(WORLDWIDE) #Coronavirus Press Report: Recognising #PressFreedom day During the #Pandemic and ‘ Free-Flow ‘ of information across the world and governments are looking to clamp down on any #truths that may lead to them being shown- up as providing mis-information to the public at large #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – May.04: During the face of a global pandemic, there is an urgent need for reporting relating to the spread of the #coronavirus and how governments are responding. But it is in times of crisis that the civil liberties we value most are put to the test—and that is exactly what is happening now as governments around the world clamp down on journalism and stifle the free flow of critical information:

With so little currently known about the novel coronavirus, governments around the world have seized the opportunity to control the narrative around the virus and their responses to it. In countries including Algeria, Azerbaijan, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Palestine, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, and more, authorities have banned individuals and journalists from sharing false or misleading information about the coronavirus.

Criminalizing “false information,” however, gives the party in control of law enforcement the power to define what information is “true” or “correct.” And such laws also give the government and the power to censor, detain, arrest, and prosecute those who share information that doesn’t align with the official state narrative.

This is already happening. In Cambodia, police have arrested at least 17 people for spreading “false information” about coronavirus—including four members of the opposition political party, all of whom remain in detention, and a teenage girl expressing fears on social media about the  rumored spread of the virus at her school.

In Turkey, authorities have detained people for making “unfounded” postings on social media criticizing the Turkish government’s response to the pandemic and suggesting that the coronavirus was spreading widely in the country—even though, according to independent reporting, this is exactly the case.

Police in Indian-administered Kashmir have detained journalists and threatened them with prosecution. The detained journalists had posted on social media about coronavirus, and about government censorship and militancy in Kashmir.

Even Puerto Rico, a United States territory that—like the fifty states—is bound by the free speech protections enshrined in the Constitution, has enacted a plainly unconstitutional law prohibiting, in certain circumstances, the spread of some types of “false information” related to the government’s response to the virus.

But as the world battles a novel and little-understood virus threatening lives and livelihoods around the globe, ensuring the free flow of information is more important now than ever. Who knows how the course of the virus could have been different if China had not silenced Wuhan Doctor Li Wenliang when he sought to sound the alarm about the new coronavirus during its earliest days, instead of silencing him with accusations of spreading false rumors?  

By embracing China’s approach, governments are choosing to censor, instead of foster, reporting about how the crisis is unfolding. The threat of interrogation, detention, and arrest chills journalists, political activists, and individuals from sharing their experiences, investigating official actions, or challenging the government’s narrative.

To be sure, governments play a critical role in battling the global pandemic—and that includes by acting as sources of important information. But that does not mean that governments should anoint themselves the sole arbiters of truth and falsity, and strip individuals’ rights to investigate the government’s claims, question the official narrative, and share their research, observations, or experiences.  

After all, the very premise of “false news” laws—that there always exists an identifiable, objective “truth”—is often hollow. Particularly in this quickly evolving crisis, even the most well-intentioned parties’ understandings of the virus are changing rapidly. Only two months ago, the U.S. government was stating that face masks were not effective and instructing people not to wear them—but today, the opposite guidance is in effect (and has been in some other countries for some time now).

Moreover, the United States Supreme Court has made clear that even intentionally false speech cannot be criminalized where that speech does not cause material, provable harm. Allowing the government to police individuals’ speech for truth or falsity would simply be too great a burden on the right to speak free from government scrutiny. “Our constitutional tradition stands against the idea that we need Oceania’s Ministry of Truth.”

Although international human rights law (namely, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or ICCPR) allows for certain restrictions on free expression—provided by law and deemed necessary—for the protection of national security, public health, public order, or morals, a 2017 joint declaration of special mandates unequivocally opposed general prohibitions on fake news:

General prohibitions on the dissemination of information based on vague and ambiguous ideas, including “false news” or “non-objective information,” are incompatible with international standards for restrictions on freedom of expression . . . and should be abolished.

And in a new report on COVID-19 and freedom of expression, David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, acknowledged the harms that mis- and disinformation poses in a pandemic, noted the elusiveness of any singular definition of disinformation, and re-emphasized the importance of countering untruths. But the Special Rapporteur warned against laws aimed at punishing false information, cautioning:

Measures to combat disinformation must never prevent journalists and media actors from carrying out their work or lead to content being unduly blocked on the Internet. . . . Vague prohibitions of disinformation effectively empower government officials with the ability to determine the truthfulness or falsity of content in the public and political domain.

As we observe World Press Freedom Day and celebrate the work of the press to hold governments accountable, we must also protect the ability of journalists, activists, and citizens to speak out without fear that they will be arrested or imprisoned for the information they share.

#AceNewsDesk report ……………Published May 04, 2020 at 08:02PM
Read more on eff.org

#eff, #electronic-frontier-foundation, #internet, #security, #web

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(NEW YORK STATE) #Coronavirus Report: Gov.Cuomo Orders Nursing Homes to accept infected patients and allows employees infected with #coronavirus to continue to work and to treat residents at the Hornell Gardens facil ity in rural Steuben County, according to a New York Post report #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Apr.30: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come under increasing scrutiny for a March 25 directive ordering nursing homes to accept #coronavirus patients: The text of the directive stated (original emphasis): “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalised resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for #COVID19 prior to admission or readmission.”

#Coronavirus Report: Gov.Cuomo orders nursing home to take infected patients after recently allowing employees to work and treat residents with #cornavirus at Hornell Gardens

“Cuomo has since said that nursing homes could tell the state Department of Public Health they could not accept such patients, or transfer them to other facilities: However, some homes have said that the state was unresponsive when they reached out, and that they felt intense pressure to accept the patients — despite the unique risk coronavirus generally poses to elderly people.”

The state Health Department allowed nurses and other staff who tested positive for the coronavirus to continue treating COVID-19 patients at an upstate nursing home, The Post has learned: State officials signed off on the move during an April 10 conference call that excluded local officials from Steuben County, who protested the move, according to a document provided by the county government’s top administrator, Jack Wheeler. At least 15 people have died at the Hornell Gardens nursing home in the tiny town of Hornell since the outbreak, according to county tallies. State records show just seven deaths across the county and include no data about this home.

“Roughly one third of the staff and residents at the home have contracted the virus, the New York Post added.”

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: Apr.30: 2020:

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#pandemic

(LONDON) #Coronavirus Report: Chief Medical Officer on Monday evening during daily briefing made reference to what appears to be ‘ Kawasaki Disease ‘ a severe inflammatory disease, among infants who are arriving in hospital with high fevers and swollen arteries but he added its being kept under review #AceHealthDesk says always keep checking this site regularly for more information we will update as known Be Safe God Bless 🙏’s

#AceHealthReport – Apr.28: Parents should be vigilant about a severe inflammatory disease among infants that some medics fear may have a link to COVID-19, a junior British interior minister said on Tuesday: “It demonstrates just how fast moving this virus is and how unprecedented it is in its effect,” Victoria Atkins told Sky News:

#Coronavirus Report: UK tells parents: be vigilant on child inflammatory disease that is being kept under review please read advice here: Coronavirus in children – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-in-children/

“The chief medical officer has said that it’s extremely rare but we must all be watching very carefully through this virus,” she said: Italian and British medical experts are investigating a possible link between the coronavirus pandemic and clusters of what appears to be Kawasaki disease, a severe inflammatory disease, among infants who are arriving in hospital with high fevers and swollen arteries:

#AceHealthDesk report ……………Published: Apr.28: 2020:

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(LONDON) #Coronavirus 5G Report: An array of conspiracy theories linking the roll-out of the cutting-edge telecommunications technology with the #coronavirus #pandemic has recently been spreading online, and an audio-recording first published on YouTube on Mar.28: after fact checking belonged to Pastor Jonathon James of Light City Christian Ministries.” #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Apr.24: An array of conspiracy theories linking the roll-out of the cutting-edge telecommunications technology with the #coronavirus #pandemic has recently been spreading online, despite efforts by both governments and tech giants to stop the dissemination of false information about the disease: “The identity of a mysterious “former Vodafone boss”, the author of a 5G and coronavirus-related theory that went viral, has been revealed by a joint investigation of the fact-checking startup Logically and The Guardian:

Coronavirus 5G Report: Fact-checking start-up Logically and The Guardian Joint Investigation reveals YouTube audio belonged to ex-Vodaphone boss UK Pastor Jonathon James of Light City Christian Ministries.” That spread fake-news about disease

Read More: Published: Apr.24: 2020: https://t.co/IuyZUw9o8p

Their collaboration revealed that the voice in an audio recording, which was first published on YouTube on 28 March but later spread across the Internet, belonged to UK Pastor Jonathon James of Light City Christian Ministries.” In the audio recording, Jonathon James, who confirmed to The Guardian that he had made it, however, presents himself as a former “head of the largest business unit at Vodafone”. His LinkedIn profile indicates that he worked as a “Large Enterprise Acquisition Sector Head” at Vodafone between 2014 and 2015, but the company told Logically that the pastor had held “a relatively junior sales position in 2014”, which he left “following sub-par performance” a year later – before the company started considering deploying 5G networks in the UK: “The pastor claimed in the recording, citing his alleged deep experience in the telecommunications industry, that 5G waves have a harmful impact on the human body, despite numerous watchdogs confirming the technology’s safety. In addition, Jonathon James claimed that the disease and deaths caused by the coronavirus infection were the result of 5G’s influence.”

” Such theories have already led to a series of acts of vandalism, such as arsons, in the UK, which has resulted in severe damage to telecommunications equipment – albeit in some cases not necessarily linked to the 5G rollout. In light of these events, British authorities have called on people not to trust such claims about 5G, calling them “fake” and outright “dangerous”. “

#AceNewsDesk report……………..Published: Apr.24: 2020:

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(LONDON) #Coronavirus Business Report: Institute of Fiscal Studies says that UK’s budget deficit is set to see “an absolutely colossal increase to a level not seen in peacetime”, the director Paul Johnson said these were figures before the storm but estimate them at a deficit £260-billion treasury proposes issuing £180-billion worth of government bonds, known as gilts, in the May-to-July period, more than originally intended in those months #AceFinanceDesk report

#AceFinanceReport – Apr.24: The Office for National Statistics, which released those figures, said they did not capture the big spending announced by the government to cope with the virus: The economic impact of coronavirus was likely to push the deficit to as high as £260-billion Paul Johnson told the BBC: He was speaking after latest figures showed that the deficit hit £48.7-billion in the 2019-20 financial year: But Mr Johnson said those figures were “the numbers before the storm”……..The deficit last year – the gap between the government’s income and its expenditure – was £9.3-billion higher than in the 2018-19 financial year and equivalent to 2.2% of GDP:

#Coronavirus Report: UK borrowing to see ‘colossal increase’ to fight virus during period May – July of £180-billion BBC Business reports

“The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is expected to have a significant impact on the UK public sector finances,” it added: “These effects will arise from both the introduction of public health measures and from new government policies to support businesses and individuals.”…………………..The ONS said the full effects of coronavirus on the public finances would become clearer in the coming months.

Mr Johnson told the BBC’s Today programme that there was still “a huge amount of uncertainty” surrounding the economic impact of the virus: However, the government had announced tax cuts and spending increases worth £100-billion so the effect was “likely to dwarf the record that we saw during the financial crisis”.

Mr Johnson said the economy was unlikely to recover quickly afterwards and would remain “smaller than it otherwise would have been”. He added that tax rises and a growing deficit were the likely outcome: “I would be astonished if in a couple of years the economy was back where it would have been if it [the virus] had never happened,” he said: Meanwhile, a closely watched survey of UK businesses has indicated that the economic impact has been even worse than feared:

The IHS Markit/CIPS flash UK composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which measures activity in the services and manufacturing sectors, fell to a new record low of 12.9 in April, down from 36 in March: Any reading below 50 indicates contraction. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a figure of 31.4: “The dire survey readings will inevitably raise questions about the cost of the lockdown and how long current containment measures will last,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, adding that the figures pointed to a quarter-on-quarter economic contraction of at least 7%.

In another development, the Treasury has announced that it is speeding up its plans to raise money in order to cover the cost of its coronavirus measures: It will now be issuing £180-billion worth of government bonds, known as gilts, in the May-to-July period, more than originally intended in those months: “The temporary and immediate nature of the unprecedented support announced for people and businesses means the government expects that a significantly higher proportion of total gilt sales in 2020-21 will take place in the first four months of the financial year, in order to meet the immediate financing needs resulting from Covid-19,” the Treasury said: “This higher volume of issuance is not expected to be required across the remainder of the financial year.”

#AceFinanceDesk report …………..Published: Apr.24: 2020:

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(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) #Coronavirus First Case Report: LA Times has reported on Wednesday the ‘ first known death from #coronavirus ‘ that happened in early February whose brother said she was healthy and did not smoke but was a frequent world traveller #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Apr.23: A seemingly healthy 57-year-old Bay Area woman who “suddenly died” in early February has now become the first known US death related to #coronavirus the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday: Patricia Dowd, who worked as a manager for a semiconductor company, “exercised routinely, watched her diet and took no medication,” the newspaper reported:

#Coronavirus Report: A seemingly healthy woman’s sudden death is now the first known US coronavirus-related fatality, LA Times reports

Rick Cabello, Dowd’s older brother, told CNN she didn’t smoke and was in good health: “She was an athlete in her high school days, she was always active,” Cabello said. Her sudden death was a shock to family members: They all believed it was a heart attack, Cabello said.

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said the deaths of three people in the county — one Feb. 6, another Feb. 17, and a third March 6 — were evidence that the novel coronavirus arrived in the Bay Area far earlier than expected and spread. Previously, the first documented fatality was outside Seattle on Feb. 29. The report came after Santa Clara County announced Tuesday that tissue samples confirmed two people who had died in early February tested positive for coronavirus: One victim, who the county said died on February 6, was described as a 57-year-old woman while the other was a 67-year-old man who died on February 17. The county did not provide any more details: In a Wednesday news conference, Santa Clara County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody said neither case had recent travel history that would have exposed them to the virus, and officials are presuming both cases represent community transmission.

Before Dowd was found dead on February 6, “she had flu-like symptoms for a few days, then appeared to recover,” the Los Angeles Times reported: Five days before she died, Dowd called her brother to tell him she couldn’t make it to a family visit in Stockton, California: “She wasn’t feeling well, which was very unusual for her,” Cabello said. “I remember her specifically saying ‘I’m not feeling well,'” he added.

The Los Angeles Times reported that she had cancelled plans to go a weekend funeral: Dowd started working from home as her condition improved and had been in touch with a colleague around 8 a.m. on the day of her death. She was found dead about two hours later, according to the Los Angeles Times: Dowd was a frequent world traveler, her brother said.

A family member told the Los Angeles Times she had planned to travel to China later this year and went abroad “multiple times a year to different global locations.” The Los Angeles Times also reported that Dowd had a history of foreign travel, as did her co-workers at Lam Research: Dowd was “hardworking, loyal, and caring,” Cabello told the Los AngelesTimes: “She was the energy person in her large network of friends,” her brother said. “She was everybody’s rock.”

In a tribute wall set up for Patricia Dowd by the Cusimano Family Colonial Mortuary, a coworker wrote, “I’ll always remember the kindness and generosity of her spirit: She was genuinely caring and had an amazing energy.”

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: Apr.23: 2020:

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(WASHINGTON) #Coronavirus CDC Report: Announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in two pet cats in New York State both had mild respiratory illness and expected to make a full recovery: No persons were found to be infected in the household #AceHealthDesk reports

#AceHealthReport – Apr.22: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) today announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in two pet cats. These are the first pets in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2.

#Coronavirus Report: Two pet cats have tested positive for #COVID19 in New York State CDC.Gov/

At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended: Should other animals be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States, USDA will post the findings. State animal health and public health officials will take the lead in making determinations about whether animals should be tested for SARS-CoV-2.

SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that had close contact with a person with #COVID19: At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended: In the NY cases announced today, a veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs. No individuals in the household were confirmed to be ill with COVID-19:

The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home: Samples from the second cat were taken after it showed signs of respiratory illness: The owner of the cat tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the cat showing signs.
Another cat in the household has shown no signs of illness: Both cats tested presumptive positive for SARS-CoV-2 at a private veterinary laboratory, which then reported the results to state and federal officials.

The confirmatory testing was conducted at NVSL and included collection of additional samples: NVSL serves as an international reference laboratory and provides expertise and guidance on diagnostic techniques, as well as confirmatory testing for foreign and emerging animal diseases: Such testing is required for certain animal diseases in the U.S. in order to comply with national and international reporting procedures.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) considers SARS-CoV-2 an emerging disease, and therefore USDA must report confirmed U.S. animal infections to the OIE: Public health officials are still learning about SARS-CoV-2, but there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States.

#AceHealthDesk report ……………Published: Apr 22, 2020 at 19:26: Read Full CDC Report Here:

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