Hong Kong airport deploys robots to disinfect ahead of expected traffic jump
UNTV News • May 8, 2020 • 315
Hong Kong’s International Airport is deploying cleaning robots and is testing out a disinfection booth for staff as the city lifts social distancing restrictions and authorities prepare for an expected jump in traffic in June.
One robot being used in the public toilets emits ultraviolet rays and sprays disinfectant. It was first used on chartered flights that brought residents back to Hong Kong as the coronavirus spread in other countries. About 10 robots are being used in total in the airport, including a couple that clean floors.
The booth being tested out on staff sprays disinfectant for 40 seconds and uses facial recognition technology.
Stephen Yiu, a deputy director with the airport authority, said he expects travel to pick up in June, when a 14-day mandatory quarantine measure for people coming from the mainland and Taiwan is set to expire.
The global aviation industry has been hit hard as global travel has been restricted. The airport’s latest statistics show that 5,550 passenger flights arrived in Hong Kong in March, a drop in 82.1% compared with the same month last year.
Yiu said the airport has learned from procedures developed in the wake of the SARS outbreak in 2003.
“We found it very useful during the recent virus outbreak,” he said.
Hong Kong, which had a total of 1,045 confirmed cases of COVID-19, has had zero local infections in more than two weeks, prompting restrictions to be relaxed. Game centres, gyms, and cinemas were allowed to re-open as of Friday (May 8). (Reuters)
Navotas City will be placed under a 14-day lockdown due to the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco confirmed what has been floating on social media regarding the lockdown, although he added that he is still yet to sign the directive.
Based on the report of City Health officials on Sunday (July 12), there are 931 confirmed cases in the city.
Tiangco lamented that despite the rising cases, residents continue to leave their houses irresponsibly. He also said that several children are playing outside without wearing face masks.
Barangay NBBS Dagat-dagatan has the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city.
Barangay Chairperson Zenaida Tibulan said most of the residents thought there is less danger when community quarantine eased.
“Lahat halos lumalabas na noong nagkaroon ng GCQ parang pakiramdam nila natapos na ang problema. Sobra lang mahirap talaga para masasabi nating ma-control ang mga tao at mga bata na lumabas (Almost everyone went outside when GCQ was implemented, they thought the problem is over. It is really difficult to control residents and children not to leave their houses),” she said.
Mayor Tiangco said he is still waiting for the augmentation force he requested from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to begin the implementation of the lockdown in the city. –AAC (with reports from Dante Amento).
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Monday said it has opened its convalescent plasma center in the Philippine capital to help in the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The PRC said its convalescent plasma bank was opened in its National Blood Center in Port Area and has started operations Monday.
In a statement, PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the facility aims to help COVID-19 patients after some medical experts attested to the therapy’s effectiveness.
“Pinilit naming magkaroon ng convalescent plasma center para mabigyan ng pag-asa ang mga kababayan natin na may COVID,” he said as he noted that 9 out 10 patients who underwent the therapy have recovered from the disease.
Convalescent plasma therapy involves the extraction of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to be transfused to a patient who is still battling the disease. Blood plasma is expected to contain antibodies which will help recipients fight off the infection.
Gordon said the center is open for COVID-19 survivors who wish to donate blood plasma to the PRC.
COVID-19 survivors between the ages of 18 and 65 would have to undergo physical and medical to see if they are qualified to donate blood plasma.
To date, the Philippines has recorded a total of 57,006 COVID-19 cases. Of these patients, 20,371 have recovered while 1,599 died from the disease.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, often floated as a future Japanese premier, said on Monday (July 13) the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming the novel coronavirus, even as her city grapples with stubborn spikes in cases.
The 2020 Olympics were scheduled to start this month but were postponed because of the coronavirus. Koike has pledged to win public support for the Games, although a media survey showed a majority think they should be cancelled or postponed again.
“I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind,” Koike told Reuters in an online interview. She declined to specify a deadline for deciding if the Games could go ahead.
Tokyo’s jump in COVID-19 cases comes as Abe’s government prepares to launch a campaign to promote domestic tourism, but that has raised concern about spreading the virus outside the capital. (Reuters)
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