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‘Not a good day’: Australia logs record coronavirus cases, deaths | Australia News

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Australia on Thursday reported a record number of new coronavirus infections and deaths, logging at least 13 new deaths, most of them at elderly care homes in southeastern Victoria state, where the government has ordered all residents to wear face masks outdoors.

Some 723 positive cases were reported in the last 24 hours, well beyond the previous nationwide record of 549 cases set on Monday.

The surge in new infections and deaths come despite a strict three-week lockdown in Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, the epicentre of the pandemic’s second wave in Australia. The Melbourne outbreak has sparked new clusters of infections in other regions, including in Sydney in the neighbouring state of New South Wales (NSW).

“Today is not a good day,” Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement. “And, as the numbers show, the virus does not discriminate. It rips through workplaces, sweeps through aged-care settings, cuts through communities – and tragically takes lives with it as it goes.”

In addition to requiring Victoria’s more than 6 million people to wear a mask when outdoors from Monday, Andrews also extended physical distancing restrictions, with residents in communities southwest of Melbourne no longer allowed to have visitors to their homes from Thursday.

Cafes, pubs and restaurants would be allowed to stay open, however, because these were controlled environments where physical distancing rules could be enforced.

“Having friends over to your house is not a controlled environment,” Andrews said.

Outbreak at elderly homes

While the latest spike in cases was concerning, the premier said the majority of them were at known hotspots such as homes for the elderly, and the number of untraceable infections was “much smaller”.

Most of those who died were over the age of 70.

At one of the worst-hit facilities, Epping Gardens, an ambulance was seen on Wednesday taking away the body of one of the deceased residents, while health workers stretchered other masked residents to waiting ambulances for transfer to hospital.

James Trauer, head of the Epidemiological Modelling Unit for the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, said he expected to see more infections and possibly more deaths among residents at care homes.

“The considerable number of homes that have been affected in Melbourne is a grave cause for concern because there will be a lag between when the cases occur and when the deaths occur. So, we can expect more patients from these facilities to be admitted to hospital and potentially have bad outcomes in the coming weeks,” he told Al Jazeera from Melbourne.

Trauer said staff at elderly care facilities might be responsible for the outbreaks there.

“The nature of employment of the staff who work in nursing homes often means that they are actually employed in multiple homes, so the staff can spread the infections from place to place.”

‘Golden immunity’

In the Australian capital, Canberra, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he supported the Victorian government’s decision to tighten restrictions.

“We’ve now been in this lockdown (in Melbourne) for some weeks, and we are not getting the results we would hope for, and as a result, the further measures that are taken are certainly necessary,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

“On some days the virus wins, on other days we beat it. But I think we’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus.”

Morrison said further restrictions on movement would deal a blow to the economy which is already in its first recession for 30 years, but added that failure to control the latest outbreaks would do more economic harm in the long run.

The country has confirmed a total of 16,298 cases since the pandemic began.

NSW, Australia’s most populous state, reported 18 new cases, with six from unknown sources.

Northeastern Queensland state, which had effectively eliminated the virus, said it had found three new cases, two of whom were believed to have contracted COVID-19 while in Sydney, the capital of NSW. Queensland closed its borders to people from Sydney on Wednesday.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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