Archive | COVID-19

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‘Hybrid working will become the norm’

Woman with ipad

Working from home some of the time, or hybrid working, will become “the norm” for many companies after the pandemic, says global workspace provider IWG.

Firms will be looking to save money and be more environment-friendly by using less office space, said IWG chief executive Mark Dixon.

IWG said 2020 had been a “challenging” year as fewer firms rented its offices.

But it said it was ready to take advantage of “accelerating demand” for hybrid working.

“Something’s happening and it is a change to the way that companies and people work,” Mr. Dixon told the BBC’s Today programme.

The coronavirus crisis hit IWG hard, with waning demand for its services leading to a pre-tax loss of £620m last year, according to newly released results.

But Mr. Dixon pointed to big new deals with major companies as evidence that the company was turning the corner.

On Monday, IWG signed up its biggest customer to date, securing a three-year agreement with Japanese telecoms group NTT to give its 300,000 employees access to IWG’s office network.

Under the terms of the deal, NTT staff will be able to work at any of the 3,300 offices owned by IWG.

In another agreement, Standard Chartered bank’s 95,000 staff were recently given access to IWG offices for the next 12 months on a trial basis.

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‘More time for myself’

Paul Hubble
Paul Hubble spent five hours a day commuting to London from Eastbourne in East Sussex

Paul Hubble used to have to leave his home in Eastbourne, East Sussex, at 06:10 to get to his desk at Barclays’ London headquarters in Canary Wharf by 09:00 – a morning commute of two-and-a-half hours.

He had to leave just before 17:00 if he wanted to make it home for 19:30.

But since home-working became the norm for Barclays employees, Paul says he can get more done.

“I now have more time for myself, but also can be more productive in that I can start work early and finish work later,” he told the BBC. Plus he saves £6,000 a year on his rail season ticket.

It also means he can make time for a mid-afternoon dog walk, which he says is a “great way of recharging the batteries”.

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Mr. Dixon said companies were keen to shed some of their office space and use third-party facilities instead, often closer to where staff actually live.

“It works for companies because it’s a lot cheaper,” he said. “It’s also much, much better for the environment,” he added, as it enabled workers to cut back on commuting.

One big UK employer, the Nationwide building society, has indicated that it does not intend to force people to return to the office if they have been successfully able to work from home during the pandemic.

Its leader of people and culture, Jane Hanson, told the BBC that about two-thirds of its 18,000 employees had been working from home for the past year.

“We won’t be asking them to go back to the office and we’ve given people a commitment at the moment that the current working practices will continue until at least June, whilst we’re working out what the future looks like,” she said.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Features, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Coronavirus vaccine – weekly summary of Yellow Card reporting

Severe Allergy

This advice is that people with a previous history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it. People who receive the vaccine should be monitored for at least 15 minutes afterwards.

The foregoing is taken from the UK Government web site on COVID-19 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine-adverse-reactions/coronavirus-vaccine-summary-of-yellow-card-reporting

See below the summary of the full version of the above link.

Summary

At the time of this report, more than 120,000 people across the UK have died within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus (COVID-19). Rates of COVID-19 infection and hospitalisation remain high.

Vaccination is the single most effective way to reduce deaths and severe illness from COVID-19. A national immunisation campaign has been underway since early December 2020.

Two COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines, are currently being used in the UK. Both have been authorised for supply by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) following a thorough review of safety, quality, and efficacy information from clinical trials. In clinical trials, both vaccines showed very high levels of protection against symptomatic infections with COVID-19. We expect data to be available soon on the impact of the vaccination campaign in reducing infections and illness in the UK.

All vaccines and medicines have some side effects. These side effects need to be continuously balanced against the expected benefits in preventing illness.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was evaluated in clinical trials involving more than 44,000 participants. The most frequent adverse reactions in trials were pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, myalgia (muscle pains), chills, arthralgia (joint pains), and fever; these were each reported in more than 1 in 10 people. These reactions were usually mild or moderate in intensity and resolved within a few days after vaccination. Adverse reactions were reported less frequently in older adults (over 55 years) than in younger people.

The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine was evaluated in clinical trials involving more than 23,000 participants. The most frequently reported adverse reactions in these trials were injection-site tenderness, injection-site pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia, malaise, pyrexia (fever), chills, arthralgia, and nausea; these were each reported in more than 1 in 10 people. The majority of adverse reactions were mild to moderate in severity and usually resolved within a few days of vaccination. Adverse reactions reported after the second dose were milder and reported less frequently than after the first dose. Adverse reactions were generally milder and reported less frequently in older adults (65 years and older) than in younger people.

The MHRA’s role is also to continually monitor safety during widespread use of a vaccine. We have in place a proactive strategy to do this. We also work closely with our public health partners in reviewing the effectiveness and impact of the vaccines to ensure the benefits continue to outweigh any possible side effects.

Part of our monitoring role includes reviewing reports of suspected side effects. Any member of the public or health professional can submit suspected side effects through the Yellow Card scheme. The nature of Yellow Card reporting means that reported events are not always proven side effects. Some events may have happened anyway, regardless of vaccination. This is particularly the case when millions of people are vaccinated, and especially when most vaccines are being given to the most elderly people and people who have underlying illness.

This safety update report is based on detailed analysis of data up to 14 February 2021. At this date, an estimated 8.3 million first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 6.9 million doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered, and around 0.6 million second doses, mostly the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, had been administered. This represents an increase of 2.8 million on the previous week.

As of 14 February 2021, for the UK

  • 26,823 Yellow Cards have been reported for the Pfizer/BioNTech
  • 31,427 have been reported for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine
  • 177 have been reported where the brand of the vaccine was not specified

For both vaccines, the overall reporting rate is around 3 to 5 Yellow Cards per 1,000 doses administered.

In the week since the previous summary for 7 February 2021, we have received a further 2,616 Yellow Cards for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 10,999 for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, and 64 where the brand was not specified. A higher number of doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine were administered in the last week than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

For both vaccines, the overwhelming majority of reports relate to injection-site reactions (sore arm for example) and generalised symptoms such as ‘flu-like’ illness, headache, chills, fatigue (tiredness), nausea (feeling sick), fever, dizziness, weakness, aching muscles, and rapid heartbeat. Generally, these happen shortly after the vaccination and are not associated with more serious or lasting illness.

These types of reactions reflect the normal immune response triggered by the body to the vaccines. They are typically seen with most types of vaccines and tend to resolve within a day or two. The nature of reported suspected side effects is broadly similar across age groups, although, as was seen in clinical trials and as is usually seen with other vaccines, they may be reported more frequently in younger adults.

Severe allergy

On 9 December 2020, the MHRA issued preliminary guidance on severe allergic reactions after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine due to early reports of anaphylaxis. Following a further detailed review, this advice was amended on 30 December to the current advice. This advice is that people with a previous history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it. People who receive the vaccine should be monitored for at least 15 minutes afterwards.

Widespread use of the vaccine now suggests that severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are very rare. Anaphylaxis can also be a very rare side effect associated with most other vaccines.

Following very substantial exposure across the UK population, no other new safety concerns have been identified from reports received so far.

Conclusion

  • The increases in the number of ADR reports reflects the increase in vaccine deployment as new vaccination centres have opened across the UK
  • The number and nature of suspected adverse reactions reported so far are not unusual in comparison to other types of routinely used vaccines
  • The overall safety experience with both vaccines is so far as expected from the clinical trials
  • Based on current experience, the expected benefits of both COVID-19 vaccines in preventing COVID-19 and its serious complications far outweigh any known side effects
  • As with all vaccines and medicines, the safety of COVID-19 vaccines is being continuously monitored

Further information on the type of suspected adverse reactions (ADRs) reported for the COVID-19 mRNA Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is provided in Annex 1. It is important to read the guidance notes to ensure appropriate interpretation of the data.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Culture, Education, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

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UK government reports over 240 deaths shortly after coronavirus vaccination

by: Ramon Tomey – February 24, 2021

Tags: AstraZeneca, badhealth, badmedicine, badscience, Big Pharma, BioNTech, coronavirus vaccine, covid-19 pandemic, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Pfizer, United Kingdom, Vaccine deaths, vaccine injury, vaccine safety, vaccine wars, Wuhan coronavirus, Yellow Card reports

Image: UK government reports over 240 deaths shortly after coronavirus vaccination

(Natural News) The U.K. government reported that more than 240 people have died shortly after getting the Wuhan coronavirus vaccines. British citizens who died after vaccination reportedly obtained either the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or the AstraZeneca jab. These vaccine candidates were approved by the British regulator and subsequently used in mass vaccination efforts. Despite this, the U.K. government said it does not believe that the inoculations are to blame for the deaths.

In an extensive report released on Feb. 11, the U.K. government detailed all the adverse reactions reported by both medical personnel and COVID-19 vaccine recipients themselves. The report’s scope included all cases between early December 2020 and the end of January 2021.

According to the release, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) received 143 adverse reaction reports attributed to the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. The AstraZeneca vaccine made in partnership with the University of Oxford reported 90 adverse reactions. There were three reactions where the vaccine brand was not mentioned. Furthermore, a total of eight miscarriages were reported following COVID-19 vaccination – five for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and three for the AstraZeneca candidate.

To further monitor vaccine safety alongside mass immunization efforts, the MHRA introduced a Yellow Card Scheme to collect reports of any suspected side effects. More than 20,000 Yellow Card reports were linked to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. On the other hand, the AstraZeneca jab rolled out last Jan. 4 had 11,748 Yellow Card reports. Seventy-two Yellow Card reports did not specify the brand of the vaccine.

Elderly people or those with underlying conditions made up the majority of the reports. However, the government said either of the vaccines did not play a role in the fatalities based on a review of individual reports and reporting patterns.

The report mentioned that for both vaccines, an overwhelming majority reported reactions at the injection site such as sore arms and generalized symptoms. These generalized symptoms included headache, chills, fatigue, fever, dizziness, and muscle aches. These happen shortly following the vaccination and are not associated with more serious illnesses. However, “spontaneous adverse reactions associated with anaphylaxis or anaphylactoid reactions” were also reported – 130 for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 30 for the AstraZeneca jab.

Pfizer/BioNTech jab linked to vaccination deaths in other countries

According to the report, more than 9.2 million first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.K.’s four constituent countries. Meanwhile, 494,209-second doses have been administered in the four areas. (Related: UK to deploy “resuscitation facilities” in coronavirus vaccination centers to treat wave of allergic reactions caused by vaccines.)

The U.K. is not the only country that has reported fatalities following COVID-19 vaccination. A number of medical personnel also died after getting vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus – most notably with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Florida obstetrician Dr. Gregory Michael died in January after getting inoculated with the first Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose. The 56-year-old received his first dose on Dec. 18, but small spots appeared on his hands and feet three days after immunization. He then visited the emergency room of his workplace, Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he was confined. Doctors then found out that the obstetrician had zero blood platelets.

Despite undergoing transfusions to restore his platelet count, it did little for Michael. He eventually suffered a stroke and died as he was set to undergo a last-minute surgical procedure. Michael’s wife Heidi Neckelmann said: “In my mind, his death was 100 percent linked to the vaccine. There is no other explanation.”

Meanwhile, in Portugal, health worker Sonia Acevedo died just a mere two days after getting the COVID-19 jab. The 41-year-old mother of two who worked at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO) in Porto did not report any adverse effects after immunization. Acevedo was among more than 500 Porto IPO staff who were vaccinated against COVID-19 using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Sonia’s father Abilio Acevedo said his daughter “was okay” and had no health problems. “She had the COVID-19 vaccine, but she didn’t have any symptoms,” he remarked. Abilio continued that he and his daughter even ate together on New Year’s Eve, not knowing that it would be the last time he would see her alive. He subsequently received a call informing him that Sonia was found dead the morning of Jan. 1. “My daughter left home and I never saw her alive again,” he lamented.

Sonia’s daughter Vania Figueredo meanwhile said that her mother had only complained about the “normal” discomfort in the injection site. Figueredo added that aside from this complaint, her mother felt fine. (Related: Nurse aide dies after receiving work-mandated coronavirus vaccine shot.)

Visit VaccineDeaths.com to find out more news about fatalities caused by the Wuhan coronavirus jabs.

Sources include:

LifeSiteNews.com; Gov.uk; DailyMail.co.uk 1; DailyMail.co.uk 2

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

See what you can find on our Facebook Page

See what you can find on our Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/themontserratreporter?comment_id=Y29tbWVudDoxMDE1ODA3MjY5MjUxNTg1Ml8xMDE1ODA3NDQ1MjQwMDg1Mg%3D%3D

See what some of our Facebook readers benefit – Do Zinc and Vitamin C Reduce COVID Symptoms?

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/945794

COVID-19 maps
https://www.univadis.co.uk/covid-19-map?utm_source=medscape&utm_medium=partners&utm_campaign=covid19map&ecd=ban_mscp_covidmap_unicovid_link_mapUK

THE TRUTH, THE LIES, AND THE MISCONCEPTIONS

FINALLY, YOUR ANSWERS FOR WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON WITH COVID, THE PANDEMIC, AND THE “VACCINE”.


https://vrevealed.com/covid/own/

https://youtu.be/J531bU0OYuc
Boosting the Immune System

If this can be followed from the beginning it is recommended for all to follow as it is undoubtedly important that our authorities be responsible to share the information re the ‘vaccines’ to satisfy those who do not know why and how they should accept the COVID-19 ‘vaccine’
https://youtu.be/BG-auqdR8m4

Posted in COVID-19, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

Boris Johnson will unveil England

This is when Boris Johnson will announce England’s road map out of lockdown – and what it might look like

Finlay Greig – The Scotsman – 16 February 2021

Boris Johnson will unveil England's road map out of lockdown on February 22 (Getty Images)

Boris Johnson is set to unveil a roadmap out of lockdown restrictions as cases in England continue to fall.

The country was placed under a third lockdown on January 4 with schools and non-essential businesses forced to close until at least mid-February.

Next week the prime minister will detail the country’s route out of lockdown restrictions from the return of schools to the reopening of pubs – here’s what that might look like.

When is Boris Johnson announcing the roadmap?

Speaking on February 3 Boris Johnson said that a roadmap out of lockdown would be published on February 22.

He said: “On February the 22nd, we will be setting out in as much detail as we can about where we see the dates, what the timetable could be, the earliest dates by which we want to do what – you remember what we did last year – setting out a route map, we’ll do that again.”

There is no set time for the announcement yet but all Downing Street speeches made will be available to watch via BBC News.

Alternatively, you can also watch online through BBC iPlayer, and Sky News also has a live YouTube stream.

The roadmap will be published on gov.uk.

What will the roadmap look like? 

The prime minister has said that the roadmap would be a “gradual” and phased lifting of restrictions.

Health Secretary underlined the government’s desire for caution saying that they wanted the third lockdown to be the country’s last.

The government has already voiced its intention to reopen schools on March 8, and it appears that education will take precedent over non-essential businesses.

Johnson said that no firm decision has been made on whether all pupils will return at the same time on March 8.

The reopening of non-essential businesses, including the hospotiality sector, will be the next priority alongside rules on outdoor socialising and recreation.

For now, the government remain tight-lipped on what a roadmap out of lockdown will look like with a review of restrictions currently underway.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: “I can’t pre-empt what’s going to be in the roadmap or the details of the review this week.

“It will be the review this week that informs the decisions we make and what is contained in the roadmap on Monday, I can’t pre-empt that.”

Will holidays be allowed this year?

Ministers are looking at plans for people who live in the same household to be allowed to go on breaks together from April, the Times newspaper reported.

The Save Future Travel Coalition, made up of 12 leading travel trade organisations, has said it is vital that the Government works with the industry to develop a roadmap to reopen travel.

The coalition warns that the industry cannot afford to wait until everyone in the UK is vaccinated before people start to travel again, otherwise insolvencies and redundancies will be inevitable.

The industry argues that a risk-based approach to travel, including a coordinated approach to vaccine certificates and the use of passenger testing, will be critical in opening up the overseas travel market.

Last week Downing Street said the Government is doing “everything we can to make sure people can have a holiday this summer” but Mr. Johnson and other ministers, have repeatedly cautioned that it is too early to be certain about what people will be able to do regarding holidays.

When will I be able to see family again?

When will I be able to see family again?

This is still unclear, but the Daily Telegraph reported that plans are being considered that would allow grandparents to see grandchildren outdoors as early as next month.

The Daily Mail reported that the rule of six could return for outdoor gatherings, allowing people to meet in groups for walks or picnics in the park.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Criminalising Christian worship when it is needed most is counterproductive

Criminalising Christian worship when it is needed most is counterproductive

February 19, 2021
Bennette Roach

It is out of constant thoughts of how the overall management, particularly with reference to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which has appeared to be poorly conducted in Montserrat.

This may not be so evident perhaps to the larger majority of persons, some of whom simply suffer through the difficulties, while others cruise by enjoying the juicy fruits of the poor or mismanagement, corruptible on the way.

We address this from time to time and even recapture what we have said in previous articles, but there is something which is very striking in the protocols, guidelines and rules brought under the long emergency powers given to a single Minister. One such matter refers to the relegation of the power of worship among the ‘people of faith’ in their respective churches. Instead, these should be done via discussion and agreement with the churches who will guarantee protocols that will assist in avoiding possible setbacks.

Following are excerpts from a letter written by a pastor of a church in Canada with regards to the Orders

“Dear fellow Albertans,

It goes without saying this has been an incredibly difficult 11 months. The effects and ramifications of COVID-19 on our precious province are not insignificant. We sympathize with everyone who has suffered loss in this time, whether it be the loss of a loved one, or loss stemming from government lockdowns (such as economic loss or suffering as a result of being denied necessary health care).

Given the attention our church has received in recent days, we want to address the broader public on our reasons for gathering as a local church. What follows is not a theological defense.

We have already addressed that sufficiently and it is primarily and predominantly obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that has shaped our stance. Instead, what follows will shed light on our approach to what is being called a “pandemic.” The reason we put “pandemic” in quotes is that the definition of a pandemic was changed about 10 years ago. At one time, a pandemic was defined as an infectious disease that resulted in a certain percentage of excess deaths over and above normal annual averages. The definition was changed in connection with H1N1 to remove this threshold. Ten years ago, COVID-19 would not have qualified as a pandemic. In fact, not even close.

When COVID-19 first appeared, we shifted to Livestream and abided by most of the new government guidelines for our gatherings. But when the first declared public health emergency ended, we opened our doors and returned to nearly normal gatherings on Sunday, June 21st, 2020. We did so recognizing COVID-19 was much less severe than the government had initially projected.

In early July, it was brought to our attention that two separate individuals had attended our gatherings on two consecutive Sundays and subsequently tested positive for the virus (both cases being unrelated to each other). At that time, we did our own internal contact tracing (prior to AHS notifying us of the exposure), many of our congregants were tested, and it was determined that no transmission of the virus had taken place. Out of an abundance of caution, we shifted exclusively to Livestream and shut down all other ministries for two weeks (14 days). We did this to mitigate any further spread of COVID-19. When it was evident that no further spread had taken place, we resumed our nearly normal gatherings. Since then, we have gathered as a church each Sunday without incident (28 Sundays to date).

Having engaged in an immense amount of research, interacting with both doctors and frontline healthcare workers, it is apparent that the negative effects of the government lockdown measures on society far surpass the effects of COVID-19. The science being used to justify lockdown measures is both suspect and selective. In fact, there is no empirical evidence that lockdowns are effective in mitigating the spread of the virus. We are gravely concerned that COVID-19 is being used to fundamentally alter society and strip us all of our civil liberties. By the time the so-called “pandemic” is over, if it is ever permitted to be over, Albertans will be utterly reliant on government, instead of free, prosperous, and independent.

For those who can, read the full letter at: https://notthebee.com/article/canadian-church-releases-an-insanely-eloquent-statement-on-liberty-and-covid-after-their-pastor-is-jailed-for-preaching?fbclid=IwAR30mjnixISuidQlQWb-r1VuswZSvujLVi4VnmzekgUx-QHf7acCT_QS3jc

Posted in COVID-19, Editorial, Local, News, Regional, Religion0 Comments

Election Reflection

By Claude Gerald

Voters love to hear about Christianity
Thinking that is the end of the story.
And when dem camouflage behind the pulpit
Voters tun choopit,
And shout out this is it
And forget it;
Then joyfully relax and quit.
Only to get a big pool of… got-yah – it is vomit.

If ayuh me a tek de warning
There would be now no bawling
Butt e no too late fuh get d history
So, ask Breedy, ‘Mess Mess’, and Murphy.
And please no forget de Hero.
He could tell you all you want to know
From d start of the show.
And the ladies of the Nursery
Dead or alive they too have a story.
And Sharlotte, Mamzel, Katy, Lucy and Mr. Daley
God bless dem soul whey ever dem be
Dey could complete the heartless history.
And no fuget d deceased Sherolyn Daley!
Her Harris’s soul is pained in childbirth misery.
If you want to know bout Mr. Harry Paddy
Ask the Groves family
Scattered in every nook and cranny.
Dem go tell you who dem be
Not much of a somebady….
So, forget Iceman’s generosity
He must say sorry as he now begin to see…

Dem tink dem smart and got d art
No know that God a go tek awe part.

Living at we expense a dish out nonsense

But still want to pocket every penny
With no empathy or sympathy to neither Tom, Dick or Harry.

But sickness and death a arll awe cooler
As we must confess to we Maker.

Just before the divine BULL BUD start to swing
In a Harry Paddy-Harry Paddy thin pretensive skin.

And blows haffoo roll without cloths
To be finally and comprehensively exposed..

Posted in COVID-19, Elections, Local, Opinions, Poems, Politics, Regional0 Comments

doctors-look-at-CT-scan

Recall to find purpose, meaning and understanding

Today we continue with a few leads on items that appeared in The Montserrat Reporter publications in print and online to bring us up to date, as we too often forget some of what we have tried to draw readers’ attention.

We might become concerned enough to want to join in the questions that often go unanswered as our leaders and the authorities under (or above) them completely ignore or simply misunderstand their obligations. As said elsewhere it might even meet the approval of some, who may be in the majority given the demography on the ground.

But does that serve any progress or development to bring us to a state where we can demand the respect of those with the higher responsibility, taking it all the way UP?

Here are a few excertps of the lead stories from January/February and note how not surprisingly, disturbingly familiar they are a year

Weather system causes disruption to Ferry Service

The Access Division, under the portfolio of the Office of the Premier, is informing travelers that a high-pressure system in the region is expected to produce rough sea conditions over the next few days, which is resulting in the cancellation of the ‘Day Tour Service’ and will possibly disrupt other scheduled ferry services from Friday, January 10 to 14.

Jaden Sun would be ‘done with’ without clarity, except oratory it was not economical to keep its service. The story yet to be told

 Bank of Montserrat announces New General Manager.

Former Manager Michael Joseph
New Manager Baldwin Taylor

The Bank of Montserrat is pleased to announce the appointment of its new General Manager, Mr. Baldwin Taylor who took up office on January 2, 2020.

He succeeds Mr. Michael Joseph who retires as General Manager after serving for ten (10) years in the position. During his tenure, the Bank grew exponentially recording growth in assets of 47% moving from $171M in 2009 to $252M in 2018, and Loans growth of over 100% increasing from $46M in 2009 to $94M in 2018. The Bank also reported its best profit in the last five years of $4.3M in 2018.

OPENING CEREMONY FOR FINANCIAL AID MISSION (FAM)

FS Colin Owen, partially hidden, Adam Pile FCO Director, Premier Farrell, and Governor Pearce

EVENT:    Opening Ceremony for the Financial Aid Mission (FAM)

BACKGROUND:   The FAM is held annually to allow for discussions between the Government of Montserrat and the Department for International Development (DFID) on the budget allocation for Montserrat.   This year’s FAM will be held from Monday, January 13 to 17,  at the   Montserrat Cultural Centre.

Read the full story on this which will enlighten the strangeness of this year’s FAM discussions.

UN agency declares global emergency over virus from China

1 of 15

A doctor attends to a patient in an isolation ward at a hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. China counted 170 deaths from a new virus Thursday and more countries reported infections, including some spread locally, as foreign evacuees from China’s worst-hit region returned home to medical observation and even isolation. (Chinatopix via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization declared the outbreak sparked by a new virus in China that has spread to more than a dozen countries as a global emergency Thursday after the number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week.

The U.N. health agency defines an international emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.

China first informed WHO about cases of the new virus in late December. To date, China has reported more than 7,800 cases including 170 deaths. Eighteen other countries have since reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is.

Paris hospital. Outbreak specialists worry that the spread of new viruses from patients to health workers can signal the virus is becoming adapted to human transmission.

In Japan, a man in his 60s caught the virus after working as a bus driver for two tour groups from Wuhan. In Germany, a man in his 30s was sickened after a Chinese colleague from Shanghai, whose parents had recently visited from Wuhan, came to his office for a business meeting. Four other workers later became infected. The woman had shown no symptoms of the virus until her flight back to China.

The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, a cousin of the new virus. Both are from the coronavirus family, which also includes those that can cause the common cold.

Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Britain’s Welcome Trust, welcomed WHO’s emergency declaration.

“This virus has spread at unprecedented scale and speed, with cases passing between people in multiple countries across the world,” he said in a statement. “It is also a stark reminder of how vulnerable we are to epidemics of infectious diseases known and unknown.”

virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China

virus which originated from China a “global health emergency.” China, where the coronavirus emerged

Construction workers labor at the site of the Huoshenshan temporary field hospital being built in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. China counted 170 deaths from a new virus Thursday and more countries reported infections, including some spread locally, as foreign evacuees from China’s worst-hit region returned home to medical observation and even isolation. (AP Photo/Arek Rataj)

coronavirus defense

Zhong Nanshan (a Chinese pulmonologist who discovered the SARS coronavirus in 2003) suggested simple ways to prevent Wuhan pneumonia:

It is recommended that you rinse your throat with light salt water before going to the hospital or other public places (and do the same after you return home). The method is as follows:

a) hold a mouthful of dilute salt water;

b) raise your head; let the salt water stay around your throat area

c) open your mouth slightly and exhale slowly, let air bubbling through the water in your throat and make a “ha” sound

d) spit out the salt water after a few seconds

e) repeat 3-5 times

Because viruses or bacteria lurk in the pharynx through the nasal passage, diluted salt water can kill them on the spot, thereby achieving the purpose of preventing infection. During SARS, I promoted and supervised this method among my students. As a result, none of our students in our class got cold, cough and fever.

This method is simple, effective, easy to do. But requires persevere.

Zhong Nanshan

January 21, 2020

Montserrat Port Development Project enters procurement phase – prequalification of contractors to design and construct the new port

February 7, 2020 GIU, Davy Hill Montserrat– The Montserrat Port Development Project has advanced to the procurement process phase, as contractors are now invited to pre-qualify for the design-build contract for the Phase 1 Development.

Project Manager of the Montserrat Port Development Project, Dion Weekes said the Project has satisfied the conditions set by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to advance to a procurement phase and as a result contractors are now invited to pre-qualify for the design and construction of the port facilities.

Contractors interested in pre-qualifying should visit the Government of Montserrat tenders website at https://tenders.gov.ms/?page_id=9&id=209 and the Caribbean Development Bank website https://www.caribank.org/work-with-us/procurement/procurement-notices/montserrat-port-development-project-1. The invitation to prequalify is also published on the United Nations Business Development website.

The deadline date for pre-qualification submissions to be received is March 3, 2020, following which the bidding documents for the design and construction of the port facilities are expected to be issued by the end of March.

The Island’s Long-Awaited Hospital Project Moves to Design Phase

The Government of Montserrat has signed a contract with Article 25 for the preliminary design of the island’s new national hospital. This follows a previous announcement that the Government had successfully concluded a globally competitive procurement process.

Article 25 is an international architectural organisation based in the United Kingdom (UK), with impressive experience in health facility design, amongst a portfolio including more than 90 architectural projects across 34 countries.

The designers, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), will be responsible for reviewing previous design work, and generating new and costed architectural options for a facility with a minimum of 24 beds, with the capacity for expansion to meet peak demands. The consultants will also provide logistical plans for decanting from the current facilities and ensuring continuity of service, whilst demonstrating conformance to the highest clinical design standards for patients and medical staff.

The Head of Programme Management Office, Mr. Martin Parlett, said, “We are delighted to now be in formal contract with Article 25, and to fire the starting pistol on the overall project. Article 25 will begin by mobilizing a multi-disciplinary team, and conducting a review of relevant healthcare data and previous design work. We then expect Article 25 to be ‘on the ground’ in Montserrat in March, to conduct site visits and the first stage of consultation with a broad range of stakeholders. Input from our healthcare professionals, technicians and patient community is critical to ensure that the design responds to Montserrat’s unique contact, whilst enabling improvements to service and experience.”

STATEMENT ON JOHN A OSBORNE AIRPORT CLOSURES WHEN THE RUNWAY IS WET

The Governor and his Office sincerely sympathise with individuals who have been inconvenienced by the adjustments made to the airport operating regime, specifically the “wet runway” closure, since the runway overshoot incident in September last year. 

There has been some good recent discussion on the closure in the media, but also some misunderstandings on some aspects. People may welcome clarifications and information on the way forward. 

Air safety regulation in Montserrat has been wholly designated to the UK organisation, Air Safety and Support International (ASSI). These are experts in what is a critical but highly technical professional field and will be determining the way forward. The Governor does not have a personal responsibility for deciding such matters. It would clearly be wrong and inappropriate for him, or anyone else without the relevant professional experience and qualifications, to do so.

ASSI required that use of our runway in Montserrat in wet conditions be restricted temporarily after the accident last September. That was because they had grounds to believe that the very wet conditions at the time of the incident may have contributed to it.

FAM budget discussions friendly (Jan 2020)

With the concurrence of the other lead players in the recently concluded Financial Aid Mission talks here in Montserrat, (2020) His Excellency Governor Andy Pearce expressed at the joint press conference between the UK Department for International Development/Foreign Commonwealth Office (DFID/FCO) and Government of Montserrat (GoM), that his thoughts as to what would be key to a successful FAM were spot on, to be professional, in a spirit of cooperation an friendship.

He said in his opening remarks, “I just gave a couple of thoughts that the key to a successful FAM in my relatively brief experience here, was firstly professional d0iligence and thoroughness, attention to detail and secondly conducting things in a spirit of cooperation and friendship.”

“I must say from my own experience in this week, I think both have been absolutely hit on the nail,” adding that he would echo the Financial Secretary’s (FS) observation.

The FS had said as he introduced the press conference, “…it’s been an extraordinary week…very busy – it’s been very well attended,” and he said, “thanks to the Premier and the ministers for attending most of the sessions…”

The Governor ended his brief remarks addressing the “public service team in all its parts…really excellent preparation, coming straight after Christmas and with busy day jobs…thank you very much indeed for doing it also carefully; and such a happy spirit indeed. It’s built a really solid understanding between us all and an excellent spirit of cooperation and friendship.”

The Hon Premier Joseph Farrell speaking next, said he wished to join with the others who have extended words of thanks to the many persons who are involved (they said they had one more meeting after the press conference, having just concluded one before) in this week of activities.”

In particular,” he said, “I want to thank the core teams of both DFID and the government and once that Ministry of finance and all others who took part in the discussions.”

“Surely it was a very full experience for us as a new government. My ministers and I certainly enjoyed the exposure that we have had,” repeating the newness, “but we have learnt a lot.”

He confirmed that they had attended “most of the sessions and the only reason why we did that is because we want to be familiar with how it works

New Port stalled

February 2020

Montserrat may not receive the port break water and breathing facility that was advertised by the government of Montserrat. In the first in a series of Facebook live videos, minister of communication and works the honorable doctor Samuel Joseph says upon taking office he has discovered that the cost of constructing the port exceeds the budget that has been allocated.

After we submitted this designs this how we would like our ports, how we would like our break water just try to get an understanding of what it cost. What happen is that the cost of the project came way over the amount of money that’s available. So that created an immediate issue so what has happen is that we had to go back when I say we the technicians etc had to now go back and try to scale down the design of the port, scale down to a smaller version so basically cost less money they are currently in the process of doing that and the question we are going to face as a government and as a people of Montserrat is how small can you go before that project is acceptable.

Now that the real cost of the port has been introduced minister Joseph says the government will now have to scale back its expectations to the public.

Posted in COVID-19, Health, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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India’s dramatic fall in virus cases leaves experts stumped

Reprint

By KRUTIKA PATHI and ANIRUDDHA GHOSAL, Associated Press – Associated Press – 16 February 2021

NEW DELHI (AP) — When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in India, there were fears it would sink the fragile health system of the world’s second-most populous country. Infections climbed dramatically for months and at one point India looked like it might overtake the United States as the country with the highest case toll.

But infections began to plummet in September, and now the country is reporting about 11,000 new cases a day, compared to a peak of nearly 100,000, leaving experts perplexed.

They have suggested many possible explanations for the sudden drop — seen in almost every region — including that some areas of the country may have reached herd immunity or that Indians may have some preexisting protection from the virus.

The Indian government has also partly attributed the dip in cases to mask-wearing, which is mandatory in public in India and violations draw hefty fines in some cities. But experts have noted the situation is more complicated since the decline is uniform even though mask compliance is flagging in some areas.

It’s more than just an intriguing puzzle; determining what’s behind the drop in infections could help authorities control the virus in the country, which has reported nearly 11 million cases and over 155,000 deaths. Some 2.4 million people have died worldwide.

“If we don’t know the reason, you could unknowingly be doing things that could lead to a flare-up,” said Dr. Shahid Jameel, who studies viruses at India’s Ashoka University.

India, like other countries, misses many infections, and there are questions about how it’s counting virus deaths. But the strain on the country’s hospitals has also declined in recent weeks, a further indication the virus’s spread is slowing. When recorded cases crossed 9 million in November, official figures showed nearly 90% of all critical care beds with ventilators in New Delhi were full. On Thursday, 16% of these beds were occupied.

That success can’t be attributed to vaccinations since India only began administering shots in January — but as more people get a vaccine, the outlook should look even better, though experts are also concerned about variants identified in many countries that appear to be more contagious and render some treatments and vaccines less effective.

Among the possible explanations for the fall in cases is that some large areas have reached herd immunity — the threshold at which enough people have developed immunity to the virus, by falling sick or being vaccinated, that the spread begins to slacken, said Vineeta Bal, who studies immune systems at India’s National Institute of Immunology.

But experts have cautioned that even if herd immunity in some places is partially responsible for the decline, the population as a whole remains vulnerable — and must continue to take precautions.

This is especially true because new research suggests that people who got sick with one form of the virus may be able to get infected again with a new version. Bal, for instance, pointed to a recent survey in Manaus, Brazil, that estimated that over 75% of people there had antibodies for the virus in October — before cases surged again in January.

“I don’t think anyone has the final answer,” she said.

And, in India, the data is not as dramatic. A nationwide screening for antibodies by Indian health agencies estimated that about 270 million, or one in five Indians, had been infected by the virus before vaccinations started — that’s far below the rate of 70% or higher than experts say might be the threshold for the coronavirus, though even that is not certain.

“The message is that a large proportion of the population remains vulnerable,” said Dr. Balram Bhargava, who heads India’s premier medical research body, the Indian Council of Medical Research.

But the survey offered other insight into why India’s infections might be falling. It showed that more people had been infected in India’s cities than in its villages and that the virus was moving more slowly through the rural hinterland.

“Rural areas have lesser crowd density, people work in open spaces more and homes are much more ventilated,” said Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India.

If some urban areas are moving closer to herd immunity — wherever that threshold lies — and are also limiting transmission through masks and physical distancing and thus are seeing falling cases, then maybe the low speed at which the virus is passing through rural India can help explain sinking numbers, suggested Reddy.

Another possibility is that many Indians are exposed to a variety of diseases throughout their lives — cholera, typhoid, and tuberculosis, for instance, are prevalent — and this exposure can prime the body to mount a stronger, initial immune response to a new virus.

“If the COVID virus can be controlled in the nose and throat, before it reaches the lungs, it doesn’t become as serious. Innate immunity works at this level, by trying to reduce the viral infection and stop it from getting to the lungs,” said Jameel, of Ashoka University.

Despite the good news in India, the rise of new variants has added another challenge to efforts here and around the globe to bring the pandemic under control. Scientists have identified several variants in India, including some that have been blamed for causing new infections in people who already had an earlier version of the virus. But they are still studying the public health implications.

Experts are considering if variants may be driving a surge in cases in the southern state of Kerala, which had previously been hailed as a blueprint for tackling the virus. Kerala now accounts for nearly half of India’s current COVID-19 cases. Government-funded research has suggested that a more contagious version of the virus could be at play, and efforts to sequence its genome are ongoing.

With the reasons behind India’s success unclear, experts are concerned that people will let down their guard. Large parts of India have already returned to normal life. In many cities, markets are heaving, roads are crowded and restaurants nearly full.

“With the reducing numbers, I feel that the worst of COVID is over,” said M. B. Ravikumar, an architect who was hospitalized last year and recovered. “And we can all breathe a sigh of relief.”

Maybe not yet, said Jishnu Das, a health economist at Georgetown University who advises the West Bengal state on handling the pandemic.

“We don’t know if this will come back after three to four months,” he warned.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Posted in COVID-19, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

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Pandemic schooling at home is not homeschooling – this is why lesson failures are OK

Trying to force parents, children, and teachers to replicate traditional education online in the home is both punishing and pointless

TMR: Right from the beginning, we ask how does this might apply to Montserrat? How is the consultation, or the discussion or the action, not getting it right! How many of our parents and children in little Montserrat are facing this situation. Who thinks about it? What was done when it was discovered that not all had computers at home? What does that say when instead of engaging the media appropriately, with a complete lack of understanding of the important role of proper and beneficial ‘communication’?

by Victoria Bennett – The Independent – 03 February 2021

A special message from Microsoft News UK: With so many young people grappling with the challenges of lockdown and homeschooling, mental health problems are on the rise. Help us get them the vital support they need. Our appeal, in partnership with The Children’s Society, connects the vulnerable to professional services. Join us or donate here.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

When the schools closed in 2020, friends said to me, “You’re ok, it’s normal for you”. To some extent this was true. My husband and I work online from home and our 13-year-old son has always been home-educated. What we were experiencing though was not normal, particularly as our child is medically vulnerable.

Our normal home-learning includes trips to museums, meet-ups with friends, swimming, cinema outings, family travel, and more. It’s enriching for all of us. Now, we keep hearing about the “lost generation” and “long-term damage” of being out of school. My son feels angry. He wants to know if that’s how the world sees him, as a home-educated child? He’s furious at having his future written off so casually. Learning at home does not mean your life is ruined and this language reveals a lot about how homeschooling is perceived.

I’ve grown used to children assuming my son can’t read or write because he doesn’t go to school. They’re often surprised to hear that whilst education is compulsory, school is not. I’ve learned to accept the inevitable “What about socialisation? What about GCSEs?” questions. It seems the general perception of regular homeschooling children is that they spend their days locked away, destined for a life of illiterate delinquency. The reality, of course, is far from this. My son is a voracious reader, is interested in subjects from chemistry to engineering to art, plays piano and guitar, and is confident in social situations. As to whether he will do GCSEs? He might choose to, or he might make different choices. His route is not fixed.

Mother working from home with a kid: Quarantine mode

But these are not normal times for any of us and pandemic schooling at home is not the same as homeschooling. Trying to force parents, children, and teachers to replicate traditional education online in the home is both punishing and pointless. Author and educator John Holt said: “What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all.”

These are, as we frequently hear, unprecedented times. Why then, is the Department for Education insisting teachers, students, and parents try to replicate school at home? Holt pioneered the term “radical unschooling”, which assumes that all children are curious learners and every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. This can be challenging to trust but maybe it’s what we need right now?

When my son was seven, we spent a year caring for my mother. It was exhausting and traumatic yet, when nurses asked my son what he was learning, I felt guilty. I wasn’t managing formal lessons. I was a bad mother. The guiltier I felt, the harder I tried. One day, after yet another failed maths lesson (it isn’t my strongest subject) my son and I, sat crying on the floor. This way wasn’t going to work, for either of us. I put away the maths books, got out the paints, and, for the next three hours, we painted the garden shed, path, and ourselves until everything was a mess of colour. We ended the day laughing and the shed, though worn now, still makes people smile.

At the end of that year, my son’s life was not ruined. What did he learn? Playing Minecraft online gave him excellent keyboard skills and a strong sense of digital citizenship. Witnessing end-of-life care gave him the opportunity to learn about resilience and compassion. Being there when my mother died helped him learn how to process loss. Learning that it was okay to listen to his needs helped him articulate his feelings. We both grew, and we never returned to formal lessons.

Right now, our priority is learning how to live through extraordinary times. To do so, we need to be flexible, not rigid. Maybe, instead of worrying about algebra, we need to learn how to slow down and give time to our needs. Instead of testing, maybe we need to reflect on our collective grief and fear as we live through it. In place of Zoom classes, maybe we can develop skills in sustaining joyful human connections in a rapidly changing digital world?

This is a time for simple acts of radical gentleness. In the end, it is about loving ourselves, and each other, enough to get through this in one piece, even if that means playing hooky once in a while. The world won’t end if you do. It will be okay.

Victoria Bennett is a writer, creative producer, and full-time home educating mother to a teenage son

Read : Going back to ‘normal’ will be a process, not an event – we must learn to live with Covid

10 years in prison if you hide trip to ‘red zone’ country, says Hancock Welcome to Hancock Travel – check out early and the next 10 years are free

Travel quarantine policy is now deemed so crucial to containing the spread of coronavirus that breaking the rules is as serious as ABH
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/covid-travel-rules-prison-hotel-quarantine-b1799733.html

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Education, Health, International, Kids, News, Politics, Regional, Security, Youth0 Comments

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