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The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today issued a Red Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) on three regions in Italy in view of the health risks arising from the COVID-19 outbreak there. The three regions, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto, recorded a persistent and rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. The regions cover Bologna, Milan, Venice and Verona. The Hong Kong SAR Government, having issued a Red OTA on Iran on January 10 due to safety concerns, also alerted the public about the outbreak of COVID-19 cases and associated public health risks in that country. Udder the red alert, those who plan to travel to the Italian regions concerned and Iran are urged to adjust travel plans and avoid non-essential travel. Those who are already there should heed announcements by local authorities, wear surgical masks at all times and avoid unnecessary visits to healthcare facilities and crowded places. People who must travel there should pay close attention to the latest COVID-19 situation and corresponding travel health advice issued by the Department of Health. Upon return to Hong Kong from these places, people should promptly consult a doctor if experiencing a fever or other relevant symptoms, inform the doctor of any recent travel history and exposure to animals, and wear surgical masks for 14 days. Hong Kong residents in Italy or Iran who need assistance may call the 24-hour hotline of the Immigration Department’s Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit at (852) 1868 or contact the Chinese Embassy in the two countries. The consular protection hotlines of the Chinese embassies in Italy and Iran are (39) 3939110852 and (98) 912-2176035 respectively. The SAR Government has also issued a Red OTA on Korea in light of the persistent and rapid increase of COVID-19 cases in that country.
posted on Feb 28, 2020 12:00 am
At 6 p.m. at the Hong Kong Observatory : Air temperature : 24 degrees Celsius Relative Humidity : 76 per cent During the past hour the mean UV Index recorded at King's Park : 0.3 Intensity of UV radiation : low The air temperatures at other places were: Hong Kong Observatory24 degrees ; King's Park24 degrees ; Wong Chuk Hang24 degrees ; Ta Kwu Ling24 degrees ; Lau Fau Shan24 degrees ; Tai Po25 degrees ; Sha Tin24 degrees ; Tuen Mun24 degrees ; Tseung Kwan O23 degrees ; Sai Kung22 degrees ; Cheung Chau22 degrees ; Chek Lap Kok25 degrees ; Tsing Yi23 degrees ; Shek Kong25 degrees ; Tsuen Wan Ho Koon23 degrees ; Tsuen Wan Shing Mun Valley25 degrees ; Hong Kong Park23 degrees ; Shau Kei Wan21 degrees ; Kowloon City25 degrees ; Happy Valley24 degrees ; Wong Tai Sin25 degrees ; Stanley22 degrees ; Kwun Tong24 degrees ; Sham Shui Po25 degrees ; Kai Tak Runway Park23 degrees ; Yuen Long Park25 degrees ; Tai Mei Tuk24 degrees .
posted on Feb 29, 2020 6:02 pm
Communicable Diseases Watch Volume 17, Number 4, Week 7 - 8 (February 9 - February 22, 2020)
posted on Feb 27, 2020 12:00 am
From 19 to 25 February, no new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported. This was the first time since the beginning of the response that no new confirmed cases were reported over a seven-day period (Figure 1). The most recent case was reported in Beni Health Zone, North Kivu Province on 17 February. While the lack of new confirmed cases reported in the last seven days is a major achievement, the outbreak remains active and risk of additional cases emerging remains high. In the past 21 days (5 to 25 February 2020), four confirmed cases were reported from two health areas in Beni Health Zone in North Kivu Province (Figure 2, Table 1). Even with strengthened surveillance operations, transmission of Ebola virus outside of groups currently under surveillance cannot be excluded. Ebola virus also persists in some survivors’ body fluids, with potential to infect others. In at least one instance during this outbreak, relapse – in which a person who has recovered from EVD develops symptoms again – was observed, sparking a new chain of transmission which has taken several months to interrupt. To mitigate a potential resurgence of the outbreak, it is critical to maintain response capacities to rapidly detect and respond to any new cases, and to prioritize survivor support and monitoring and the maintenance of cooperative relationships with the survivors’ associations. Substantial surveillance, pathogen detection, and clinical management activities are currently ongoing, including validating alerts, following remaining contacts who were potentially exposed to the virus, supporting rapid diagnostics of suspected cases, and working with community members to strengthen surveillance on people who pass away in the communities. As of 25 February, 510 contacts are currently under surveillance, of which 97% were followed daily in the last seven days. In the last seven days, more than 5100 alerts per day were reported and investigated, of which over 400 alerts (including ~70 community deaths) were validated as suspected EVD cases; requiring laboratory testing and specialized care within the established Ebola treatment and transit centres. On average, suspect cases stay in these facilities for three days before EVD can be definitively ruled out (i.e. after two negative polymerase chain reaction tests 48 hours apart), while care is provided for their illness under isolation precautions. Timely testing of suspected cases continues to be provided across 11 operational laboratories deployed in cities that have been affected by the outbreak. From 17 to 23 February, more than 3600 samples were tested.
posted on Feb 27, 2020 8:00 am
Secure and equal access to land for all: Lessons on land governance and climate resilience from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Secure land and property rights are an essential aspect of planning for and delivering sustainable human settlements, as recognised in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and its New Urban Agenda. Secure land tenure schemes can play an especially important role in enabling households, communities and cities to adapt to climate change, for...
posted on Feb 28, 2020 10:24 pm
By Sophie Hares, UNDRR – Americas and the CaribbeanMenaced by increasingly violent hurricanes, Caribbean countries face an enormous bill to better protect themselves disasters and need to weave a web of financing options to help insulate against shocks, said speakers at a regional conference. Boosting lackluster economic growth, ramping up insurance and disaster funds, and embracing the private sector would help bolster countries which needed to invest more in resilience, said speakers at the Comprehensive Disaster Management Conference (CDM11) in Sint Maarten. "Budgeting for disaster should be a must for us all," said Silveria Jacobs, prime minister of Sint Maarten, which was ravaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017. A common disaster fund and a joint insurance plan to protect the small businesses that drive local economies could help the region, she told the conference, organized by the Caribbean Disasters and Emergency Agency (CDEMA). "Government cannot definitely not go it alone… Business resilience drives the economy which ensures that islands can bounce back even faster," said Jacobs, who urged more investment in resilient infrastructure. With many countries heavily indebted, creating layers of risk financing was key if countries are to limit the economic impact of disasters, which could also include flooding, drought, tsunamis and seismic activity, said speakers. Risk financing layers should include funds shaved from national budgets, paired with fast-paying parametric insurance and access to lines of credit, said Ming Zhang, World Bank regional practice manager for urban and disaster risk management. While new insurance products could help protect livelihoods and the fishing industry in the event of disasters, there was more scope to expand insurance to include households and small businesses, said Zhang in an interview. "You cannot set up a contingency fund to address a Category 5 hurricane," said Zhang, who estimates disasters cost the Caribbean 1 percent of its gross domestic product each year. "You need a risk financing strategy… each country should look at different layers and different contingencies, insurance and other mechanisms." While countries such as St. Lucia and Grenada were looking to set up disaster funds bolstered by lines of credit, there needs to be more focus on how money was being spent in the region to better prepare for disasters, he said. More advanced recovery planning was needed to make sure emergency shelters and supplies were available, while strengthening homes and infrastructure could help reduce economic impact down the track, he said. "In the midst of borrowing for public investment, governments need to ensure that these funds are certainly being spent to ensure resilience," said Ronald Jackson, CDEMA executive director, said in an interview. "That's one area that will drive down exposure and be a lower cost to government when these events occur." NO SILVER BULLET Emergency cash payments to small businesses, farmers and the most vulnerable after hurricanes in Barbados and Dominica helped stimulate the local economies and get people back on their feet, said speakers. But countries needed to ensure adequate systems were in place to disperse social protection payments to make sure they reach the right people as quickly as possible, they added. "No single financial instrument is the solution, we have to adopt a risk layering approach," Nicholas Grainger, programme associate at the World Food Programme, told the conference. Given the private sector shells out for up to 85 percent of all investment and absorbs the lion's share of disaster losses, businesses should be closer involved in trying to driving down risk and promoting economic resilience, said speakers. "It's very clear that reducing disaster risk cannot be done by one actor or sector alone," Nahuel Arenas, Deputy Chief of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean, told the conference. "Resilient investment is about integrating risk through business practices and investment decisions." The UNDRR-backed business network, known as The Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies or ARISE, is growing quickly in the Caribbean where companies are increasingly aware that disaster risk reduction (DRR) makes sound business sense, said speakers. Jeffrey Beckles, chief executive of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, said the private sector wanted a greater role in DRR given it was a major employer and driver of growth. It also has a lot to lose. Businesses suffered some 90 percent of the massive losses in the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian in September, he added. "We bring to the table the ability to look further down the road than any single administration," Beckles told the conference. "We bring to the table a much deeper, wider capacity for casting a longer-term strategy for resiliency and prospects for our country's stability," Developing the digital and blue economies, while finding ways to expand the benefits of industries such as tourism could help bolster the region's economy and ultimately make households more resilient, said speakers. "Resilient people build resilient lives, and resilient communities and economies," said Sint Maarten's Jacobs. Related links https://www.cdema.org/cdm11/ https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/caribbean https://cdema.org/ https://www.wfp.org/ https://www.thebahamaschamber.com/
posted on Jan 03, 2020 7:00 am
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