“Everton Football Club can confirm that, as a precautionary measure, its entire first-team squad and coaching staff are undertaking a period of self-isolation following medical advice,” the club said in a statement.”The step has been taken after a first-team player reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus. The club is in regular contact with the player in question and is monitoring the wellbeing of all players and staff.”The Premier League issued a statement on Thursday saying that matches “will go ahead as scheduled this weekend” but they are facing pressure to suspend the season, forcing them to convene an emergency meeting on Friday.Everton were scheduled to host league leaders and Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Monday.Top European leagues such as Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga have already been suspended after players either tested positive for the coronavirus or were quarantined.Topics : Everton’s first team squad and coaching staff are self-isolating after a player reported symptoms of COVID-19, the Premier League club said on Friday.The development follows Arsenal’s decision to isolate their squad and staff after manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the coronavirus. Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi has also tested positive.Everton did not name the player who reported symptoms.
“Africa still has that luxury, unlike Europe and North America,” she said.That’s where Mologic comes in. Using technology from home pregnancy and malaria tests, its saliva and finger-prick kit could be ready for sale from June for less than $1 apiece. In Africa, they will be manufactured in Senegal by diaTropix, a newly built diagnostics manufacturing facility run by the director of the Pasteur Institute, Amadou Alpha Sall, who has led training around the continent for coronavirus testing.“We are ensuring that these tests are made accessible at the cost of manufacture,” said Joe Fitchett, medical director of Mologic, which received a $1.2 million grant from the U.K. government to develop the test.The current COVID-19 tests, known as PCR tests, detect the genetic material of the pathogen in a laboratory process that can take several hours and cost over $400 in some private facilities.Since the mysterious illness emerged in China late last year more than 150,000 people have been infected around the world, shutting swathes of the global economy as countries lock down cities and ban travel. The US, with ample resources and medical technology, has come under fire for slow testing amid a surge in cases.Although the spread of the virus has been relatively slow in Africa, the number of patients climbed last week in Egypt, Senegal and South Africa, bringing the total caseload to more than 300 in at least 20 countries, with most patients having recently traveled to Europe.Mologic and the Institut Pasteur have joint capacity to produce 8 million tests a year and plan to sell them directly to African governments as well as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the WHO, Fitchett said. Mologic is seeking to acquire a manufacturing facility to produce an additional 20 million tests annually, initially in the UK and later in Africa.Training is being ramped up too. Fifteen African laboratories received guidelines last month from the Senegalese institute to diagnose the virus, while additional training was held in South Africa for another 12 African countries.In Nigeria, health officials are trying to speed up diagnosis by training staff at other public laboratories, said Chikwe Ihekweazu, the head of Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control. The country is in talks with partners and donors to acquire more kits after confirming two cases of the virus.“A quick test could be a game changer for us,” said Ihekweazu, adding that symptoms similar to malaria, which is widespread in Africa, could complicate diagnosis early on.Before 2017, Nigeria had only one laboratory to test for influenza, inside a refurbished, 48-foot container in the capital. Since then, the lab has been moved to a three-story building known as the National Reference Laboratory.“We are working non-stop,” said molecular bio-engineer Ndodo as he inspected new machinery inside the modern reference laboratory. “We need to keep working. We will get over this.”Topics : Already exhausted from testing for monkeypox and Lassa fever, Nigerian molecular bio-engineer Nnaemeka Ndodo had to work well past midnight earlier this month to find out if six Chinese construction workers were infected with the coronavirus.Ndodo had to collect samples from a hospital an hour away in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, then wait for six hours to get the results in what’s one of only five laboratories able to test for the virus in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, with about 200 million people.In about three months’ time, UK-based Mologic Ltd., in collaboration with Senegalese research foundation Institut Pasteur de Dakar, could shorten that wait to 10 minutes with a test that will help a continent with the world’s most fragile health care system cope with the pandemic. With few resources and staff, authorities are racing to contain the spread of the disease in Africa, which accounts for 1% of global health expenditure but carries 23% of the disease burden, including hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis.Thirty-six of 54 countries on the continent have the capacity to test for the coronavirus, but a spike in cases could overwhelm laboratories. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Sunday he struck a partnership with Chinese billionaire Jack Ma to distribute between 10,000 and 20,000 test kits and 100,000 masks per African country, as well as newly developed guidebooks for treatment.Separately, the Ethiopia-based Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects to distribute 200,000 tests across the continent next week, mostly from Berlin-based TIB Molbiol GmbH, according to the group’s head of laboratory, Yenew Kebede. It’s also sending more than 100 experts across Africa.“There is no shortage of lab tests in Africa, but what we want is the faster, cheaper test to quickly confirm if there is an outbreak and contain it before it gets bigger,” said Rosanna Peeling, chair of diagnostics research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The virus has killed at least 373, 439 people around the world since it appeared in late 2019 in China, according to a report compiled by AFP from official sources.In the United States, states have begun relaxing confinement measures intended to slow the spread of the virus in varying degrees.But several major US cities have issued curfews in the face of violent protests sparked by the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed last week after a white officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes.Topics : The United States on Monday recorded 743 new coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, bringing its total to 105,099 since the global pandemic began.The country has officially logged 1,809,109 cases of COVID-19, the tracker set up by the Baltimore-based university showed at 8:30pm (0030 GMT Tuesday).The death toll and number of cases in the United States are by far the worst in the world.
Technology giant Gojek’s e-wallet GoPay announced on Tuesday a new gold-investment feature called GoInvestasi in partnership with investment fintech start-up Pluang.GoPay managing director Budi Gandasoebrata said the demand for investment through e-wallets had led to GoPay providing the investment platform.“That is why we are sure that an accessible and transparent investment feature is relevant to our users’ needs,” he said in a press statement. Users can register with GoInvestasi using their Gojek-registered phone number. They can then invest as little as 0.01 gram of gold, equivalent to Rp 8,000 (US 57 cents), in Pluang with payment and investment withdrawal made through GoPay.GoInvestasi is available as a GoPay feature, and both are available in the Gojek app.Users can also save their gold and exchange it for PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) certified gold bars.Budi went on to say that all GoInvestasi transactions were supervised by the Indonesian Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (BAPPEBTI), as well as PT Kliring Berangkat Indonesia (KBI).Meanwhile, Pluang cofounder Claudia Kolonas said that partnering with GoPay would allow more people to start investing in gold.“The public’s awareness and willingness to invest has become more apparent and people are drawn to gold investment because it is low risk but still profitable,” she said.Pluang received $3 million from Go-Ventures, Gojek’s venture capital unit, in the fintech’s series A funding round in September. (eyc)Topics :
Princeton University said Saturday it was removing the name of president Woodrow Wilson from its public policy school and a residential college, calling the former US leader a racist.The Ivy League school’s board of trustees “concluded that Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms,” university President Christopher Eisgruber said in a statement.Wilson served two terms as US president, from 1913 to 1921. He was the founding father of the League of Nations, a forerunner of the United Nations, and embodied the end of American isolationism. But the 28th US president also supported racist policies, notably allowing segregation in federal agencies even after they had been racially integrated for decades.”He not only acquiesced in, but added to the persistent practice of racism in this country, a practice that continues to do harm today,” Eisgruber said.The New Jersey university will now be home to the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. A residential college named after Wilson will be known as First College.Since the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American killed by a white police officer who knelt on his neck, the United States has been swept by civil unrest with protesters demanding the end of systemic racism. Businesses and institutions have been examining their roles in perpetuating injustice.The efforts are even gaining ground in highly conservatives places like Mississippi, where lawmakers on Saturday took procedural steps to redesign the southern state’s flag, which prominently features a Confederate emblem.Governor Tate Reeves has said he will sign any bill passed by lawmakers to change the banner.Topics :
Food bank ‘shame’ To fill the fridge and feed her student son, daughter and grandson, Sonia Herrera has no choice but to rely on the food bank.”It makes me a bit ashamed to ask for help,” the 52-year-old Honduran, who lives in the Spanish capital, said.People look, and there’s the guilt of wondering if “maybe others need it more”, she added.As a domestic worker, she earned a monthly 480 euros until her employers in central Madrid let her go, the day after Spain’s lockdown began.As an undocumented migrant, she cannot claim state aid.The whole family lives on about 600 euros in unemployment benefit that her daughter Alejandra, 32, receives after losing her job as a cook in a nursery which had to close during confinement.With a few savings too, they scrape by. But little pleasures “that you notice when you lose them”, such as occasionally going out for an ice cream, are gone and their cat Bella’s operation had to be put back.”The end of the month scares me more than the virus. You have to eat after all,” Herrera said. ‘Pushed to the bottom’ Mexican tour guide Jesus Yepez has been sleeping at a homeless refuge after being evicted from his rented accommodation in the capital’s historic center early this month.”I was born on a cozy mattress in Coyoacan [a bohemian district of Mexico City where Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky lived] but the vagaries of life have pushed me to the bottom,” the 65-year-old said.Before coronavirus, he would earn 500 pesos (about $22) leading an hour-long tour.But Mexico’s museums and galleries shut at the end of March as high season began and Yepez has struggled like many others in the tourism sector, which makes up 8.7 percent of GDP.Early on, he had some savings, but they’re gone and tourists are not yet back.His qualifications in architecture, international relations, English and French are of little use to him now.”All that I ask is to get through this and find a retirement home to grow old in dignity. I’m not ill, just tired of life.”Topics : Alone at the bar The barstools at Cafe Fili, the Mediterranean restaurant in Washington where Zac Hoffman works, are now mostly empty, as customers prefer to sit outside.”I don’t feel like I’m back to work. I don’t have bar guests. The restaurant’s never full ’cause it can’t be,” the 28-year-old said.Restaurants have been Hoffman’s life since he took his first job as a prep cook aged 15.But six years ago he realized that he preferred working behind the bar, where the customer is always close and making new friends — never a bad thing as a candidate for the local area council — is easy.He used to make up to $40 an hour, mostly from tips.But after a period of unemployment when businesses shut down as the pandemic intensified in mid-March, he now makes at most $25 an hour.What worries him most, though, is whether local businesses will have to close again, in which case he believes most would never reopen, or whether he or his coworkers will be next to get the virus.”All of our interactions are kind of governed by this anxiety of possible death, which is not really where we want to be,” he said. AFP met people in France, Mexico, Ukraine, Spain, Colombia and the United States, who already are, or fear they soon will be, without work and spoke of their despair, sacrifices, dashed hopes and fears for the future. Forced career about-turn With dreams of becoming a pilot, 26-year-old Colombian Roger Ordonez had been working as a flight attendant for Avianca since 2017 but studying to get his wings.”You get used to a certain lifestyle because you have a good salary and you can travel,” he said.He’s visited various countries in the region and the US in recent years and took his family for their first trip abroad.At the end of March, at the airline’s request, he agreed to take two weeks’ unpaid leave, which was then extended.Two months later, he learned that his temporary contract would not be renewed after it ended on June 30.In the meantime, Avianca filed for bankruptcy.Ordonez has had to abandon his pilot studies and can no longer help his family out with the bills.”I’ve looked for work but it’s difficult because my sector is tourism and it’s the most affected by COVID-19,” he said.He’s thinking of retraining, perhaps in management, trade or sales, he says. Many workers’ lives have been abruptly upended by the coronavirus pandemic, as job losses in tourism, air travel, food and drink or other industries hit those both on fixed contracts and in the informal sector.From employees making a comfortable living, to others just scraping by, people around the world are confronting anxiety over how to feed their families and shame at being forced to seek handouts amid growing poverty.The IMF says that world GDP is set to plunge 4.9 percent this year from the crisis sparked by the global pandemic, and warns that low-income households and unskilled workers are most affected. The married, father of two made a monthly 1,800-2,600 euros ($2,062-2,978), and in a really good month could sometimes earn 4,000 euros.But as soon as France locked down, the work stopped and the family is surviving on state aid of 875 euros.He hasn’t been able to meet his monthly rent of 950 euros since March, nor the electricity bill for three months. Although he’s managed to keep up his 250-euro car loan repayments, the family’s holiday in the south west is now off the cards, he said.”We’ve lost everything… Psychologically you have to cope with it,” he told AFP. But his wife is suffering from depression and he is just holding out for September when he hopes business will resume — virus permitting. Living in fear Marie Cedile dreads hearing that she’ll be among those to lose their jobs at French shoe company Andre, which filed for bankruptcy on March 21 before going into receivership.Under the only takeover offer on the table, just half of the 450 staff would be kept on.She’s worried that at the age of 54 and having spent all her working life at Andre, she’ll have trouble finding a new job.”I have customers whom I fitted for shoes when they were little and who come today to get their children fitted,” she said.One of her two daughters died aged 29 last year of brain cancer, she said.”Fortunately I had my work, relationships with the customers, that helps.”After 30 years she still earns the minimum wage — 1,250 euros a month.Just over 1,000 euros goes on rent for their flat in the Morangis suburb of Paris.”You need two salaries to cover it. My husband is unemployed but he’s younger than me, he should find a job,” she said.”I’ll take anything if I’m laid off, even if it means cleaning houses, I’ll find something.” ‘Total shock’ Ukrainian IT specialist Natalia Murashko, 39, was due for a promotion after four years as a senior quality-control engineer at American travel company Fareportal.When the pandemic hit, about 15 employees were dismissed on March 31 but she thought her job was safe as her bosses had reassured her.However, the very next day, she was given two weeks’ notice. “I thought at first it was a stupid April Fool’s joke,” she said.”It was a total shock.”Murashko’s computer skills placed her in a rarefied group that can make several thousand euros a month in Ukraine, compared to an average salary in the country of around 300 euros. She was able to afford a cleaner, trips to the beautician and new clothes.From one day to the next, her life changed beyond recognition.Now she’s living off savings and odd jobs. Last month, the mum of two teens, who also looks after her 73-year-old mother, made 600 euros.Her job hunting has been fruitless and she limits her spending to the absolute minimum.”One thing I haven’t cut is my psychotherapist,” she said. Since losing her job, she’s had trouble sleeping and suffers anxiety. Plunged into precariousness “I’ve slipped into a state of insecurity,” says Frenchman Xavier Chergui, 44, who for 10 years has been a temp maitre d’, filling in at Paris restaurants when they were short staffed.
‘Prepared for prison’ The security law was introduced in a bid to quell last year’s huge and often violent pro-democracy protests, and authorities have since wielded their new powers to pursue the city’s democracy camp, sparking criticism from western nations and sanctions from the United States. Lai’s Apple Daily and Next Magazine are unapologetically pro-democracy and critical of Beijing. Few Hong Kongers generate the level of personal vitriol from Beijing that Lai does.China routinely calls him a a “traitor” and a “black hand” behind last year’s protests.Allegations of Lai colluding with foreigners went into overdrive in state media last year when he met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence.Lai spoke to AFP in mid-June, two weeks before the new security law was imposed on Hong Kong.”I’m prepared for prison,” he said.He described Beijing’s new security law as “a death knell for Hong Kong” and said he feared authorities would come after his journalists. He also brushed off the collusion allegations, saying Hong Kongers had a right to meet with foreign politicians. Journalists working at Lai’s Apple Daily took to Facebook to broadcast dramatic footage of police officers conducting the raid, and the newspaper’s chief editor Law Wai-kwong demanding a warrant from officers.”Tell your colleagues to keep their hands off until our lawyers check the warrant,” he was filmed saying.Apple’s staff were ordered to leave their seats and line up so police could check their identities as officers conducted searches across the newsroom.At one point Lai was present, in handcuffs and surrounded by officers. Police said the search was conducted with a court warrant which was shown to staff.Chris Yeung, president of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, described the police action as “shocking and terrifying”. “This is unprecedented, and would be unimaginable only one or two months ago,” he said.Apple editor Law later sent a note to staff, seen by AFP, telling reporters to “stand by their posts” as he vowed to get the latest edition printed despite the raid. Sweeping new law Beijing’s new law targets secession, subversion, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.Both China and Hong Kong have said it will not affect freedoms and only targets a minority.But its broadly worded provisions criminalized certain political speech overnight, such as advocating sanctions, greater autonomy or independence for Hong Kong.Critics, including many Western nations, believe the law has ended the key liberties and autonomy that Beijing promised Hong Kong could keep after its 1997 handover by Britain. Washington last week responded by imposing sanctions on a group of Chinese and Hong Kong officials — including the city’s leader Carrie Lam.The law’s introduction has coincided with ramped up police action against democracy supporters.About two dozen — including Lai — have been charged for defying a police ban to attend a Tiananmen remembrance vigil in early June. Lai and many others are also being prosecuted for taking part in last year’s protests.Last month a dozen high-profile pro-democracy figures were disqualified from standing in local elections for holding unacceptable political views.The banned opinions included being critical of the security law and campaigning to win a majority in the city’s partially-elected legislature in order to block government laws.Shortly after the disqualifications, city leader Lam postponed the elections for a year, citing a surge in coronavirus cases. Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai was arrested Monday and led in handcuffs through his newspaper office as police raided the building, part of a sweeping crackdown on dissent since China imposed a security law on the city.Lai, 71, was among seven people detained on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces — one of the new national security offences — and fraud in an operation targeting the Next Media publishing group. It was the latest police operation against dissidents since Beijing imposed the law on Hong Kong at the end of June. Two of Lai’s sons were among those detained, a police source told AFP. Topics :
‘Hungry customer’ Dubai, which has the most diversified economy in the region, saw its GDP contract 3.5 percent in the first quarter following two years of modest growth. Its Emirates airline, the leader in Middle East aviation, was forced to downsize and cut thousands of jobs.After years of growth, the Israeli economy is facing a “severe recession”, with GDP set to fall by 6.2 percent this year, according to official projections, while unemployment has jumped from 3.4 percent in February to 23.5 percent in May. Normalization could boost recovery. “Israel would benefit greatly if it can purchase UAE oil, and the UAE will benefit if it can sell to a hungry customer,” said Wald.Israel wants to attract business for its tourism industry, especially in the Mediterranean metropolis of Tel Aviv, and to attract Muslim visitors to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site.Currently most of the millions of Israelis who travel abroad each year head to Europe or the United States, but that could now change.In Israel’s third largest city of Haifa, which has a mixed Arab and Jewish population, travel agency Mirage Tours has already started advertising travel to Dubai with the promise “soon”.”I get a lot of calls from Arabs and Jews and there’re many Jews who ask me for a seat when there is a first flight,” said owner George Muhashim. Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994 but some of his customers are nervous about visiting two countries, with which the Jewish state fought bitter and bloody wars in the past.The UAE, however, is a dream destination Muhashim says. Topics : Hard hit by the coronavirus, the UAE and Israel expect rapid dividends from their normalization deal, which gives the Jewish state “kosher” access to the wealthy Gulf for the first time.From oil to tourism to cutting edge technologies, the two countries hope to benefit from the ripple effect of their “historic” agreement to be signed in three weeks time.The oil-rich United Arab Emirates, with big ambitions in space and technology, is the first Gulf state to normalize relations with Israel and only the third Arab country to do so after Egypt and Jordan. Saudi Arabia has said it will not follow in the UAE’s footsteps until Israel has signed a peace accord with the Palestinians.Economically, “Israel and the UAE should benefit from this new relationship tremendously,” says Ellen R. Wald, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center.While Israel’s focus will mainly be on the Gulf state’s oil wealth, the UAE is set to invest heavily in Israel’s tourism and high-tech sectors. ‘Kosher’ On Sunday, Israel’s Channel 12 television reported that the economy ministry had estimated exports to the UAE could reach between $300 million and $500 million a year. UAE investments in Israel were predicted to amount to up to $350 million a year. The sectors expected to gain the most were cyber industries, medical equipment, financial technology and communications, the report said. “The Emiratis admire Israeli competitive advantage and know-how in the cyber and high-tech sectors and they absolutely want to get access to said know-how, as a very forward-looking leadership,” said Cinzia Bianco, a research fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Over the past 20 years, the Israeli foreign ministry has helped “more than 500 Israeli companies who wanted to do business with companies in the Gulf states, resulting in deals worth millions of dollars,” an official in Jerusalem said, on condition of anonymity.Prior to last Thursday’s announcement, business was done discreetly, according to Erel Margalit, head of Israeli investment company JVP – which specializes in innovation and cyber security.”But now it’s all ‘kosher’… we shall have a more direct relationship and things will move faster,” he told AFP. ‘Headache’ Israelis would occasionally meet Emiratis at international fairs or use employees with non-Israeli passports to travel there but products could not be identified as made in Israel.Small Israeli start-up Bo&Bo Ltd had for two years been trying to distribute its advanced physiotherapy equipment in the UAE through third parties.”It was a huge headache as you had to manufacture it in a different country,” co-founder Gadi Nir told AFP.Since last week’s normalization announcement, things have accelerated, with Bo&Bo having negotiated a first contract in the UAE to distribute its “Made in Israel” products there over the next three years.But with the coronavirus pandemic still raging and direct flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai or Abu Dhabi yet to become reality, the contract signing ceremony is to take place on Zoom.
Even so, Jokowi “invited the public” to provide insights for the numerous regulations needed under the jobs law as he wanted to move on to proceed with the drafting of the required government regulations (PP) and presidential regulations (Perpres) for the implementation of the law.“The Job Creation Law needs a lot of PP and Perpres, which will be completed three months at the latest after the law is passed,” he said.Jokowi insisted that the law would increase employment especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected millions of workers across the country and would also pave the way for more small and medium enterprises to grow as overlapping-regulations had been removed.The omnibus law amended some 79 prevailing laws and more than 1,200 articles from labor and mining regulations to business license and environmental laws, among other things, to cut red tape and improve bureaucratic efficiency, particularly in regard to business permits and investment.Tens of thousands of people have staged a nationwide strike and protested in the days since the passage of the law on Monday, demanding the government revoke a law that they claim will only benefit employers and investors while trampling on the interests of workers.Topics : In his first public comment on the passage of the controversial Job Creation Law, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said that criticism of the law is merely based on “disinformation and hoaxes spread through social media”.The President claimed on Friday that various “allegations” made against the law, such as claims that it removed employees’ rights to leave and social security, including retirement benefits, were inaccurate.“I assure you that it is not true. Leave rights and social security will still be there,” Jokowi said in a teleconference. He further dismissed arguments surrounding the provision that eliminated environmental impact analysis (Amdal) requirements, saying that “big industries” still needed to conduct such analyses prior to operation.Jokowi, however, failed to mention other contentious provisions in the widely criticized law, such as the provision that relaxes requirements for outsourced employees and changes in six laws related to the environment that would relax environmental standards.The President also did not address concerns about the lack of public participation and transparency in the deliberation of the law, as critics claimed that labor unions and civil society groups were not fully included from the beginning of the deliberation process.Read also: Thousands arrested, over 100 injured in jobs law protests