COVID-19: Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost a full year, says UNICEF

UNICEF unveils ‘Pandemic Classroom’ at United Nations Headquarters in New York to call attention to the need for governments to prioritise the reopening of schools


An installation of UNICEF cyan backpacks and desks at the UN Headquarters
Chris Farber/UNICEF via Getty ImagesOn 1 March 2021, a view of UNICEF’s ‘Pandemic Classroom’ installation at United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States of America. To call attention to the education emergency wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to and raise awareness of the need for governments to keep schools open, UNICEF unveiled ‘Pandemic Classroom’ – a model classroom made up of 168 empty desks, each seat representing one million children living in countries where schools have been almost entirely closed since the onset of lockdowns.

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Scepticism about vaccines clouds outlook for defeating coronavirus

 John CarterSenior Editor, Political Economy

23 January 2021

Hello again, 

Having overcome the challenges of developing coronavirus vaccines and begun the process of distributing them worldwide, a crucial question has cropped up: will people in high-risk areas voluntarily take the jab? In this issue of Global Impact, we explore the resistance to vaccinations amid concerns about quality, effectiveness and possible side effects. 

Bhavan Jaipragas, Senior Correspondent, Asia Desk

You can bring the vaccine to the people, but will they take the jab?
In the span of a year, Singapore has gone from being hailed as the gold standard in curbing the Covid-19 pandemic to suffering an embarrassing surge of cases among migrant workers to once again reasserting itself as a success story.What lies ahead for the wealthy Southeast Asian city state in its fight against the virus may well be a harbinger of what’s to come for the rest of Asia – and the world. One big problem on the horizon is “vaccine hesitancy” among sceptical Singaporeans who argue they don’t need to be inoculated since the country has done such a good job keeping the numbers down.
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Vietnam Airlines staff apologize in chorus after Covid-19 community transmissions

Vietnam Airlines staff on a flight during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Tien Phong Newspaper.
Vietnam Airlines staff on a flight during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Tien Phong Newspaper.

By Long Nguyen   December 3, 2020 | 06:44 pm GMT+7 vnexpress

Since December 2, a host of Vietnam Airlines flight attendants have posted the #WeApologize hashtag, saying sorry on behalf of their colleague, “patient 1342,” who violated quarantine rules and spread the novel coronavirus to the community.

“What happened was unexpected, our colleague was wrong, and we apologize on his behalf,” a female flight attendant said on her Facebook page.

Promising to strictly follow the rules and not cause any similar incidents in future, many also expressed the hope people will stop criticizing and even abusing them on social networks and in real life.

“We have been worried at work as some of our colleagues have been discriminated against and abused. I want to repeat we are sorry for what happened,” another flight attendant wrote on Facebook.

A flight attendant posts on her Facebook, using the #WeApologize hashtag on December 2, 2020.
A flight attendant posts on his Facebook page, using the #WeApologize hashtag on December 2, 2020.

Previously, local news said verbal abuse and ostracism were reported by Vietnam Airlines staff. On December 3, a stranger attacked an attendant with a burning cigarette while the uniformed victim was waiting at a red light.

These posts from Vietnam Airlines flight attendants have attracted attention from netizens, who have shown encouragement and support, hoping the staff would overcome the upheaval soon.

The soured image of Vietnam Airlines attendants in the public eye was by

Under Covid-19 prevention protocols, flight crews must isolate themselves on returning to Vietnam. But the flight attendant, “patient 1342,” who returned to Vietnam from Japan on November 14 and entered quarantined for four days at a facility managed by Vietnam Airlines in HCMC’s Tan Binh District, went to another quarantine area and contracted the virus from a crew member who had returned from Romania.

Vietnam Airlines staff on a flight during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Tien Phong Newspaper.
Vietnam Airlines staff on a flight during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Tien Phong Newspaper.

After two tests showed he was negative for the coronavirus, he was let go but told to isolate himself at home.

But he came into contact with his mother and two friends, including an English language teacher who stayed with him for a few days.

On November 29, 15 days after he returned from Japan, he tested positive for the virus, and the next day the teacher did too. The latter had meanwhile spread the virus to a nephew and a student of his.

On December 3, local police said the flight attendant could be charged with “spreading dangerous infectious diseases to humans.”

Vietnam has recorded 1,358 Covid-19 cases so far, 119 still active. Thirty-five have succumbed to the disease, many of them elderly with underlying conditions like diabetes or kidney failure.Related News:

What does the ‘rescue’ of Vietnam Airlines reveal?

22/11/2020    15:07 GMT+7 vietnamnet

The national airline of Vietnam finally saw “the light at the end of the tunnel” when the National Assembly agreed with the Government’s proposal for solutions to help Vietnam Airlines overcome difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the resolution of the 10th session, the 14th National Assembly approved two options. Firstly, the State Bank of Vietnam refinances and extends no more than two times for credit institutions (excluding those under special control) to allow Vietnam Airlines to borrow additional capital to serve production and business activities.

Thấy gì qua cuộc ‘giải cứu’ Vietnam Airlines
A Vietnam Airlines flight from Alaska brought Vietnamese citizens back to their home country in May. Photo: Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport, Alaska

At the same time, Vietnam Airlines is allowed to offer additional shares to existing shareholders to increase its charter capital. The Government will assign the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) to buy shares in Vietnam Airlines on behalf of the Government under the right to buy shares of state shareholders in the mode of transfer of rights to buy. This investment is rated in Group A projects.

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Clean Energy Can Help Southeast Asia Recover After COVID-19

Prior to the devastating impacts of COVID-19, Southeast Asia was becoming an economic powerhouse. Manufacturing, industry and services expanded across the region in recent decades. Energy demand also grew an average of 6% per year, one of the fastest growth rates in the world. But despite the global decline in renewable energy prices, Southeast Asian countries have largely embraced fossil fuels to meet their growing energy needs.
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English: What will it take to achieve Vietnam’s long-term growth aspirations?

COVID-19 đã làm gián đoạn hành trình của đất nước là trở thành một nền kinh tế tăng trưởng cao, tuy nhiên những điều chỉnh cơ cấu phù hợp có thể đưa nền kinh tế trở lại quỹ đạo.

Với một lượng ca nhiễm và tử vong do Covid 19 tương đối ít được ghi nhận đến nay, Việt Nam hiện đang có cơ hội và bắt buộc phải xem xét về khát vọng kinh tế dài hạn hơn, thậm chí giống như một quốc gia chịu trách nhiệm chống lại vi-rút. Thành công lâu dài sẽ đòi hỏi các nhà lãnh đạo Việt Nam phải tập trung vào vấn đề và cơ hội đã có từ lâu trước khi có đại dịch


Coronavirus kills 15,000 U.S. mink, as Denmark prepares for nationwide cull

Wednesday, November 11, 2020, 09:16 GMT+7 tuoitrenews

Coronavirus kills 15,000 U.S. mink, as Denmark prepares for nationwide cull
FILE PHOTO: Mink are seen at the farm of Henrik Nordgaard Hansen and Ann-Mona Kulsoe Larsen near Naestved, Denmark, November 6, 2020. Photo: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via Reuters

CHICAGO — More than 15,000 mink in the United States have died of the coronavirus since August, and authorities are keeping about a dozen farms under quarantine while they investigate the cases, state agriculture officials said.

Global health officials are eying the animals as a potential risk for people after Denmark last week embarked on a plan to eliminate all of its 17 million mink, saying a mutated coronavirus strain could move to humans and evade future COVID-19 vaccines.

The U.S. states of Utah, Wisconsin and Michigan – where the coronavirus has killed mink – said they do not plan to cull animals and are monitoring the situation in Denmark.

“We believe that quarantining affected mink farms in addition to implementing stringent biosecurity measures will succeed in controlling SARS-CoV-2 at these locations,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture told Reuters on Tuesday.

The USDA said it is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state officials and the mink industry to test and monitor infected farms.

The United States has 359,850 mink bred to produce babies, known as kits, and produced 2.7 million pelts last year. Wisconsin is the largest mink-producing state, followed by Utah.

Sick mink in Wisconsin and Utah were exposed to people with probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases, the USDA said. In Michigan it is still unknown if the mink were infected by humans, according to the agency.

In Utah, the first U.S. state to confirm mink infections in August, about 10,700 mink have died on nine farms, said Dean Taylor, state veterinarian.

“On all nine, everything is still suggesting a one-way travel from people to the minks,” he said.

Coronavirus testing has been done on mink that die and randomly on the affected farms, Taylor said. Like people, some mink are asymptomatic or mildly affected, he said.

The CDC said it was supporting states’ investigations into sick mink, including testing of animals and people.

“These investigations will help us to learn more about the transmission dynamics between mink, other animals around the farms and people,” the CDC said. “Currently, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to people.”

Coronavirus is thought to have first jumped to humans from animals in China, possibly via bats or another animal at a food market in Wuhan, although many outstanding questions remain.

Monitoring U.S. mink for virus symptoms and quarantining infected farms should limit the disease’s spread if cases are caught early, said Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“I’m fairly confident that as long as they have that surveillance going and it’s strong enough, then they should be able to prevent the spread,” he said.

U.S. authorities are urging farmers to wear protective gear like masks and gloves when handling mink to avoid infecting the animals.

In Wisconsin, about 5,000 mink have died on two farms, State Veterinarian Darlene Konkle said.

One farm is composting the dead mink to dispose of the carcasses without spreading the virus, Konkle said. Authorities are working with the second farm to determine how to dispose of the mink, and dead animals are being kept in a metal container in the meantime, she said.

Michigan declined to disclose how many mink have died, citing privacy rules.

State officials said they are working with the USDA to determine whether farmers can sell the pelts of infected mink. The pelts are used to make fur coats and other items.

The coronavirus has also infected cats, dogs, a lion and a tiger, according to the USDA. Experts say mink appear to be the most susceptible animal so far.



How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever

In just a few months’ time, the COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business. According to a new McKinsey Global Survey of executives,1 their companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years. And the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by a shocking seven years.2 Nearly all respondents say that their companies have stood up at least temporary solutions to meet many of the new demands on them, and much more quickly than they had thought possible before the crisis. What’s more, respondents expect most of these changes to be long lasting and are already making the kinds of investments that all but ensure they will stick. In fact, when we asked executives about the impact of the crisis on a range of measures, they say that funding for digital initiatives has increased more than anything else—more than increases in costs, the number of people in technology roles, and the number of customers.To stay competitive in this new business and economic environment requires new strategies and practices. Our findings suggest that executives are taking note: most respondents recognize technology’s strategic importance as a critical component of the business, not just a source of cost efficiencies. Respondents from the companies that have executed successful responses to the crisis report a range of technology capabilities that others don’t—most notably, filling gaps for technology talent during the crisis, the use of more advanced technologies, and speed in experimenting and innovating.3 Tiếp tục đọc “How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever”

Linking Air Pollution To Higher Coronavirus Death Rates

recent Harvard analysis led by Professor Francesca Dominici along with Doctoral student Xiao Wu and Assistant Professor Rachel Nethery is the first nationwide study to show a statistical link between COVID-19 deaths and other diseases associated with long-term exposure to fine particulate matter. The paper has been submitted for peer review and publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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COVID-vaccine results are on the way — and scientists’ concerns are growing

Researchers warn that vaccines could stumble on safety trials, be fast-tracked because of politics or fail to meet the public’s expectations.
A protester holds a placard that says 'Freedom No Lockdown Masks Tests Vaccine'.

Protesters call for an end to COVID-19-based restrictions in Sacramento, California.Credit: Stanton Sharpe/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

Several ongoing coronavirus-vaccine trials could announce game-changing results next month. But as anticipation grows, concerns are growing about whether the vaccines will clear safety trials, what they will achieve if they do and the risk that the approval process will be influenced by politics, or at least seem to be. Tiếp tục đọc “COVID-vaccine results are on the way — and scientists’ concerns are growing”

Professors need to know What Students Want from online learning during the pandemic

In recent months there’s been no shortage of surveys in which students describe the challenges they faced during the pivot to remote education in the spring and summer. Many struggled to secure consistent Wi-Fi access and a quiet place to learn. They felt overwhelmed, not just by the pandemic, but in trying to keep track of assignments, deadlines, and communication with their professors. They missed the routines and relationships of campus life. Motivation was a real challenge.

So what do they want their professors to know, in order to make the experience better this fall? I put that question to a panel of experts — students and faculty members — this week in a Chronicle webinar. I encourage you to watch it here because they had many great ideas and insights. But if you’re short on time, here are a few key takeaways.

Connections are crucial to learning. To prime students to learn, ensure that they feel connected to you and to the class. That’s not easy to do online, but consistent outreach, regular office hours, and a wise use of synchronous class time will help.

One panelist in the webinar, Vikki Katz, an associate professor in Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information, surveyed 3,000 undergraduates across the country about their remote-learning experiences last spring. A crucial factor in students’ developing a sense of confidence and competence in a remote-learning environment, she and her co-author found, was whether they felt faculty members were accessible to them. Tiếp tục đọc “Professors need to know What Students Want from online learning during the pandemic”

A drugmaker reports positive results for a potential treatment

New York Times coronavirus brief

The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced that a single infusion of its monoclonal antibody treatment was shown to drastically lower levels of the coronavirus in newly infected patients and lower the likelihood of requiring hospitalization.
It is the first potential treatment for patients with mild or moderate Covid-19. (The two other treatments that have proved helpful, the antiviral remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone, are only for the seriously ill.)
Scientists used blood plasma from Covid-19 survivors, isolating and testing their antibodies to find the most powerful ones. They then manufactured vats of antibodies to make the drug. In a trial of more than 450 newly diagnosed Covid-19 patients, Eli Lilly said, only about 1.7 percent of those who received the drug ended up in the hospital, compared with 6 percent who were given a placebo — a 72 percent risk reduction. Those treated with the drug reportedly also had fewer symptoms, and the levels of virus in their bodies plummeted.
Other companies are also working on treatments with monoclonal antibodies, but they are difficult and expensive to make. A single dose could cost thousands of dollars. They offer only a temporary solution, with the antibodies lasting about a month.
But without a vaccine — the only way to elicit a lasting immune response — the treatment could give doctors another weapon in an arsenal with few options.
The study will eventually enroll 800 patients in the U.S. of all ages and risk categories, including people in nursing homes. Eli Lilly has already started manufacturing 10,000 doses in hopes that these interim results, which have not yet been peer reviewed, will bear out.

The company plans to discuss the state of the trial with the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the possibility of emergency use authorization to market the drug.
Here’s our treatment tracker.

Báo cáo tác động của bùng phát dịch Covid-19 lần thứ 2 đối với Doanh nghiệp

Ngày 4/9 vừa qua, Ban Nghiên cứu Phát triển Kinh tế tư nhân đã công bố Báo cáo Tác động của Bùng phát dịch Covid-19 lần 2 đối với doanh nghiệp và Tổng hợp các kiến nghị chính sách doanh nghiệp, hiệp hội gửi Chính phủ, Thủ tướng Chính phủ; căn cứ trên kết quả cuộc khảo sát lần 3 về tình hình doanh nghiệp trong bối cảnh covid-19 bùng phát lần 2 tại Việt Nam với đối tượng là 15 hiệp hội doanh nghiệp Việt Nam (đại diện cho gần 15.000 doanh nghiệp thành viên và hơn 5000 cá nhân thành viên) và 349 doanh nghiệp trả lời khảo sát online bao gồm cả doanh nghiệp Việt Nam lẫn doanh nghiệp có vốn đầu tư nước ngoài.

Các doanh nghiệp Du lịch chiếm tỉ lệ cao nhất trong tổng số doanh nghiệp tham gia khảo sát, tới 28%, đây cũng đồng thời là nhóm chịu ảnh hưởng nặng nề nhất bởi đại dịch. Tiếp tục đọc “Báo cáo tác động của bùng phát dịch Covid-19 lần thứ 2 đối với Doanh nghiệp”

What will it take to achieve Vietnam’s long-term growth aspirations?


COVID-19 has interrupted the country’s journey to become a high-performing economy, but the right structural adjustments could help get it back on track.
This is the second of two articles in which McKinsey looks at COVID-19’s immediate impact on Vietnam’s economy and identifies the long-term challenges the country can address to realize its potential.With relatively few recorded COVID-19 cases and fatalities to date, Vietnam now has an opportunity—and an imperative—to consider its longer-term economic aspirations, even as the country responds to a resurgence of the virus. Enduring success will require Vietnam’s leaders to focus on issues and opportunities that long preceded the pandemic.
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Investor-state disputes arising from COVID-19: balancing public health and corporate wealth

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ISDS Platform

Corrs Chambers Westgarth | 27 August 2020

Investor-state disputes arising from COVID-19: balancing public health and corporate wealth

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments globally are engaging in a difficult balancing act of protecting public health, mitigating economic damage and avoiding interference with private rights.

Even during a global pandemic, however, States are likely to be challenged for implementing measures that interfere with an investor’s private rights. Governments the world over have introduced COVID-19 prevention measures such as hard border closures, city and regional lockdowns, suspension of construction, production and mining, nationalisation of private industries and import and export restrictions.

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