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U.S. Supreme Court to review overseas anti-AIDS funding curtailments

The Supreme Court on Tuesday is set to consider arguments over whether a U.S. law infringe constitutional free speech rights by requiring overseas associates of American-based nonprofit groups that seek federal funding for HIV/AIDS assistance to explicitly adopt a bearing against prostitution and sex trafficking.

“The case is the second in which the nine justices will hear arguments by teleconference following Monday’s debut of the call-in format prompted by the coronavirus pandemic in a trademark dispute involving hotel reservation website Booking.com.

President Donald Trump’s administration is alluring a 2018 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of non-profit organizations that declined a provision of the 2003 law as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

Organizations including the Alliance for Open Society International, Pathfinder International, InterAction and the Global Health Council challenged the constitutionality of the measure.

The Trump administration claimed that foreign entities like those associated with the nonprofits do not have free speech rights that can be put forward in U.S. courts and that the rights of the American groups therefore were not tampered with.

“The law, enacted under Republican former President George W. Bush, intended to bar funding for organizations that operate programs overseas but do not have a blanket policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking. The United States has spent billions of dollars to fight HIV/AIDS overseas.”

Source___ WASHINGTON (Reuters)

Amazon lengthens work from home authorities till October 2nd

Amazon.com Inc has told staff whose job can be done from home that they can do so until at least Oct. 2, pushing out the schedule on a return to work for many employees as it faces inspection over conditions in its warehouses.

“Employees who work in a role that can effectively be done from home are welcome to do so until at least October 2,” an Amazon spokesman said in an emailed affirmation on Friday, saying it was applicable to such roles globally.

The statement did not categorize how much of the company’s overall workforce that covered and which roles.

It said the company is putting funds in safety precautions for employees who wish to come to the office “through physical distancing, deep cleaning, temperature checks, and the availability of face coverings and hand sanitizer.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James told Amazon last week it may have violated safety measures and labor practices amid the virus outbreak as the company fired a warehouse protest leader in March.

Other employees have been working from home since March.

Source___Reuters

Coronavirus: First death confirmed in Europe

A Chinese tourist has died in France after contracting the new coronavirus – the first fatality from the disease outside Asia.

The victim was an 80-year-old man from China’s Hubei province, according to French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn.

He arrived in France on 16 January and was placed in quarantine in hospital in Paris on 25 January, she said.

Only three deaths had previously been reported outside mainland China – in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan.

However, more than 1,500 people have died from the virus within China, mostly in Hubei where it first emerged.

A further 2,641 people have been newly confirmed as infected, bringing the China’s total to 66,492.

What has happened in France?

In late January, France became the first European country to confirm cases of the virus. It has had 11 confirmed cases of the disease, officially called Covid-19. Six people remain in hospital.

The deceased man had been in a critical condition in the Bichat hospital in northern Paris, the health minister said. He died of a lung infection due to the coronavirus.

The man’s 50-year-old daughter is among the six in hospital with the virus, but she is recovering, Ms Buzyn said.

The other five are British nationals who caught the virus at a chalet in the ski resort of Contamines-Montjoie.

How are other countries affected?

Outside mainland China, there have been more than 500 cases in 24 countries.

Earlier, the US said it was sending a plane to Japan to evacuate Americans stuck on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is being held in quarantine in a Japanese port.

Out of 3,700 people on board, 218 have tested positive for the virus. Australia also said it was considering removing its citizens from the ship.

Egypt’s health ministry on Friday confirmed the first case of the coronavirus in Africa. The ministry described the person as a foreigner, but did not disclose their nationality.

How is China coping?

Despite the spread of the virus, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday that the outbreak in China was now “generally under control”.

The foreign minister said outside Hubei province the number of new infections had fallen for 11 consecutive days. He said there had also been a rapid increase in the number of people who had recovered.

However, new figures released on Friday revealed the toll on medical staff in the country. Six health workers have died and 1,716 have been infected since the outbreak, officials said.

Local authorities have struggled to provide protective equipment such as respiratory masks, goggles and protective suits to hospitals in Hubei.

Meanwhile, Beijing has ordered everyone returning to the city to go into quarantine for 14 days or risk punishment.

The World Health Organization is beginning an investigation in China this weekend into the outbreak.

Coronavirus: New China figures highlight toll on medical staff

Chinese officials have given figures for health workers infected with the new coronavirus, amid concerns about shortages of protective equipment.

Six health workers have died and 1,716 have been infected since the outbreak, they said.

The death a week ago of Doctor Li Wenliang, who tried to warn authorities early on about the virus, provoked a burst of public anger and grief.

More than 1,300 people are now known to have died from the virus.

The latest figures show 122 new deaths in China, bringing the toll to 1,381.

The total number of infections has jumped to 63,922 cases, according to the National Health Commission.

The World Health Organization said there was no major shift in the virus’s pattern of mortality or severity, despite a spike in cases in Hubei, the epicentre of the disease, on Tuesday.

Most of this was down to Hubei using a broader definition to diagnose people, said Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies programme.

There was also no significant rise in cases outside China, the WHO said.

However, a cruise ship docked in Japan, the Diamond Princess, saw 44 new cases, bringing the total there to 218.

What is the situation with medical workers?

Zeng Yixin, vice minister of China’s National Health Commission, said 1,102 medical workers had been infected in Wuhan, where the outbreak began, and another 400 in other parts of Hubei province.

He said the number of infections among staff was increasing

“The duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy; their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great, and the risk of infection is high,” Mr Zeng said, quoted by Reuters.

Local authorities have struggled to provide protective equipment such as respiratory masks, goggles and protective suits in hospitals in the area.

One doctor told AFP news agency that he and 16 colleagues were showing possible symptoms of the virus.

Another medical worker said she and more than 100 other staff at her hospital had been quarantined. A further 30 had been confirmed to have been infected there out of a staff of 500 she told CNN.

On 7 February the plight of medical workers was highlighted by the death of Li Wenliang, a doctor at Wuhan Central Hospital who had tried to issue the first warning about the virus on 30 December.

 

Coronavirus: Senior Chinese officials ‘removed’ as death toll hits 1,000

China has “removed” several senior officials over their handling of the coronavirus outbreak – as the death toll passed 1,000.

The party secretary for the Hubei Health Commission, and the head of the commission, were among those who lost their jobs.

They are the most senior officials to be demoted so far.

The deputy director of the local Red Cross was also removed for “dereliction of duty” over “handling of donations”.

The two Hubei party officials will be replaced by a national figure – the deputy director of China’s National Health Commission, Wang Hesheng.

On Monday, some 103 died in Hubei province alone, a daily record, and the national death toll is now 1,016.

But the number of new infections nationally was down almost 20% from the day before, from 3,062 to 2,478.

Hubei’s health commission confirmed 2,097 new cases in the province on Monday, down from 2,618 the previous day.

According to state media, there have been hundreds of sackings, investigations and warnings across Hubei and other provinces during the outbreak.
But removal from a certain role – while regarded as a censure – does not always mean the person will be sacked entirely, as it can also mean demotion.

As well as being removed from their posts, officials can also be punished by the ruling Communist Party.

For example, the deputy head of the Red Cross, Zhang Qin, was given “a serious intra-Party warning as well as a serious administrative demerit”, state media said.

Earlier this month, the deputy head of the Wuhan bureau of statistics was removed, also with a “serious intra-party warning as well as a serious administrative demerit for violating relevant regulations to distribute face masks”.

The head of the health commission of Huanggang, the second-worst hit city in Hubei after Wuhan, has also been removed.

BREAKING NEWS!!! China says 8.2% of coronavirus patients are cured

Published by Princess Biba Barry

2mins ago.

Of all the patients confirmed to have the Wuhan coronavirus in mainland China, 8.2% have been cured, according to officials at the country’s National Health Commission (NHC). On January 27, only 1.3% of patients had been cured.

Mi Feng, a NHC spokesman, said the increased numbers were due to China’s preliminary success in treating the coronavirus, but did not elaborate on what treatment was applied on the patients.

In Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus, 6.1% of patients have been cured and showed no signs of the virus, Mi added.

Mi also said that an expert group from the World Health Organization will be visiting China to exchange ideas on containing the virus, and that an advance team will land in Beijing Monday to discuss the arrangements of the visit.

Wuhan coronavirus death toll tops 900 as China cautiously returns to work

Millions of people across China are heading back to work after the Lunar New Year break turned into an extended quarantine due to the Wuhan coronavirus.

Many will be working from their homes, however, with strict quarantine guidelines in place in many cities and most businesses urging people to work remotely if possible to reduce the chances of transmission.
Some semblance of normality may have returned, but the outbreak shows no signs of slowing, with the number of confirmed cases now at over 40,000 worldwide and the death toll at 910.
That means the coronavirus has officially killed more people than the SARS pandemic of 2003, previously one of the worst medical crises in recent Chinese history.
A total of 3,281 patients infected with the coronavirus have since been discharged from hospital as of Sunday, Chinese health authorities said.
The vast majority of the deaths have been in mainland China, leaving the country in something of a bizarre situation where some areas of it will be returning to something approaching business as usual, even as other regions face increasingly draconian restrictions on their movement and behavior in a desperate attempt to contain the virus.
A team of doctors and researchers from the World Health Organization left for China on Sunday to assist with the outbreak, led by Bruce Aylward, who the organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described as a “veteran of past public health emergencies.” Aylward led the WHO’s response to Ebola, as well as initiatives for immunization, communicable diseases control and polio eradication.
Even as the epicenter of the outbreak remains in Hubei, the province of which Wuhan is the capital and accounts for almost 30,000 of the total confirmed cases, the epidemic has spread worldwide, affecting more than two dozen countries.
The largest outbreak outside of mainland China is on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in the Japanese city of Yokohama. On Monday, an additional 66 cases were confirmed aboard, bringing the total number of cases on the ship to 136 — nearly doubling the previous total of 70 confirmed cases Sunday.
Japan has 26 additional cases, bringing the country’s total to 162. Beyond Japan, Singapore has reported 40 cases, Thailand has confirmed 32, and South Korea 27.

New diagnose of the Coronavirus in UK rounding up the number to 8.

Coronavirus: Four more people diagnosed in UK
 
Four more people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to eight.
 
It comes as the government announced new powers to keep people in quarantine to stop the spread of the virus.
 
In order to do this the Department of Health has described the coronavirus as a “serious and imminent threat” to public health. The overall risk level to the UK remains “moderate”.
 
There have been more than 40,000 cases of the virus globally, mostly in China.
 
The total number of deaths in China is now 908 – but the number of newly-infected people per day has stabilized.
 
The BBC’s political correspondent Iain Watson said the new measures were announced because a passenger on the first UK flight from Wuhan, who is currently being held in quarantine on the Wirral, “is threatening to abscond”.
 
“Currently the regulations are not strong enough to stop him leaving before the 14-day period is up so they brought in these new regulations to try and compel him to stay put,” he said.
 
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are strengthening our regulations so we can keep individuals in supported isolation for their own safety and if public health professionals consider they may be at risk of spreading the virus to other members of the public.
 
“This measure will rightly make it easier for health professionals to help keep people safe across the country.”
 
On Sunday, around 200 British and foreign nationals arrived on the second and final flight chartered to the UK from Wuhan by the Foreign Office. Evacuees were taken to a Milton Keynes conference centre for 14 days of quarantine.
 
Meanwhile, a fourth person was diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK on Sunday, having caught the virus in France.

Tackling the coronavirus threat has taken the government into uncharted territory. Quarantining hundreds of British citizens for two weeks has never been done on this scale in modern times.

Whitehall sources say the latest Department of Health announcement on the virus threat covers the tightening of some regulations to help enforce quarantine powers.

This gives legal underpinning to the quarantining of people back from Wuhan in Milton Keynes and the Wirral.

They all signed contracts committing to the 14-day isolation but it’s understood that more rigorous regulations are needed to ensure people stay the course.

This is not a ramping up in official warnings to the wider public. The language used in the official release describing an “imminent threat” was over dramatic and confusing and probably there only for obscure legal reasons.

The actual threat level announced by Public Health England a couple of weeks ago remains moderate.

Batten disease girl given custom-made drug

A girl with a deadly brain disease has been given a unique drug that was invented from scratch just for her and in a fraction of the normal time.

Mila Makovec, now aged eight, was diagnosed with fatal and untreatable Batten disease.

In less than a year, doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital in the US created the tailor-made drug to correct specific errors in Mila’s DNA.

She is now having far fewer seizures, although she is not cured.

Batten disease

Batten disease is incredibly rare, gets progressively worse and is always fatal.

Mila was three when her right foot began to turn inwards. A year later she needed to hold books close to her face as her vision was fading and by the age of five she would occasionally fall and her walk became unusual.

At six, Mila was blind, could barely speak and was having seizures.

The disease can be caused by a range of genetic mutations that stop cells being able to break down and recycle waste.

Instead, junk builds up and it can lead to the death of brain cells.

12-year-old kidney dysfunction patient seeks support for overseas treatment

A twelve years young girl, Hafsatou Jallow from Brikama, who is currently undergoing kidney dysfunction diagnoses at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul, is seeking for assistance for overseas kidney transplant treatment.

Parents of Hafsatou, who has been diagnosed with kidney disease for over two years now said their daughter’s sickness is getting worse every day and they are appealing to the government, philanthropic organisations and individuals to assist her to travel overseas for treatment.

Any individual or organisation willing to support Hafsatou can contact her family on: 3326677\6177987 or visit the family at Brikama Wellingara.

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