A powerful cyclone that earlier this week hit Pacific Island nations bringing death, injuries and destruction cannot be allowed to disrupt containment efforts against the spread of COVID-19, officials in the region said.
Tropical Cyclone Harold, a Category 5 storm with winds in excess of 251kph, passed through the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, cutting power and destroying tourist resorts.
Dozens of people were killed when they were swept off a ferry near the Solomon Islands.
Photo: EPA-EFE / Save the Children
Tonga’s government yesterday said that the island of ’Eua was without electricity and a number of houses were damaged, but no deaths had been reported.
Although no deaths were reported in Fiji, 26 people were injured and more than 6,000 people were evacuated from their homes during the storm.
“#CycloneHarold may be gone, but coronavirus is still in our midst,” Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said on Facebook. “We must all remain vigilant and keep to every public health directive we have in place.”
Although Fiji has just 15 coronavirus infections and no deaths, unnecessary gatherings of more than 20 people, among other curbs, have been banned and people urged to stay home.
The whole Pacific Island region has relatively few cases of COVID-19, but much of the area has restricted personal movement to slow any spread of the coronavirus.
Solomon Islands police imposed an evening curfew yesterday and today, restricting the movement of people. Fines of thousands of US dollars and imprisonment would apply for breaching the law.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
China is poised to enshrine individuals’ rights to privacy and personal data for the first time, a symbolic first step as more of the country of 1.4 billion people becomes digitized — and more vulnerable to leaks and hacks. The legislation is part of China’s first civil code, a sweeping package of laws that is being deliberated during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, which began on Friday after a delay of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent draft, an individual has a right to privacy and to have their personal information protected. Data