateral action now to protect gains made towards the eradication of poverty and zero hunger, as this crisis puts a strain on food production and supply chains, among others”.
Changes at the Security Council
The UN Security Council has had to change its working methods due to the pandemic.
Ambassador Zhang Jun of China, Council President for March, reported that despite difficulties, members have been holding meetings by video teleconference.
“We know that Member States are very much keen to know what’s happening in the Security Council. What’s true is that the new situation does create a lot of difficulties through maintaining transparency, but we are working very hard on that”, he said.
So far, the Council agenda has included “hotspot issues” such as the situations in Libya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Members have also issued statements condemning deadly attacks in Afghanistan and against peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. They are also set to act soon on several draft resolutions.
Development gains under threat
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is at the heart of the UN’s work in advancing sustainable development, has not stopped working, President Mona Juul told countries.
However, she warned of the pandemic’s threat to development gains, particularly in the world’s most vulnerable countries, while the need for humanitarian relief is urgent.
“Beyond immediate humanitarian aid, developing countries will need support to lessen the overall socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. In this, the UN must play a key role”, said Ms. Juul.
“We need joint UN efforts to assist developing countries in their recovery and in building more resilient health systems”.
As response will require substantial financing, she welcomed recent announcements on economic support by G-20 countries, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
Communications for Solidarity
The UN Secretary-General participated in the G-20 virtual summit on Thursday, where he pressed for collective action and financial support to stop the virus and minimize its impact.
António Guterres updated Member States on measures taken to protect UN staff globally as they execute the Organization’s mandates, underlining that “our critical work is continuing largely uninterrupted”.
“Our Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams are on the frontlines”, he said. As of last week, 93 per cent of teams, reported “being engaged with national authorities in preparing preparedness and response plans.”
The UN chief urged countries to support initiatives announced this week, such as his appeal for a global ceasefire, a humanitarian response fund for the world’s poorest countries, and a call to stand against increasing hate crimes targeting people perceived to be associated with spreading the coronavirus.
He also announced the launch of a communications strategy aimed at fighting misinformation around the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Communications for Solidarity Initiative will inform the global public and promote and inspire acts of humanity around the world.
#Telework; #ILO; #COVID19Pandemic; #BestManagementPracticeForTelework; SafetyManagement, #IinformationAndCommunicationTechnologies; #Familyresponsibilities,
Geneva, Mar 27 (Canadian-Media): While telework is typically used for limited periods, normally one or two days per week, many workers are now teleworking full-time to cut down the risk of contracting the virus, International Labour Organization (ILO) reports said.
ILO. Image credit: Twitter handle
All those who perform work that is compatible with teleworking arrangements should be eligible to telework during this crisis, including those in temporary employment and interns.
Teleworking is not suitable for all circumstances or all types of positions. Nonetheless, if telework is practised correctly, it can be an important component of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic . Here are a few practical tips to make teleworking as effective as possible.
Management Support from top management to frontline supervisors: Research has shown that managerial resistance to telework is a major barrier to its effective practice. The effective management of teleworkers requires a results-based management approach. This involves identifying objectives, tasks, and milestones, and then monitoring and discussing progress without overly burdensome reporting requirements. Also, with many schools and day care facilities now closed, it is important to factor in some adjustments in performance targets for those teleworkers with care responsibilities.
Appropriate Tools and Training: This includes having access to appropriate equipment such as laptops and apps for teleworking, adequate tech support, and training for both managers and teleworkers. Given the real risk of social isolation that is associated with full-time teleworking, every effort should be made to help teleworkers stay connected with supervisors, colleagues and the organization as a whole.
Clear Expectations: All parties need to be clear about the results that teleworkers are expected to achieve, their conditions of employment, hours of contactability, how to monitor progress and report results. For example, it is essential to set clear ground rules about when workers are or are not available for work – and then respect those rules.
Time Sovereignty: Telework can offer workers the flexibility to do their work at the times and in the places that are most convenient for them, while remaining contactable during the normal business hours of the organization. This flexibility is essential for making telework effective because it allows teleworkers to schedule their paid work around their personal responsibilities, such as caring for children, elderly parents, and sick family members.
A Boundary Management Strategy: Even if expectations are clear, it is still essential for teleworkers to create their own personal strategies for effective management of the boundary between paid work and personal life. This should include a dedicated workspace free from disruptions, and the ability to disconnect from work at specified times reserved for rest and personal life.
Trust: the “glue” that holds it all together. Managers, teleworkers, and their colleagues need to trust each other. Telework cannot be effective without it.
#CanadaUSBorde, #TravelRestrictions; #RestrictNonEssentialTravel; #COVID19Pandemic
Ottawa, Mar 18 (Canadian-Media): An agreement had been reached between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Truduea and the United States President Donald Trump to temporarily restrict non-essential travel across the borders to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, media reports said.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit: Official page
The agreement also specified that the flow of key supplies between the two countries will not be effected.
Soon after the Trump's first tweet to the news Wednesday morning, Trudeau announced in a news conference held outside his Rideau Cottage, on the grounds of Rideau Hall in Ottawa, where he's in self-isolation that travelers will no longer be able to cross the border for recreational and tourism purposes.
Canadian citizens will be able to get home, although the travelers presenting symptoms will not be able to board flights.
It was added by Public Safety Minister Bill Blair that essential work done by Canadians and Americans who cross the border every day will not be affected.
International students, workers on visas and temporary foreign workers, said Blair, would also be allowed to enter Canada with the condition to self-isolate for 14 days.
The border restrictions are expected to will kick in within "hours or days," said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, noting that some $2.7 billion in trade crosses the border every day.
At his own press conference in Washington, Trump said the temporary restrictions as a result of a mutual decision, could last a month.
Wednesday's border announcement came at the same time as the government unveiled a $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses cope with the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the federal government has been authorized by the Emergencies Act, which came into effect in 1988, to declare a public welfare emergency and prohibit travel, provision of essential services by qualified people, and regulate the distribution of goods, it still has to get the consent of the provinces before seeking parliamentary approval within seven sitting days.
Major crossings will be equipped with quarantine officers on site to screen Canadians for symptoms. Sick individuals will still be allowed into the country, but then refer to public health authorities on the Canadian side of the border.
#USPresident; #DonaldTrump; #NationalEmergency; #CoronavirusOutbreak
New York, Mar 13 (Canadian-Media): It was announced by U.S. President Donald Trump Friday that he is officially declaring the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, media reports said.
Donald Trump. Image credit: Facebook page
He said the emergency would open up $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak.
Trump also authorized Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to waive federal regulations and laws of doctors and hospitals in treating patients.
He also announced a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities to speed up the process of testing including drive-through testing in some locations and an online portal to screen others.
Coronavirus had caused at least 40 deaths in the United States and had hit hard on other states including New York, California and Washington.
Responding to numerous complaints about the shortage of coronavirus tests in the U.S, the Department of Health and Human Services was asked by Trump administration to co-ordinate between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Meanwhile, it was announced by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Friday that the House would soon approve its coronavirus aid package which builds on an emergency $8.3 billion US measure approved last week.
"We can only defeat this outbreak if we have an accurate determination of its scale and scope, so that we can pursue the precise science-based response that is necessary to put families first," Pelosi said.
Other provisions were the new sick leave benefits which would help 14-day quarantined workers to get 14 day of paid leave, unemployment benefits for those laid off during the crisis, boosting food and nutrition programs for working families, students and seniors and provide states additional Medicaid funds to cope with the crisis.
Although it was announced by several members of Congress that they would be going into self-isolation, neither Trump nor his daughter plan on getting tested currently, the White House said.
#Coronavirus, #Nepal, #COVID19Pandemic; #WHO
Kathmandu, Mar 13 (Canadian-Media): A number of decisive measures were taken by the government of Nepal Thursday, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a day after the World Health Organization on Wednesday declared COVID-19 pandemic, including suspension of all on-arrival visa until April end, and banning all the spring mountaineering expeditions including that of Mount Qomolangma (also known as Mount Everest), media reports said.
This decision was taken Thursday late night by a High Level Coordination Committee formed to combat the COVID-19, under the leadership of Nepali Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Ishwar Pokharel.
This decision implies that even the diplomatic and official passport holders who who arrive for the first time or return to Nepal after staying abroad should stay in self-quarantine in Nepal for 14 days.
Nepal had suspended, earlier, all on-arrival visas for nationals of eight counties badly affected by COVID-19 which include: China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Spain, Germany and France.
"Foreigners who have got business, study and work visas should also stay in 14-day self-quarantine after returning to Nepal," the decision reads.
A set of rules had been prepared by the Nepali government to be followed by those who stay in self-quarantine and on -arrival foreigners need to sign this, said Bikas Devkota, spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population and added these decisions would be effective from Mar 14.
Except for Indian nationals, the facility of entry through land routes has also been suspended by Himalayan nationals from March 14 to April 30, for the foreigners .
The Nepali government has also decided to ban any international events in Nepal until May 31.