Vietnam to evacuate 80,000 people from Danang after virus outbreak

UNTV News   •   July 28, 2020   •   321

Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from the central tourism hot spot of Danang on Monday (July 27) after three residents tested positive for the coronavirus on the weekend, the government said.

The Southeast Asian country is back on high alert after the government on Saturday (July 25) confirmed its first community infections since April, and another three cases on Sunday (July 26), all in and around Danang.

The evacuation will take at least four days with domestic airlines operating approximately 100 flights daily from Danang to 11 Vietnamese cities, the government said in a statement.

Vietnam has imposed strict quarantine measures and carried out an aggressive and widespread testing programme during the pandemic, keeping its total tally of reported infections to just 420, with no deaths. =

Vietnam is still closed to foreign tourism, but saw a surge in domestic travellers looking to take advantage of discounted flights and holiday packages for local hotels and resorts. Those arriving from Danang to other parts of the country would be required to quarantine at home for 14 days, the health ministry said. Following the discovery of the new cases, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered police to step up a crackdown on illegal immigration to the country.

State media on Sunday said police in Danang had arrested a 42-year-old Chinese man it said was the head of a criminal group which helps people illegally enter Vietnam from China.

Authorities have not officially linked the new cases in Danang to illegal immigration. The government said in a separate statement on Monday that authorities in Ha Giang province, which borders China, had caught more than 1,500 people illegally crossing into the province since May. Most of those caught were Vietnamese citizens, the statement said, and were quarantined. (Reuters)

(Production: Minh Nguyen)

Coronavirus outbreak inspires bursts of mask fashion creativity in Indonesia, Malaysia

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Designers in Indonesia and Malaysia are adding their artistic touches to reusable face masks, providing essential supplies and style and uniqueness amid the pandemic.

In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Nicholas Septian Sugandi’s print shop had been losing business throughout his country’s mass-scale restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but thanks to a new product introduced in May, lost business has been “recovered”.

Sugandi’s shop has been printing customers’ faces onto reusable face masks so that they can “look like themselves” when wearing it.

Each of the reusable masks takes around 30 minutes to produce, and cost 50,000 Indonesian rupiah ($3) each. The print shop has received hundreds of orders.

Wearing a face mask remains a mandatory practice across Indonesia.

In neighbouring Malaysia, textile designer Hafiz Drahman has utilised traditional designs from around the region to create colourful cloth masks with interchangeable filters.

In particular, Hafiz uses Batik, which is a traditional Javanese art that uses wax and ink to decorate cloth, and is derived from the Javanese word “titik,” meaning “dot”.

“So, as a designer, I saw that as an opportunity to use the cloth that I had, that is Batik textiles, and turn it into face masks,” Hafiz said from his workshop in Shah Alam, on the outskirts of capital Kuala Lumpur.

Although face masks are not compulsory in Malaysia, people are encouraged to wear them to protect themselves in public areas.

Hafiz currently sells his masks at 20 ringgits ($4.68) each.

Indonesia currently has 50,187 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,620 deaths, the highest total in Southeast Asia, while Malaysia has recorded 8,600 cases and 121 deaths as of Friday morning (June 26). (Reuters)

(Production: Yuddy Budiman, Embrahim Harris, Angie Teo)

Houses sealed off in Verl, Germany after meat factory virus outbreak

UNTV News   •   June 24, 2020

A residential area in the town of Verl was sealed off on Tuesday (June 23) and its residents put into compulsory quarantine after a coronavirus outbreak at a meatpacking plant nearby.

As a fence was set up surrounding the area, some residents were tested by medical staff outside their buildings while others watched from their windows and were handed toys and wet wipes by staff on the other side of the fence.

Verl mayor Michael Esken said it was the only solution he could come up with given that many plant employees live side by side with neighbours who work elsewhere, increasing the risk of contagion for the whole community.

Earlier, the premier of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet said he was putting the entire Guetersloh district, where Verl is located, back into lockdown until June 30.

Guetersloh, with about 360,000 residents, is the first area in Germany to reintroduce a lockdown after the authorities began gradually lifting restrictive measures at the end of April.

Also on Tuesday, the head of the Robert Koch Institute for public health, Lothar Wieler, said local outbreaks had been a major factor behind a spike in the last few days in the coronavirus reproduction rate, currently estimated at 2.76.

A reproduction rate, or ‘R’, of 2.76 means that 100 people who have contracted the virus infect, on average, 276 others. (Reuters)

(Production: Erol Dogrudogan, Elena Gyldenkerne)

Japan to ease entry for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, NZ – Abe

UNTV News   •   June 19, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.

Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.

Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

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