Category Archives: International

France: What is a ‘Pass sanitaire ?’

France would like to establish a “pass sanitaire” beginning of June 2021.

Even though no official date has been announced regarding the launching of such certificate in France, the government has planned to use it as a proof of vaccination against Covid-19, a natural immunity after being ill or a negative test result. Those who wish to access crowded events of more than 1000 people such as festivals or concerts will have to show their “pass sanitaire.”

This certificate would be in line with the EU-Wide “Green Digital Certificate” approved by the Europpean Parliament on 29 April. This should notably allow more secured travels within the Europpean Union.

On May 3, The Covid Scientific Council has announced being in favor of a “pass sanitaire” in France: “[this would be] used temporarily and exceptionally to allow people to go back to an almost normal life while minimising the risk of contamination.”

Photo by Petr Sevcovic on Unsplash

The certificates that compose the “pass sanitaire” can be integrated as a numerical format on the application TousAntiCovid, unveiled on 19 April, but will also be available as a PDF and paper format.

French President Emmanuel Macron assured that the “pass sanitaire” will “never be a right of access that differentiates French people. It will not be mandatory to access places of everyday life such as restaurants, theatres, cinemas or to visit friends.”

France continues to discuss the possible establishment of such certificate on its territory.

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Photo by Fran Boloni on Unsplash

Can the majority of Poland’s population be fully vaccinated by the end of summer 2021?

The Ministry of Health has announced today that Poland for the first time has vaccinated over 400 000 within 24 hours and the numbers keep growing.

In total, 13,034,348 vaccinations for COVID-19 were carried out in Poland (according to data as of 10:30 on May 7).

Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

As United Kingdom’s Covid-19 vaccination is slowing down, Poland at the end of April released the plan with the dates of when each age group will be able to register to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

Almost 40% of the population received the vaccine and 9,735,602 people got vaccinated with the first dose in Poland.

3,298,739 people have received two doses.

By the end of this week, all adults are going to be able to book a date for their vaccine.

However, in some cities, it is possible to get vaccinated even before your scheduled date and you can get your first dose the next day after booking your visit.

Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

Wioletta, 21 years old who got her first dose of Pfizer before her scheduled date said “I believe that the accelerated vaccination system in Poland was a great idea. It will allow vaccinating as many people as possible in a short amount of time. The ability to get vaccinated faster, and before our turn, also allows us to return to our normal lives sooner.”

All you have to do to get the first dose of the vaccine before your age group is allowed to register is to keep an eye on your online patient profile and see if there is any date available and you can even choose the vaccine you want to be vaccinated with.

As some people are not unable to make their appointments for unseen reasons, others are able to take earlier slots, allowing for society to reach normality earlier than initially expected it.

Featured photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash

Hong Kong’s latest policy to domestic helpers sparked controversy

photo published by chinanews.com

First local cases of Covid-19 variant infection is found in Tung Chung community

From the conference of Food and Health Bureau of the Government of Hong Kong on April 30, Secretary Mr Chan Siu-chee revealed that certain cases of the virus have shown a chain of transmission of the mutated virus in the community.

She pointed out that in order to step up testing and combat this, all 370,000 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong are now required to undergo mandatory testing by May 9. (reported by wenweipo.com)

This is a result of the first case of infection with two mutated strains of the virus was identified in a community in Hong Kong on the 29th April 2021.

The infected is a foreign home servant, who had no travel history nor contact with confirmed cases, as the authorities said. A 11-month-old girl in her care was also confirmed to be infected.

Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau on April 15 held a press conference to announce the current situation of covid-19 and said that the proportion of imported cases was quite high, at nearly 80%, up considerably from about 67% back in March. (reported by sznews.com – Hong Kong Government’s latest measures on COVID-19 )

(video Link: http://t.cn/A6cn8XJg reported by ifeng.com)

Helpers required to get tests

The infection of the helper, 39, was forced on Thursday evening to be evacuated from the residential block in Tung Chung where she lives.

About 400 households of Tower 11 at Caribbean Coast are to be put under 21-day quarantine.

Conference – Food and Health Bureau, The Govemment of the Hong Kong Secial Administrative Region
https://ww2.sinaimg.cn/bmiddle/9ce4bf2fgy1gq1x7d44qnj21900u0qvg.jpg

Testing is now ongoing and the goverment’s measure sparks alarm

With many complaints of discrimination. It is disputed that the government enforce the foreign domestic helpers to take vaccination before their contracts could be renewed.

The Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said in his blog on May 2 that the purpose of requiring mandatory testing of all FDHs is to protect people. He hopes that FDHs and employers working in Hong Kong would understand the Government’s concern.

The mandatory testing measure is also applicable to other high-risk sectors and does not involve any racial or identity discrimination. (see https://www.cso.gov.hk/eng/blog/blog20210502.htm)

Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong – domestic helpers, “half of them line up for testing, half of them gathering as usual” – wenweipo.com
“Crowds of FDHs still gathered as usual, with some not wearing masks correctly” – wenweipo.com

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday, said the policy would be reviewed. She said the government had not decided yet on pushing ahead with its plan announced last week to have Hong Kong’s 370,000 foreign domestic workers vaccinated.

According to South China Morning Post (4 May 2021), she highlighted, “Mandatory testing is a key point of fighting against the epidemic.”

She mentioned that more than 100,000 FDHs had been tested over last weekend. In addition, tens of thousands of FDHs have take the vaccination.

The government have faith in accomplishing the mandatory testing to all FDHs in Hong Kong by May 9. (According to Chinanews.com, 4 May 2021)

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‘Covid passport’: What are the plans for the UK and Europe?

A “Covid passport” is likely to be in place before the summer, notably in the UK and France.

Governments in Europe are actively looking at how people could easily show their Covid status in order to access big events and, in the long-term, allow international travels in the best conditions.

What’s the situation in the UK?

A “Covid passport” would be a record of whether a person has been vaccinated, recently tested negative or has natural immunity after being ill with Covid-19.

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the UK are currently working together in order to agree on a “consistent approach.”

The government plans to test the idea of a covid passport to allow people to return to large events, including concerts, theatres, nightclubs and sports events in England.

“This Covid passport is unavoidable to come back to a normal life, to go back to crowded places or to travel without being scared to be infected or infect others.” says Wendy from London, 29.

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

During the Brit Awards at the London’s O2 Arena that will take place on 11 May, the 4000 people attending won’t have to wear a mask or be socially distanced but will have the obligation to present a negative Covid test result.

However, it has been announced that a Covid passport will never be required in settings such as essential shops or public transports.

What about the rest of Europe?

While a proof of a negative test is already required for international travels, Europpean officials have announced plans for an EU-wide “Green Digital Certificate” that would allow people to travel freely within the Europpean Union.

The holders of such certificate “should not be subjected to complimentary travel restrictions such as quarantining or Covid 19 tests” said the French parliament.

“All countries should try their maximum to agree among themselves and have a Covid passport that would be valid everywhere in the world.” points out Christophe from France, 59.

Photo by Krzysztof Hepner on Unsplash

At this moment, only Denmark has actively put in place their “Coronapass” since early April 2021. Danish people have to show the proof that they have either been vaccinated, immunised after being ill with Covid 19 or have been tested negative in the last 72 hours before being allowed in restaurants, bars, museums, stadiums, as well as hair salons or driving schools.

“The Covid passport won’t only be useful for leisure activities but will also make working life easier. For example, I’m a high school teacher and it’s a nightmare to work in those conditions. If such passports could apply to more places, that would make the teaching environment more efficient and comfortable to work in, just like it used to be.” Says Anastasia from France, 30.

Front image: COVID-19 Vaccination Passport, Photo by Lukas on Unsplash

Will Spain be the right holiday destination this summer?

With the lifting of the state of emergency on Sunday 9 May, it seems that the situation in Spain is gradually improving, reopening the possibilities of a near future with more and more travel and tourists.

Approaching the figure of 5.7 million vaccinated people who are now fully vaccinated, i.e. 12 % of the population so far, the restrictions imposed up to now throughout Spain may start to change, giving way to a new season of novelties both for the citizens of the country and for tourists from different parts of the world.

Pending the travel plans imposed by the UK on 17 May, countries will be divided into three categories, green, amber or red, depending on how the health emergency situation is developing within their borders.

Due to the high flow of British tourism to Spain every summer, it is expected that Spain will be one of the countries accepted for travel to from the end of May.

Therefore, if travel between the two countries is given the green light, or even if it is relegated to amber class, we can hopefully expect a summer of sun, surf and sand for all those interested in making the trip.

Video courtesy of
Mallorca – under the sun

Guangzhou: the disappearing old city

The game between commerce, history and culture

#1,A place in Liwan District, Guangzhou. On the right is the new building, and on the left is the old building in Guangzhou.

Nowadays, photos, videos and recordings allow people to keep their memories, but they do nothing but help them to make memories.
The world is developing so fast that more and more tall buildings are being built and replaced by the old buildings that people used to live in, which are not only a symbol of the end of the era, but also a reminder of that time. Today, more and more old houses are disappearing all over the world….

Recently, with the consent of the municipal government, Guangzhou Development and Reform Commission and the people’s Government of Liwan district jointly issued the development plan of baiyetan district (2020-2035).

#2,Outline of urban renewal special plan of Baiyun District, Guangzhou City.
Photo source (authorized) 广州市白云区城市更新专项规划大纲 (2020-2035年) (law168.com.cn)

The planning scheme of the project covers an area of 381.2 hectares, the regulatory detailed planning adjustment part covers an area of 213 hectares, and the updated implementation scheme covers an area of 84.8 hectares. Its main purpose is to demolish the old houses and build new high-rise buildings, office buildings, schools, squares and other public facilities.

#3These photos show pictures of a village in the city of Guangzhou (authorized) by Hunk

Why does the government want to change the city?

On January 27, 2021, the Guangzhou Municipal People’s government first proposed the requirements of introducing industry, education and medical treatment into urban village reconstruction enterprises. Its main aim is to improve people’s living conditions.

According to the previous renovation plan, it can bring a lot of benefits to the residents:

(1) Change of environment: planning and construction of urban villages with high starting point and high standard to realize the compatibility of residence and commercial office
(2) Changes in housing conditions: the old house is replaced by a new house with sufficient lighting, good ventilation, reasonable structure, complete water, electricity, gas, heating, cable TV and other living facilities.
(3) The change of real estate value: the residential houses are transformed into commercial houses with complete certificates. These properties can be self occupied, leased or sold to increase economic income.

Where is Guangzhou ?

Guangzhou is located in the north of the Pearl River Delta, adjacent to the South China Sea. It is one of the first batch of famous historical and cultural cities in China and the birthplace of Guangfu culture. It is rated as the world’s first tier city by GaWC, a global authority.

#3,GUANGZHOU

Despite the rapid development of society, new things emerge one after another. The history of Guangzhou, which has been cherished by the older generation for a long time, is fading away. The emotion endowed by time is so complex and extensive. Nostalgia always affects the souls of millions of people inexplicably. However, in the era of mechanization, especially in today’s digital era, with the continuous improvement of the quality of life, they can not escape the fate of extinction.

Different voices appear: “I don’t want them to disappear, they have the meaning of their existence… Records of people’s memory, youth”

巫小寒(Xiaohan Wu) is a photographer and grew up near the Redtory art design factory.

It used to be a cannery in Guangzhou. It had come to an end ten years ago, but later it transformed into a creative park through artistic transformation. The booming machines in the past have become an ornamental. The rusty walls of the old factory buildings have attracted many people to take photos.

#4. These are photos taken by Wu Xiaohan in redory art design factory (authorized)

However, it did not escape the fate of being torn down
Our city is getting bigger and bigger, but there is no real land left for artists.

#4,But in the end, it was demolished
Video source(Authorized):再见了,红砖厂!这一次真的要拆了…_广州 (sohu.com)

At the same time,Some buildings have disappeared in London

#5,Image by Secret London, under creative commons licence.

The much loved nightclub on Charing Cross Road closed forever in 2009. It was demolished soon after, the most high profile casualty of the Crossrail construction works.

Many local people in London miss the demolition of London Astoria

Architecture is the most unique part of each country’s culture, and it is the symbol and symbol of national culture. But with the development of the times, although people’s buildings are more and more close to the direction of modernisation, in the process of development, they gradually lose their own unique architectural culture, and those large residential buildings that use stone to varying degrees are gradually disappearing. These historic buildings, stone blocks and beams, seem to tell moving stories of the nation and family.

The game between commerce and history and culture continues to grow, which one do you think is most important?

Swiss Universities are partially reopening: What do students think?

Switzerland has further relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions, since infection and hospitalisation rates have become increasingly stable. Currently, the vaccination roll-out is speeding up to over 51,000 jabs a day.

With the easing of restrictions it is now possible, for university students in Switzerland to return to campus after a year of online teaching, following recent government approval.

But there are still some restrictions; no more than 50 people in a class and rooms should not be filled beyond a third of capacity, mask wearing and hygiene measures also still apply.

For its part, the University of Geneva said that it would stick to online learning until the end of the spring semester on May 28, as it had announced earlier. This is to give stability to students and professors during what has been a very unpredictable time.

Lana studying remotely from home
photo credit: Erin Kalejs

Many other Swiss universities have now confirmed that they will either go back to some face to face teaching within the next few weeks or that they will remain online for the rest of the semester.

Switzerland is not the only country that has been keeping its university campuses shut during the pandemic. Universities in neighbouring countries France, Germany and Italy are also closed for on-campus teaching. 

University students in England will be allowed to return to face-to-face teaching from May 17 “at the earliest”.

Lana, a 19 year old university student studying in Geneva shared her thoughts and concerns on returning to in person learning. Listen to the audio interview below to find out what she said.

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Featured image by Mira Kireeva on Unsplash

The Indian Variant likely to be declared ‘Variant of Concern’

The Indian Variant (B.1.617) that was first detected within the UK on the 22nd February 2021, is likely to be considered a ‘Variant of Concern’ according to reports.

Currently, The Indian Variant has over 400 cases across the UK, and makes up 10% of Covid cases in London and despite numbers being relatively low, its status as ‘Variant under Investigation’ is highly likely to be changed on Friday

If changed to a ‘Variant of Concern’, a response from PHE (Public Health England) would suggest ordering surge testing, similar to the South African variant.

The strain – B1.617.2 – is one of three related variants first seen in India which have been detected in the UK and designated “under investigation” by PHE.

The other two are the B1.617.1 and B1.617.3.

The most recent data by PHE, confirm 193 cases of the B1617.1 variant, up by 61 since the last update on April 21.

The B1.617.2 variant shows 202 cases, and the B1.617.3 variant shows just five cases.

According to internal documents from PHE, dated to May 5 and seen by The Guardian, the ongoing risk to public health from the variant subtype B1617.2 is “high”.

Dr Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist and senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, told The Guardian that “at the current doubling rate (B1617.2) could easily become dominant in London by the end of May or early June”.

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Featured image: Photo by Giacomo Carra on Unsplash

The USA Outlook On The COVID Situation

According to the American Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), the UK mutant virus is expected to rise again in May in the USA. The US announced in May that only controlling vaccines and Covid-19 could reduce a further increase but this may not kick in until next month. The United States in nervous about the virus from Britain rising again in May. The CDC predicted fewer confirmed cases of coronavirus in July in line with vaccinations being rolled out. The British mutant virus has been detected in the United States as B.1.1.7.

SCREENSHOT CNBC NEWS

Meanwhile, they’ve pinned this on Twitter and strongly encouraged getting a vaccine.

CDC TWEET

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