Chinese restaurants clear stock to curb coronavirus losses

UNTV News   •   February 14, 2020   •   472

Wang Chuanchao was looking forward to serving customers in his restaurant during the Lunar New Year holiday, stockpiling 300,000 yuan ($42,965.17) worth of goods from celery to ox tripe.

But this week, he started selling them off in an effort to cut his losses.

Many Chinese restaurants shut operations temporarily in late January amid the outbreak of a new coronavirus epidemic that began with the country’s central city of Wuhan, after local governments put stringent curbs on travel and shut down public areas, to curb the risk of infection.

But with closures dragging on, many are now looking for ways to survive and raise cash to pay workers’ salaries.

Having noticed that many residents are struggling to purchase food, Wang organised his restaurant staff to set up temporary stands out on the road to clear their stockpile of vegetables, boxes of half-prepared ingredients and frozen meat, as well as snacks, offering the products at what he says is his cost price.

“We happen to have these goods that can be provided to meet people’s needs,” said the 32-year-old owner. “We can’t be like those people who are fighting on the front line, but we should try and do what we can to contribute to society.”

A report published this week by China Cuisine Association said the virus outbreak has erased 500 billion yuan ($7.16 bn) from the catering sector during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, with 93 per cent of restaurants shutting down operations.

The holiday last year contributed 15.5 per cent of the industry’s total annual income, but this year 78 per cent of the restaurants it surveyed reported that they would record a loss of 100 per cent during this period.

Wang admits that he still faces huge losses, estimating that he has managed to sell 1,500 yuan ($215) worth of vegetables a day so far, far lower than the 20,000 yuan ($3,581) a day he usually brings in when the restaurant is open. (Reuters)

(Production: Thomas Suen, Irene Wang)

DOH asks hospitals to increase bed capacity to accommodate more COVID-19 patients

Marje Pelayo   •   July 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is asking hospitals across the country to increase their bed capacity to accommodate more coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

This is because most major hospitals in Metro Manila are already in the danger zone or nearing full capacity due to the surge of COVID-19 cases. 

Administrative Order No.2020-0016 states that hospitals must allot 30% bed capacity for COVID-19 cases; but currently, public hospitals are utilizing 20% bed capacity while 9% in private hospitals.

Commitment po ng mga private hospitals po na maglaan ng 20 percent ng kanilang total functional bed capacity for COVID. Nakiusap ako na kung pwedeng kung kailangan ay dagdagan pa ng 10 percent para maging 30 percent,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said. 

[It is the commitment of private hospitals to allot 20 percent of their total functional bed capacity for COVID. I asked them, if possible, to increase their capacity by 10 percent to make it 30 percent.]

Samantala ang atin pong mga pampublikong mga hospital ay atin pong pinakiusap ay yung 30 percent naman nila na allocated for COVID ay kinakailangan up to 50 percent ng kanilang bed capacity,” he added.

[Meanwhile, our private hospitals were also asked to increase bed capacity from 30 percent and make it 50 percent for COVID patients.]

At present, four major hospitals in Metro Manila have declared full capacity and can no longer accept COVID-19 patients. 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern over the Philippines’ problems with bed capacity for COVID-19 cases. 

WHO Active Country Rep. Dr. Rabindra Abesayinghe recommends that only the severe and critical cases who needed critical care in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) be accepted to address the matter. 

“Other measures that need to be done and the government is practicing now is encouraging the management of mild cases or asymptomatic positives in so called isolation centers, rather than admitting them to hospitals,” he said. 

“Because mild or asymptomatic people don’t require the facilities available in a hospital to manage them,” he added. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Defense chief Lorenzana to go on quarantine after staff contracts COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday said he would go on self-quarantine after a member of his staff tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Lorenzana, who heads the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said his staff learned of his positive swab test result when they landed together in Jolo, Sulu on Monday.

He said his aide was also with him when they went to Subic, Zambales last Friday.

The Defense chief, however, assured that the said staff member did not interact with President Rodrigo Duterte during their Jolo trip.

Lorenzana said he already underwent swab testing and will await the result while on quarantine.

This is not the first time that Lorenzana went on quarantine as he voluntarily went on isolation in May for having close contact with Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Felimon Santos Jr. who contracted and recovered from the disease.

Japan accuses China of pushing territorial claims

UNTV News   •   July 14, 2020

Japan’s annual defense review accuses China of pushing its territorial claims amid the coronavirus pandemic and suspects Beijing of spreading propaganda and disinformation as it provides medical aid to nations fighting COVID-19.

“We’ve written some details about China’s persistent moves to attempt to alter the status quo surrounding the Senkaku Islands which is our territory,” said Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday (July 14).

The white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Tuesday described “relentless” intrusions in waters around a group of islets claimed by both nations in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

In the South China Sea, it said Beijing was asserting territorial claims by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands, that forced countries distracted by the coronavirus outbreak to respond.

Japan sees China as a longer-term and more serious threat than nuclear-armed North Korea. Beijing now spends four times as much as Tokyo on defence as it builds a large modern military. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Akiko Okamoto)

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