Tag Archives: emergency management

Czech Republic restates state of emergency to maintain restrictions | World | Instant News

By KAREL JANICEK Associated Press

PRAGUE (AP) – The Czech government on Sunday re-declared a state of emergency over the next two weeks to contain the coronavirus pandemic in one of the hardest-hit countries in the European Union.

The decision contradicts the lower house of Parliament, which has rejected requests for minority governments to extend a powerful tool that gives Cabinet the extra power needed to impose national restrictions and restrict travel and people’s rights.

The Czech Republic, a country of 10.7 million people, has had more than 1 million confirmed cases, with 18,143 deaths. According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the figure of 915 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks is the second-worst per capita in 27 EU countries after Portugal.

The country is also facing a spike in a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus first discovered in Britain that scientists say is more deadly than the original virus. The three hardest-hit countries in the Czech Republic, on the borders with Germany and Poland, are under complete lockdown. The number of new cases per 100,000 population in the last seven days is higher than 1,100.

Despite the dire situation, several lawyers and politicians, including Milos Vystrcil, chairman of the Senate, said the government’s move violated the country’s Constitution. The government denies this, saying its legal advisers support such a solution.


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Four cases of the British coronavirus variant confirmed in Montgomery County | News | Instant News

NORRISTOWN – Montgomery County health officials report that additional cases of the more infectious variant of the coronavirus, first documented in the UK, have been identified in the country.

“There are now a total of four, four confirmed cases of the British variant in Montgomery County. All four cases received investigations and contact tracing, ”Chief Commissioner Dr. Valerie Arkoosh revealed during a weekly news briefing on Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, officials identified the district’s first documented case of variant B.1.1.7 Britain, a 30-year-old bartender who works at an unidentified restaurant. Officials announced three additional cases of the variant on Wednesday.

“We have confirmed additional cases related to these individuals. Therefore, there are additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 which we consider possible for the variant type. But this has not been confirmed by viral genome sequencing of these individuals. Genome sequencing, which is a laboratory test that can confirm whether this is a variant or not, is still very limited, “explained Arkoosh.

“All this signals to us that the variant is likely to be much wider in the community than can be confirmed through laboratory testing,” added Arkoosh. “According to the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the variant spreads more easily and quickly than other variants and this is another reminder that we all have to continue to wear our masks, maintain social distancing, keep our hands clean and away from ours. face and avoid social gatherings. “

The four people who tested positive for the British variant were between their mid-20s and early 70s and none of the four people who had not received their COVID-19 vaccination. None of the individuals reported major underlying health problems, they all reported mild to moderate symptoms and none required hospitalization, officials said.

“None of these cases reported domestic or international travel, community attendance or mass events, exposure in long-term care facilities or in shared care settings, no sport exposures or other known high-risk exposures,” explained Arkoosh.

Arkoosh, who as a doctor has been at the forefront of the district’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and provides citizens with the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, shows that scientific information regarding the British variant is constantly evolving.

“I think data from the UK strongly suggests that it’s about 1½ times more infectious than the original variant. And the modeling I’ve been looking at for the United States suggests that in March we’ll really start to see extensive evidence of this variant, “explained Arkoosh.

“People should be aware that the mostly data-backed variant is more contagious than the original one in our midst and that people should continue to be very, very careful about wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distancing,” he added. Arkoosh, who was joined at the press conference by fellow Commissioner Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr.

Officials say the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be in very limited supply and they urge residents to be patient as vaccine rollouts continue.

Three weeks ago, state health officials expanded the coronavirus vaccination protocol, opening the door for all people aged 65 and over, and those aged 16 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions, to receive the vaccine.

These categories are added to Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination program. Previous Phase 1A included only health workers and those living in long-term care facilities. With the expanded definition for group 1A, county officials estimate that an additional 250,000 people qualify for vaccination in Montgomery County as part of Phase 1A.

An appointment is required to receive the vaccine. All those who qualify for the vaccine in Phase 1A can pre-register to receive the vaccine through their local health department. The pre-registration link can be found at www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 below the green vaccination information button.

Last week, the Montgomery County Public Health Office opened a vaccination clinic at Norristown Middle School to serve those who have an appointment to receive their first dose of vaccine.

County received only the first 1,000 doses last week and has given all of those first doses by Tuesday. As a result, the Norristown clinic will be closed for the rest of the week. Arkoosh said the county health department expects to receive the first 3,900 doses this weekend and the Norristown clinic is expected to reopen on Monday.

“The good news is we have received our second dose. We received 5,800 second doses this week and continue to have the appropriate number of second doses to give to those who got our first dose, “said Arkoosh.

Those who received a second dose of the vaccine were being served at a clinic run by the Montgomery County Community College campus in Whitpain.

Starting this week, those who have pre-registered the vaccine through the country will receive weekly emails to keep them updated on the progress of vaccination and what to expect when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.

As of Wednesday, 153,502 people had pre-registered on the district website to make an appointment.

“Right now, depending on when you sign up and depending on how many vaccines we receive, it could easily take up to 12 weeks or longer before you hear from us about the actual scheduling of appointments,” explained Arkoosh.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported Wednesday that 17,363 county residents had received two full doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine through February 9. Another 61,689 residents have received the first dose of the vaccine, according to state data.

Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to achieve optimal protection.

As officials hope to scale up the vaccination program, they reported on Wednesday that an additional 151 people had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of cases in the district to 44,583 since March 7, when the first two cases of the virus were identified in the country. . The thirteen new cases were individuals living in long-term care facilities.

Officials also reported 10 new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the death toll in the district to 1,176 since the pandemic began in March.

The overall 14-day COVID-19 positive rate for the country, as of February 4, is 7.54% which is a decrease from the 7.93% positive rate recorded during the previous 14-day period ending on January 28, according to regional data. .

Health officials believe having a positivity rate of less than 5% indicates an area is controlling the spread of the virus and keeping it suppressed.

As of Wednesday, 239 people with COVID-19 were in nine hospitals in the district and 35 of the patients currently need ventilators. The figure represents a reduction from 255 people hospitalized last week.

Testing is available to all residents of the area and those who work in the area and want or need to be tested. County has set up outdoor walking testing sites in Pottstown, Norristown, Lansdale, Willow Grove, Ardmore and Green Lane to accommodate those who wish to be tested.

Six county-run sites provide self-administered testing at no cost, although insurance is charged if you have one. The site does require an appointment for testing.

Six locations are open Monday to Friday, weather permitting and at varying hours. Same-day appointments can be made on weekdays starting at 7am with a visit www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 and clicking the testing area information button. Residents can also register for the test at one of the six locations by calling 610-970-2937 starting at 8:30 am daily.

In Pottstown, the testing site is located in Pottstown County Public Health Headquarters at 364 King St.

In Norristown, the testing site is located in the parking lot of the Delaware Valley Community Health Norristown Regional Health Center at 1401 DeKalb St.

In Lansdale, the test site was located at 421 Main St. Other test sites are located on Deep Creek and Snyder roads in the Green Lane Park area.

In Ardmore, the test site is located at 114 W. Lancaster Avenue.

In Willow Grove, the test site is at First Baptist Church – Crestmont, 1678 Fairview Ave. This Saturday, February 13th, the Willow Grove test site will be open from 9am to 1pm. Appointments for the Saturday exam can be booked online only from 7pm on Friday, 12 February.


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Draghi brings market knowledge, desire to tame the Italian crisis | Business news | Instant News

MILAN (AP) – The former head of the European Central Bank who helped save the euro has now been drawn to lead Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest economy, out of the worst pandemic and recession since World War II.

Mario Draghi won global accolades as head of the European Central Bank for eight years, managing monetary policy for 19 euro-using economies, with an economy worth 12 trillion euros ($ 14.4 trillion). Draghi, 73, not only has an insider understanding of the financial rulebook Italy must follow, but he also respects those whose patience Italy may need during difficult months and years to come.

“When Draghi picks up the phone to call the White House, President Joe Biden will answer. Because that is Mario Draghi, ” deputy manager of Milan’s leading daily Corriere della Sera, Daniele Manca, said Wednesday. “The same goes for (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping.”

A seasoned treasurer who became Italy’s central bank and later Europe’s top central bank, Draghi brought gravity, crisis management and market knowledge to the task of regulating Italy from the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. President Sergio Mattarella appointed him to form a broad-based government after bickering among Italy’s coalition parties over the viral response that caused Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to resign.

Speaking on Wednesday at the presidential palace in Rome, Draghi listed the priorities facing Italy: “tackling the pandemic, completing the vaccine campaign, offering a response to the daily problems of citizens, relaunching the country.”

Financial markets welcomed the prospects for Draghi’s government. Italy’s borrowing costs on debt, the second highest in terms of GDP in Europe, slumped, while stocks advanced 2%. One financial analyst summed up sentiment with the subject line: “We love Mario Draghi!”

Draghi isn’t afraid to find bold solutions to big problems. When the eurozone faced a crisis of confidence in 2012, he famously told a conference in London that the ECB would do “whatever is necessary to safeguard the euro. And believe me, that’s enough. “That promise, supported by a new ECB policy, helps stabilize markets that threaten to split the euro.

He took a pragmatic approach during the financial crisis. He expanded the range of the ECB’s stimulus policies to include large-scale bond purchases. He is also overseeing the ECB’s move to become the main banking watchdog after the bank failed to play a key role in eurozone issues.

His most recent tenure leading the ECB, which ends on 31 October 2019, is well positioned to help Italy overcome its difficulties as well as some 200 billion euros in EU recovery funds.

If Italy needs to take advantage of ECB bond market bottlenecks, which aim to keep euro nations’ borrowing costs from soaring to unaffordable levels, there is nothing better than Draghi: he’s overseeing the design of the barrier and opening in 2012.

He will also be very familiar with the complexities of European bailout funds created during the eurozone debt crisis.

Draghi joined the ECB as its third chairman in 2011, just as Italy is hit by a debt crisis. As ECB-appointed president, Draghi and later ECB head Jean-Claude Trichet intervened in Italian politics in an August 2011 letter to then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi demanding reforms to cut deficits, boost growth and tackle the financial market crisis that threatens to split the euro.

The ECB then began buying Italian bonds to stabilize government borrowing costs in what appears to be an unstated quid pro quo. The ECB denies any agreement. ECB bond purchases did not ease government pressure as Berlusconi’s efforts at economic reform faltered; Berlusconi stepped down in November 2011 and was replaced by technocrat Mario Monti.

Born in Rome, Draghi graduated from the University of La Sapienza there with a degree in economics and obtained a Ph.D in 1976 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied under Nobel laureate Franco Modigliani. Among his fellow students at MIT was Ben Bernanke, candidate for head of the Federal Reserve. He teaches at the University of Florence, and is also a high-ranking official at the World Bank, based in Washington.

Draghi served from 1991 to 2001 as a high-ranking official in the Italian Ministry of Finance, under governments of various orientations, from the conservative Berlusconi to the former communist Massimo D’Alema. He oversaw the privatization of Italy’s state-owned industry and helped Italy organize its finances to join the euro as a charter member in 1999.

Many in Italy hope Draghi will be available to take over when President Sergio Mattarella’s term ends in 2022, untainted by Italian politics. The ceremonial role has largely proved key in helping to manage the all too frequent political crises in Italy, which require deft negotiations and undeniable knowledge of the Italian constitution and institutions.

While it cannot be ruled out that Draghi could replace Mattarella as president in just about a year, the odds are slim given the size of the task facing Italy and the time of crisis.

Draghi comes with some luggage. As a central banker who was involved in overseeing the strict austerity policies imposed in several European countries during the crisis, he has been viewed with skepticism in some angles as someone against financial interests. The stint at investment bank Goldman Sachs will only magnify the criticism.

Few Italians can afford to risk success abroad being successful at home. Monti, a former EU commissioner, is widely credited with helping Italy recover from the 2011 debt crisis, but his legacy was blurred when he formed his own party and ran in the next national election.

Any of Draghi’s reigns are likely short-lived. The current parliamentary mandate has been extended for another two years. But analysts say Draghi’s tenure may be shorter.

“The very plausible scenario is that, once vaccinations are over and the economy starts to recover, the parties withdraw their support and call for new elections,” said chief Italian economist for Oxford Economics, Nicola Nobile. That will most likely happen next spring, after the new president is appointed.

McHugh reported from Frankfurt.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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Italy hopes ‘Super Mario’ Draghi to end political crisis | World | Instant News

“It is therefore my duty to appeal to all powers in parliament so that they give confidence to a well-known government that is not linked to any political power,” said Mattarella.

Italy, the third largest economy in the European Union, has been in recession before even becoming the first country in the West to catch COVID-19 last February. The subsequent economic crash has only made matters worse, with gross domestic product dropping 8.8% last year and nearly 450,000 jobs lost, national statistics agency ISTAT reported this week.

After the government crisis erupted, Mattarella asked the president of the lower Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, to seek out political leaders to see if an alternative coalition could be formed. Fico reported back Tuesday night that he had failed, and Mattarella called Draghi.

Renzi, who was prime minister from 2014-2016, blamed Conte’s men for the failed negotiations, saying they had rejected his proposal. He advised her to be pleased with the result, praising Mattarella’s “wise” decision.

The right-wing opposition, which had led the vote before the government frenzy, is still pushing for an early election, although former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party has shown its support for a “high profile” government.

Draghi, 73, is perhaps best known for his intervention as head of the ECB during the height of the European debt crisis in 2012. As Italy faced extremely high borrowing costs threatening its financial stability, Draghi said in July 2012 that the ECB was ready to do “whatever it takes”. in its mandate to safeguard the euro.


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Virus financial aid sought as Australia opens Parliament | World | Instant News

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sits on the House of Representatives during a question and answer session at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, February 2, 2021. Morrison said there could be more targeted economic aid for businesses struggling with pandemic curbs after Parliament resumed for the first time in 1999. 2021.

Lukas Coch

By ROD McGUIRK Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – The Australian Prime Minister said more targeted economic assistance for businesses struggling with pandemic curbs could come after Parliament reopened on Tuesday for the first time in 2021.

Tourism, aviation and hospitality are among industries calling for extended financial assistance after the federal government’s pandemic wage subsidies expire on March 31.

With opposition lawmakers calling for more business support, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not ruled out his government providing additional funding.

“For those sectors and those areas in particular that continue to struggle against the effects of the pandemic, we have shown that we will continue to provide targeted support,” Morrison said. That is precisely what the government will do.

But Morrison insisted that the economy needed to be removed from salary subsidies, which he described as an emergency measure.

“You can’t run the Australian economy on taxpayer money forever,” Morrison said.

Opposition deputy leader Richard Marles said tourism and aviation businesses would go bankrupt without targeted assistance.

MPs from the state of Western Australia were granted a special exemption from attending Parliament House on Tuesday after the west coast city of Perth began a five-day lockdown on Sunday.


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