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COVID 19

153 hospital employees in U.S. Houston resign or fired after refusing vaccination.

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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More than 150 healthcare workers who disobeyed the hospital system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate have been terminated or their resignations accepted in U.S. Houston, media reported Wednesday.

According to The Texas Tribune, Houston Methodist – One of the first health systems to require the vaccine – has terminated or accepted the resignations of 153 workers, it’s spokeswoman Gale Smith said.

In April, Houston Methodist announced the requirement of its staff to get the vaccine by June 7 in order to keep their jobs, reports said. While 24,947 workers did get vaccinated, the hospital suspended 178 workers who failed to do so by the deadline, they were given two more months to prove they have been immunized. Twenty-Five of those employees did get vaccinated, Smith said.

A lawsuit brought by one of the employees stating that the policy was unlawful was dismissed by a federal district court judge at an earlier time in this month.

The CEO of Houston Methodist Marc Boom encouraged the ruling, stating that “employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of what we do.”

Following Houston Methodist’s action, a rising number of healthcare organizations based in the United States have opted to impose vaccine mandates.

COVID 19

Chinese diplomat urges Washington to cooperate with the international community.

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A Chinese diplomat has urged the United States to collaborate with the international community on origin-tracing of COVID-19, instead of covering up information on its biological experiments.

“If the U.S. indeed aspires for truth and transparency, they must agree to an international investigation on the coronavirus, identify the source of the epidemic in the U.S. and the reasons for its incompetent response,” Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui said Wednesday.

In a press conference he said “Washington has to answer the existing questions about biological experiments in the U.S. and other countries, where the Americans also have a number of laboratories,”

Washington meticulously studied the circumstances in other countries but hid the situation of its own.

In the meantime, it displayed a non-scientific approach to researching the origins, Russian news agency Tass quoted Zhang as saying.

“This is a job for scientists, while the Americans posed this question and this task to their intelligence services — for the CIA to determine the origins of the coronavirus,” he said.

“China has always upheld the principles of openness, transparency and cooperation on COVID-19 origins investigation, but some U.S. politicians only doubted the statements of scientists, contrasting them against conspiracy theories, therefore politicizing the matters of science,” Zhang added.

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COVID 19

Indians outraged over no oxygen shortage death data.

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Indians are outraged after a junior health minister while talking at Parliament said that no COVID-19 deaths had been reported due to oxygen shortage.

While answering a question raised by the opposition MP KC Venugopal in the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of parliament) on “whether a large number of COVID-19 patients died on roads and hospitals due to acute shortage of oxygen in the second wave”? Junior Minister for Health and Family Welfare in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government Ms. Bharati Pawar said that “Health is a state subject. Detailed guidelines for reporting of deaths have been issued by the central health ministry to all states and Union Territories,” and also she added that they had not received any reports about deaths due to the oxygen shortage.

In April and May hospitals across India ran out of oxygen during a deadly second wave. There were daily reports of people dying from oxygen scarcity. By so far India has reported more than 418,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than half of those were reported after 16th April when COVID-19 cases began to climb sharply during the second wave. The government’s statement that it had no data on oxygen deaths has angered and shocked Indians.

People appeared furious and hurt that the government was relying on a technicality – that states had not reported any deaths “specifically” from a lack of oxygen – and not acknowledging the horrific reality that so many families had faced.

As reported by the BBC on 1st May in one prominent Delhi hospital, at least 12 patients, including a doctor, died when it ran out of oxygen.

India’s health infrastructure began to crumble as the demand for hospital beds, oxygen and medicines rose quickly. Social media was flooded with desperate pleas for help from both families and doctors as patients gasped for breath. The trauma was on vivid display day after day and made global headlines.

India’s government has previously faced criticism for major gaps in its COVID-19 data – experts say the case counts and deaths are both severely under-reported.

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COVID 19

Suspension of Dining-in and limits placed on group sizes back to 2.

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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A suspension of Dining-in will take affect and group sizes for social gatherings will go back down to two people as Singapore returns to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) to combat a rise in local COVID-19 cases.

The measures will begin, starting from Thursday (Jul 22) until Aug 18 and will supersede the measures that were introduced on Monday, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release.

The Government will appraise the measures in two weeks and adjust them based on the situation at that time, the ministry added.

The measures for the ones that are fully vaccinated have been decided by the COVID-19 multi-ministerial task force to not be differentiated with the unvaccinated people, but will consider doing so when vaccination rates are higher or when the situation has stabilized, said task force co-chair Gan Kim Yong in a press conference on Tuesday.

“We know that this news is extremely disappointing and frustrating to many, in particular for businesses in sectors such as F&B. These sectors have been very badly hit given the earlier restrictions, they have been working very hard to adapt to the changing regulations,” said Mr. Gan, who is also Minister for Trade and Industry.

From Thursday, group sizes for social gatherings will be reduced from five to two people.

MOH stated in a press release that there will also be a limit of two distinct visitors per household per day. People should continue to limit their social gatherings to not more than two per day.

Similar to the previous period of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from May 16 to Jun 13, grandchildren being cared for daily by their grandparents will not count towards the cap on the number of visitors or social gatherings.

“Grandparents are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19, to protect both themselves and their grandchildren. To reduce the risk of transmission, grandparents should also minimize intermingling between grandchildren from different households,” said the ministry.

All F&B establishments, which includes hawker centers and food courts, can only offer takeaway and delivery options from Thursday.

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