Lockdowns, Round 2: A New Virus Surge Prompts Restrictions, and Pushback

first_img“But it’s also much worse than the spring because this virus is now much more widespread,” she said. “It’s not just one region of the country experiencing the surge. It’s every state.”As in the spring, the latest moves to buckle down have frequently been led by Democratic officials, who have tended to be more willing than Republicans to place restrictions on businesses and issue mask mandates. The governors of Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington who have announced new restrictions in the last few days are all Democrats.So is Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, who said on Monday that his state was “pulling the emergency brake” on its reopening plan.He moved most of California’s more populous counties back into the most restrictive tier in the state’s tiered reopening plan, meaning that indoor dining and some other businesses that had been allowed to reopen with limits would have to shut down again. Mr. Newsom added that the state was studying options for imposing a curfew. The virus killed about 1,700 people in Philadelphia in the early months of the pandemic, overwhelming the city’s funeral homes. With Covid-19 hospitalizations soaring again in the city, Dr. Farley warned that the virus could kill a similar number of Philadelphians this fall and winter if left unchecked. Dr. Atlas said later on Sunday that he did not mean to incite violence.The fraught political atmosphere is a return to an earlier era of the pandemic, when protesters who were angry about business shutdowns screamed without masks on at state capitols and Mr. Trump encouraged right-wing protests demanding the reopening of the economy. Those tensions faded in the summer after viral outbreaks cooled in many states. Governors made plans to open up businesses and restaurants, and some of the millions of jobs lost in the pandemic came back. But the new restrictions are meeting resistance, and it has been especially fierce in Michigan, where Governor Whitmer, a Democrat, said on Sunday evening that she would shut down indoor dining, shutter casinos and movie theaters, and halt in-person learning at high schools and colleges for three weeks. A Republican state legislator quickly called for her to be impeached, and Dr. Scott Atlas, President Trump’s coronavirus adviser, urged people in the state to “rise up” in protest. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – But now, the arc of the pandemic has returned to crisis levels nearly everywhere.The country is now recording more than 150,000 new cases each day on average, more than ever before. More than 69,000 people are in the hospital with the virus, the highest number of the pandemic. Reports of coronavirus-related deaths are up 64 percent in the past month, to more than 1,100 people a day. And governors and mayors are returning to the lecterns and video streams where they held daily briefings in the spring, this time to announce urgent new restrictions and plead for compliance.“It feels very similar to the spring,” said Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Dr. Watson said she worried that hospitals in many cities would soon become overwhelmed, as they were in New York City and other places on the East Coast during the spring peak. Under the new rules, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people for every 1,000 square feet of space, which Dr. Farley said meant barring fans from football games. Youth, community and school sports will be canceled. High schools and colleges were told to shift to remote learning, but child care centers and elementary and middle schools will be allowed to remain open.“The bottom line is this: If we don’t do something to change the trajectory of this epidemic, the hospitals will become full,” Dr. Farley said. “They’ll have difficulty treating people, and we’ll have between several hundred and a thousand deaths by just the end of this year.”Reporting was contributed by Kathleen Gray, Marie Fazio, Jill Cowan, Simon Romero and Bryan Pietsch. But as the pandemic penetrates far and wide, reaching more rural areas and wide swaths of Republican-led states than it touched in the spring, Republican officials who had been hesitant about government overreach have also been wielding their authority more forcefully. The Republican governors of North Dakota and Utah imposed mask mandates last week; Iowa’s governor did the same on Monday, also announcing curfews at restaurants and bars and restrictions on the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings. So far, few officials have returned to the most restrictive measure used in the spring, a complete stay-at-home order. But the Navajo Nation reinstated its stay-at-home order after health officials warned of uncontrolled spread of the virus in dozens of communities in the vast reservation.The order, one of the most aggressive antivirus measures in the nation, took effect on Monday and is to last three weeks. During that time, all roads in the Navajo Nation are closed to visitors, residents must stay at home except for urgent trips, and most government offices will be closed. Essential businesses like gas stations and groceries are allowed to open, but only from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.Warning that serious action was needed to prevent a new wave of deaths, officials in Philadelphia announced sweeping measures on Monday to shut down indoor dining, gyms, museums and libraries, close down in-person learning at high schools and colleges through the end of 2020 and ban all indoor gatherings of people from multiple households, even in private homes.“That means no indoor parties, group meals, football watching groups, no visiting between households, no indoor weddings, funerals, baby showers,” Dr. Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, said. “We know that is a very strong policy, but this gets at the most important sites of spread.” “The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept,” Dr. Atlas wrote on Twitter. On Monday, Ms. Whitmer said the statement left her “breathless.”“It’s just incredibly reckless, considering everything that has happened,” said Ms. Whitmer, who faced fierce opposition for her coronavirus restrictions in the spring: Mr. Trump tweeted a call to “liberate Michigan” and protesters at the State Capitol chanted, “Lock her up.” She was later the target of an alleged kidnapping plot by an antigovernment extremist group, the authorities said.- Advertisement – The scene was familiar: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, addressing a rapidly escalating coronavirus surge in her state, stood at a lectern and somberly announced new restrictions meant to stop the virus from spreading out of control.Within hours, the backlash began.- Advertisement – As the coronavirus crisis mounts with renewed force in the United States, surpassing 11 million total cases and threatening to overwhelm hospitals across the country, governors, mayors and other officials are ordering restrictions, and once again finding themselves in the crosscurrents of public health and economic crises.California, Washington State, Michigan and Oregon have shut indoor dining back down, among other measures. In Chicago, a new stay-at-home advisory went into effect on Monday. In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney introduced a sweeping new set of coronavirus rules, including a ban on most indoor private gatherings, with a plea for understanding: “We do not take any of this lightly,” he said. “Believe me, more than anything in the world, I wish none of this was necessary.”The new wave of restrictions comes at a time when health officials across the nation are reporting more new cases and more hospitalizations from the virus than ever before, and experts are warning that another 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from the virus in the next few months if significant action is not taken.last_img read more

President mulls creation of tourism, aviation holding firm, designation of international hub airports

first_imgNational flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has also reported a loss of $712.73 million in the first half of this year after booking a net profit of $24.11 million in the same period last year.As part of the transformation effort, President Jokowi said he would also like to reduce the number of international airports in Indonesia and establish a number of international hubs.“We currently have 30 international airports, but 90 percent of flight traffic occurs in just four airports, which are Soekarno-Hatta International Airport [in Tangerang, Banten], [I Gusti] Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Juanda International Airport in Surabaya [East Java] and Kualanamu International Airport in North Sumatra,” he said.I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport and Soekarno Hatta airport are the dominate points of entry for foreign arrivals, with 6.2 million and 2.4 million arrivals in 2019, respectively.The President intends to evaluate the international status of several airports, while transforming eight airports into international hubs, which will include the four airports with the highest traffic.The remaining four airports are Kulonprogo International Airport in Yogyakarta; Sepinggan International Airport in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan; Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, North Sulawesi; and Hasanudin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi.Responding to the President’s statement, Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that the ministry was in talks with the SOE Ministry regarding the matter.“We fully support the President’s idea and will take further action to realize it. Currently, we are in discussions with the SOE Ministry and other stakeholders,” she said via text message.Former state-owned enterprises minister Rini Soemarno had previously proposed the formation of an aviation holding company while she was part of the Cabinet.The proposed company was designed to integrate Garuda Indonesia with two state airport operators, PT Angkasa Pura I (AP I) and PT Angkasa Pura II (AP II), but the plan never materialized.Topics : “I think the current tourism downturn is the right moment to start a consolidation and transformation in the tourism and the aviation sectors, and we could establish an SOE holding firm [for] a unified vision,” he said during a limited Cabinet meeting in Jakarta.Jokowi’s proposal comes after the country saw its economy contract 5.32 percent, for the first time since 1999, with the transportation and warehousing sector suffering a 30.84 percent decline from last year, the steepest drop of all sectors.The pandemic has depressed both the aviation and tourism industries, as people stay at home amid social restrictions. The tourism sector is estimated to have lost Rp 85 trillion (US$5.87 billion) in revenue so far this year as the pandemic unfolds, according to data from the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI).According to the association’s data, the hotel and restaurant industry has lost nearly Rp 70 trillion in revenue, while aviation and tour operators have lost Rp 15 trillion in revenue as leisure travel ground to a halt. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced on Thursday that he is considering forming a holding company for aviation and tourism state-owned enterprises (SOEs), as well as developing international hub airports, to help revive the industries, which have been battered by the COVID-19 health crisis.Jokowi said he aimed to integrate SOE management to improve consolidation and boost tourism, including airlines, airport management, tourism destination operators and hotels.last_img read more

Ghanaians to expect a surprise at the Be The Next Champion finale

first_imgIts standing is without question. As the last one-month indicated, football remains the world’s most popular sport, loved and adored by scores of people, played actively by millions and watched with incredible dedication by a lot more people.As 32 teams gathered at the World Cup in Russia, the visitor and viewer numbers highlighted a certain trend. The United States of America had the most nationals travelling to Russia for the tournament. In Ghana, it was the prime television program. Both countries were not represented yet, this football event played over a four-year period gripped their respective countries as if they were involved.That Ghana affection for football is mirrored on a continent-wide level. Pitches everywhere, kids playing barefooted on any available patch of land, many of them rising up at dawn, running miles, practising in a bid for that vital breakthrough.It is a breakthrough whose chase has been legitimised by the success stories of some of the continent’s most outstanding names. Abedi Pele, Michael Essien and Didier Drogba all emerged from the continent to become eminent names in the world of football. There are many striving to get there and a lot more waiting to be unearthed. That is why interventions like the Rexona Ghana Be The Next Champion Campaign has become so vital.  Over a three month period, a team led by former Ghana international midfielder Laryea Kingston have scouted the length and breadth of Ghana picking out outstanding talents to join Africa XI for a game against Chelsea legends in September.Kingston’s role as technical director of the project is complemented by the efforts of arguably Ghana’s greatest export to the English Premier League Michael Essien. The midfielder made his name during a distinguished European career that counted clubs such as Lyon, Real Madrid and AC Milan but it was at Chelsea where he flourished the most, winning every trophy that club football had to offer at the highest level. In a way, his career provides the clearest path for young footballers; scouted early in school, afforded the best training plus opportunities at home and abroad, he grabbed them with both hands and is the perfect man to preach the message about why young footballers should be taking the Be The Next Champion campaign seriously.“I had my opportunity early so I know what openings like this mean,” he said. “I hope through this, a number of footballers can get their breakthrough at the highest level so I hope as many as possible sign up.”That message seemed to have gone down well. In trips to every regional capital in Ghana, the response has been overwhelming. Wa opened the floodgates in grand style before the two northern towns of Bolgatanga and Tamale embraced it. Sunyani, home to many Ghanaian footballers and the capital of the region with the most Ghana Premier League clubs proved it loves it’s football and has talent in reserve. Kumasi has been a big talent hunting spot for scouts and when the train stopped there, they didn’t disappoint. Venues like Ho and Koforidua provided confirmation that as far as football talent goes, they are fairly well spread out in the country. Then the search ended in Accra, which as is to be expected is overflowing with talent so much so that it took three days of scouting in three strategically selected venues to get through the process. The sum of all that is, 26 young hungry and talented footballers who will converge at the Lizzy Sports Complex on 22ndand 23rd July to determine who gets the slot or is it slots, available to Ghana in the Africa XI. Kingston undertook the selection but he will be joined by two coaches from Chelsea over a two day period for the final. Laryea knows the process will not be easy.“On our regional rounds, it was incredibly difficult to pick the winners because there were so many good players,” Kingston said. “I think it will be keenly contested and that is a good thing because there is so much at stake.” And oh!!  A big announcement is expected to be made by the Rexona -Chelsea team at the grand final. Keep your fingers crossed for the surpriselast_img read more