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California declares emergency over coronavirus as death toll rises in US

first_imgThe US death toll from coronavirus infections rose to 11 on Wednesday as new cases emerged around New York City and Los Angeles, while Seattle-area health officials sought to allay anxiety and discourage social gatherings amid the nation’s largest outbreak.The first California death from the virus was an elderly person in Placer County, near Sacramento, health officials said. The person had underlying health problems and likely had been exposed on a cruise ship voyage between San Francisco and Mexico last month.It was the first coronavirus fatality in the United States outside of Washington state, where 10 people have died in a cluster of at least 39 infections that have emerged through community transmission of the virus in two Seattle-area counties. Although the Placer County patient who died was not believed to have contracted the virus locally, that case and a previous one from the San Francisco Bay Area linked to the same ocean liner have led health authorities to seek other cruise passengers who may have had close contact with those two individuals.Hours after the person’s death was announced, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency in response to the coronavirus, which he said has resulted in 53 cases across the nation’s most populous state.”The State of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus,” Newsom said in a statement.Six new coronavirus patients were confirmed in Los Angeles County, public health officials said on Wednesday. One was a federal contractor who may have been exposed while conducting medical screenings at Los Angeles International Airport, the US Department of Homeland Security reported. Three others likely were infected while traveling recently to northern Italy, one of the areas hardest hit in the global outbreak. Of the six in Los Angeles County, only one has been hospitalized. The other five are recovering in home isolation.The greater Seattle region represents the biggest concentration of cases detected in the United States from a virus that has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide, mostly in China, where the epidemic originated in December.With most of the Seattle-area cases not linked to travel or exposure to people who might have been infected abroad, that means the virus has gone from being an imported phenomenon to taking up residence in Washington state, health officials say.At least 18 cases, including six deaths, were connected to a long-term nursing facility for the elderly, called LifeCare Center of Kirkland, in a Seattle suburb.’DISTANCING MEASURES’Seattle health authorities urged a number of measures for curbing further spread of the disease, including recommendations for anyone aged 60 and older and individuals with underlying chronic health problems or compromised immunity to stay home and away from large gatherings and public places.They also urged companies to allow their employees to work from home as much as possible, stagger shifts to ease commuter congestion on public transportation and avoid large work-related gatherings when possible.”The distancing measures that we’re recommending are essential because we need to slow the spread of the disease to the point where we are able to continue to handle the load,” said Patty Hayes, the public health director for Seattle and King County.A growing number of US companies are adopting such steps. On Wednesday Microsoft Corp asked its employees in the Seattle region near its headquarters and in the San Francisco Bay Area to work from home if possible until March 25.In New York state, the number of cases rose to 10 on Wednesday. Three family members and a neighbor of a lawyer who was previously identified as infected tested positive. The neighbor’s wife and three of his children have also contracted the virus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.About 1,000 people in suburban Westchester County, where the two families live, were under self-quarantine orders because of possible exposure, Cuomo said.”We are, if anything, being overcautious,” he said.AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, said Wednesday that people in a group from New York that attended its 18,000-person policy conference in Washington, D.C., this week potentially had been in contact with an individual who contacted the coronavirus before the conference.Dozens of Congress members attended the conference, as well as Vice President Mike Pence.EMERGENCY FUNDSUS lawmakers reached bipartisan agreement on an $8.3 billion emergency bill to help fund efforts to contain the virus. The bill garnered enough votes to pass in the House of Representatives.The Senate is expected to act quickly so President Donald Trump can sign the measure into law.More than $3 billion would be devoted to research and development of coronavirus vaccines, test kits and therapeutics. There are currently no approved vaccines or treatments for the fast-spreading illness.The administration is working to allow laboratories to develop their own coronavirus tests without seeking regulatory approval first, US Health Secretary Alex Azar said.The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed 129 confirmed and presumed cases in the United States, up from the previous 108. They were 80 reported by public health authorities in 13 states plus 49 among people repatriated from abroad, according to the CDC website.Those figures do not necessarily reflect Wednesday’s updates from three states.Topics :last_img read more

CARICOM Secretariat and IICA move to strengthen co-operation

first_imgSecretary-general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Irwin LaRocque GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Secretary-general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Irwin LaRocque welcomed the director general of the Inter-American Institute of for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) Dr Victor Villalobos as his first visitor from an institution since assuming office on 15 August. “I believe that it is not insignificant that the first visit to me as secretary-general is from the head of an agricultural institution, given the importance of agriculture in the context of rural development and food security for the region,” LaRocque said at the conclusion of the visit on Thursday at CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Turkeyen, Guyana. LaRocque, who previously served as CARICOM assistant secretary-general trade and economic integration, stressed that while in that position, Villalobos and himself had an excellent working relationship. “That relationship between the director-general and myself and between the Secretariat and IICA can only be strengthened for a more positive impact for the Caribbean,” the secretary-general said. Villalobos said one of the main reasons for his visit was to express IICA’s interest to continue working with the Secretariat as he was convinced that nothing could be achieved in the development of the agriculture sector without the willingness of all parties to work together. “No single institution can develop agriculture on its own. There must be complementarity going forward,” the director general said. He assured the secretary-general that he could count on IICA as they discussed projects and proposals some of which were already underway in the Community, including women and youth in agriculture. He also expressed appreciation in the confidence placed in IICA for the implementation of two projects funded by the European Union (EU) under the 10th EDF totalling 20 million euros and which were due to start early in 2012. These are an Intra-ACP Agriculture Policy Programme amounting to 8.5 mn euros) and a Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Programme (11.6 mn euros) Villalobos said that IICA would work with the Secretariat to implement the projects and find solutions at the ground level to the constraints in the sector in the Region. He said that IICA was already involved in assisting with the Jagdeo Initiative, which has identified key binding constraints to the development of agriculture in CARICOM. He referred to a workshop which IICA had co-ordinated with the Ministry of Agriculture in Antigua and Barbuda to look at risk insurance for the sector, one of the nine constraints identified under the Jagdeo Initiative. LaRocque said the IICA had so far provided technical assistance in the form of a consultant to strengthen the Agriculture Development Unit of the Secretariat with respect to the coordination of the Jagdeo Initiative and the development of Agriculture Sector in the Community. The director general took the opportunity to invite the secretary-general to attend the annual meeting of the ministers of agriculture of IICA member states which is to be held in Costa Rica next month under the theme “Innovation for competitive, sustainable and inclusive agriculture”. It will be the first ministerial meeting under the stewardship of Villalobos.Caribbean News Now Share Sharing is caring! Share Tweetcenter_img NewsRegional CARICOM Secretariat and IICA move to strengthen co-operation by: – September 10, 2011 Share 8 Views   no discussionslast_img read more