(CAIRO, Egypt.) #Coronavirus FreeSpeech Report: Its not just journalists that have to fear el-Sisi rule in the country but EFF has been monitoring latest developments and since the #pandemic bloggers and activists trying to get the #truth have been harassed, detained, arrested and jailed without trial as Supreme Council for Media Regulation has banned the publishing of any data that contradicts the Ministry of Health’s official data #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.04: For years, EFF has been monitoring a dangerous situation in Egypt: journalists, bloggers, and activists have been harassed, detained, arrested, and jailed, sometimes without trial, in increasing numbers by the Sisi regime: Since the #COVID19 pandemic began, these incidents have skyrocketed, affecting free expression both online and offline: 

Egypt has confirmed 1,566 new coronavirus cases and 83 new deaths today, raising the country’s total to 66,754 with 2,872 confirmed deaths: DataTrackers Covid19 Coronavirus Updates, [Jun 30, 2020 at 06:09] https://t.me/datatrackers/19457: 

Despite the WHO’S dire warning of the Middle East’s “critical threshold”, Egypt has restarted international flights and reopened major tourist attractions including the Great Pyramids of Giza after more than three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic Reuters reports: 
The country closed its airports to scheduled international flights and shut famous historical sites in mid-March as the government looked to curb the spread of the virus 12.41am BST: The Middle East has recorded a million cases of Covid-19, and is at a “critical threshold”, the World Health Organisation has warned: https://clck.ru/PPQUT 

#Coronavirus Report: Egypt’s    Crackdown on ‘ Free Expression Will Cost Lives ‘ during the #pandemic and revealing the #Truth including number of cases, deaths or situation is banned: 

As we’ve said before, this crisis means it is more important than ever for individuals to be able to speak out and share information with one another online: Free expression and access to information are particularly critical under authoritarian rulers and governments that dismiss or distort scientific data: But at a time when true information about the pandemic may save lives, instead, the Egyptian government has expelled journalists from the country for their reporting on the pandemic, and arrested otherson spurious charges for seeking information about prison conditions. Shortly after the coronavirus crisis began, a reporter for The Guardian was deported, while a reporter for the The New York Times was issued a warning.. Just last week the editor of Al Manassa, Nora Younis, was arrested on cybercrime charges (and later released). And the Committee to Protect Journalists reported today that at least four journalists arrested during the pandemic remain imprisoned. 

Social media is also being monitored more closely than ever, with disastrous results: the Supreme Council for Media Regulation has banned the publishing of any data that contradicts the Ministry of Health’s official data. It has sent warning letters to news websites and social networks’ accounts it claims are sharing false news, and has arrested individuals for posting about the virus. Claiming national security interests, the far-reaching ban, which also limits the use of pseudonyms by journalists and criminalizes discussion of other “sensitive” topics, such as Libya, is being seen (rightfully) as censorship across the country. At a moment when obtaining true information is extremely important, the fact that Egypt’s government is increasing its attack on free expression is especially dangerous.

The government’s attacks on expression aren’t only damaging free speech online: rather than limiting the number of individuals in prison who are potentially exposed to the virus, Egyptian police have made matters worse, by harassing, beating, and even arresting protestors who are demanding the release of prisoners in dangerously overcrowded cells or simply ask for information on their arrested loved ones. Just last week, the family of Alaa Abd El Fattah, a leading Egyptian coder, blogger and activist who we’ve profiled in our Offline campaignwas attacked by police while protesting in front of Tora Prison. The next day, Alaa’s sister, Sanaa Seif, was forced into an unmarked car in front of the Prosecutor-General’s office as she arrived to submit a complaint regarding the assault and Alaa’s detention. She is now being held in pre-trial detention on charges of “broadcast[ing] fake news and rumors about the country’s deteriorating health conditions and the spread of the coronavirus in prisons” on Facebook, among others—according to police, for a fifteen day period, though there is no way to know for sure that it will end then. 

All of these actions put the health and safety of the Egyptian population at risk: We join the international coalition of human rights and civil liberties organizations demanding both Alaa and Sanaa be released, and asking Egypt’s government to immediately halt its assault on free speech and free expression. We must lift up the voices of those who are being silenced to ensure the safety of everyone throughout the country. 

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: July.04:2020: 

(U.K.) #Coronavirus Care Homes Report: Residents in homes are being asked to pay over£100.00 extra in weekly fees after having thousands per week for years and then when this #pandemic hits they wont pay for PPE for their workers instead they want the taxpayers to pick up the bill ….disgraceful #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – June.08: Editor says this truly depends on individual homes and their management as such and my personal research as a carer provides a very different picture from here in West Midlands to North West as in ……One home has PPE and cares for its workers and another does not and these are Private homes and received huge fees in many cases and will not now payout and these are my findings and discussions with two care workers:
As regards other comments I have dealt with Age U.K. who both collect donations from the public purse as a corporation and also the public more widely and also charge up to £20.00 per hour for any care in the community such as shopping or even repairs to their home. This needs to be over hauled and an umbrella provided from the NHS to cover all aspects of social care in homes and also in the community and the sooner the better:

#Coronavirus Report: Residents of For-Profit Care Homes Foot £100 Extra in Weekly Fees to Cover Rising #Coronavirus Costs:

This is the report ………….Residents of some care homes in Britain are being asked to pay over £100 extra in weekly fees in order to cover rising costs of the #coronavirus #pandemic: According to Age UK, a leading charity for elderly people, residents who have been fronting their own fees have seen costs increase to pay for personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as rising staff costs:

One of the charity directors, Caroline Abrahams, said on Saturday that older people and their families have “been through the mill” during the pandemic as 1 in 3 care homes in the UK have seen coronavirus outbreaks:

“It is adding insult to injury that after going through so much, some residents who pay for their own care are now facing a big extra bill – on top of already expensive fees,” she said.

Abrahams called on the government to take action and cover the additional costs, warning that some homes are at a cliff-edge and risk having to close, leaving residents homeless: The government has so far given £600 million worth of funds to infection control in care homes, with an additional £3.2 billion for other council services.

Cos it’s the weekend it isn’t up on our website yet but will be Monday I expect. Meanwhile here’s an excerpt pic.twitter.com/NbttRQYXE9

— Caroline Abrahams (@Car_Abrahams) June 6, 2020

Those who self-fund their stay have had to pay extra costs than those being supported by local authorities, providing an effective subsidy to the system for years: According to Age UK, these residents pay around £850 a week on average. These already high costs have now surged by 15% as a result of spending introduced to combat the pandemic: Residential homes aren’t just facing rising costs due to the recruitment of extra agency staff when regular staff are off, but the increased spending on PPE and sanitising equipment.

The total number of homes experiencing rising costs of self-funding residents is currently not known: Of the 400,000 residents in England living in care homes, around 167,000 are self-funding, with an extra 45,000 partly-funding their stay.

A Private Problem?

Care homes in the United Kingdom have been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic: As of May, more than 20,000 residents have died as a result of the pandemic, according to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), while the national death tolls stand at 40,261 from Saturday.

Care homes in the United Kingdom do not fall under the country’s National Health Service (NHS) as a public provision but are instead owned privately:

In April, Age UK said that there was a “degree of hesitation” over who bears responsibility for the crisis due to their private status. Caroline Abrahams explained that while care homes fall outside of the NHS, they are not “part of the community” either………….Age UK has clarified that it does not blame individual care homes for the funding crisis, however.

A report released in May by think-tank Common Weal outlined that privatisation of care facilities in Scotland – where more than half of Covid-19 deaths have been counted, has “minimised” the necessary medical services and led to a decline in capacity:

Director Robin McAlpine said the report “makes painful reading”.

“But the problem is more fundamental. Scotland’s care sector is almost all privatised and is run largely like a property speculation industry, which has minimised the more expensive medical services it provides”.

In a survey by Community Care in April 2011, two-thirds of adult social care workers said that the quality of adult care has declined since the widespread outsourcing since the 1990s to private providers:

#AceHealthDesk report ………….Published: June.08: 2020:

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(LONDON) #Coronavirus Latest Report: 9am on 1 June, there have been 4,484,340 tests, with 128,437 tests on 31 May: 276,332 people have tested positive: As of 5pm on 31 May, of those tested positive in the UK, 39,045 have died including all deaths in all settings not just in hospitals @DHSCgovuk June.02: @ONS reports lowest levels in England and Wales since March, figures show #AceHealthDesk reports

#AceHealthReport – June.02: Editor says as of June.01: these are the number of tests carried out and those that were tested positive and sadly the number of deaths up to and including 17:00hrs on 31:May: God Bless Friends, Followers & Readers 🙏’s 

#Coronavirus Report: Number of #COVID19 cases and risk in the UK: As of June.01:

The number of people dying each week linked to #coronavirus has dropped to its lowest levels in England and Wales since March, figures show: The Office for National Statistics review of death certificates showed 2,589 cases where the virus was mentioned in the week ending 22 May: Overall there were nearly 12,300 deaths in that week – 2,300 more than normal at this time of the year: At the peak of the #pandemic double the number were dying than expected.

Overall, there have been 286,700 deaths this year – 51,400 above what would be expected: Some 43,800 have been attributed to coronavirus.

Nick Stripe, of the ONS, said despite the number of overall deaths falling, we were effectively seeing the same number of deaths we would expect in winter: He also said there were considerable regional variations with the north east currently seeing the highest rates of excess deaths.

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: June.02: 2020: 

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Editor says ……..Are we witnessing the media pulling apart the fabric of society just to get a story ?

The #pandemic has opened up a bio-based-weapon that can be used to politicise a story on peoples heartache over the death of a loved or to enable ‘ hard hearted ‘ journalists who want the story first to leave no stone unturned even if their intentions are not honourable……

So what of #truth this concept that alludes the media just to create sensationalism and lead people like the shepherd …herding their flock to the edge of the cliff and offering advice of what to do when the hit the bottom ….followed by blaming their stupidly of being lemmings ……

The news should be informative and place before its readers …advice and guidance to enable the public to become to form an opinion and not to place before their audience a convoluted message of misleading information ..that neither informs or provides anything but hollow words ……

People deserve better than the sum of what the media call news …..and we need to become the purveyors of #truth and not publish as bloggers what they wheel out and call the daily news …….

Be safe my friends, followers and readers God Bless 🙏’s

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(LONDON) #Coronavirus Report: Economy is unlikely to have a quick bounce back as it recovers from its #pandemic shutdown which could have wiped more than 30% off output last month, the head of the country’s b udget forecasting office said on Sunday but what protections do employers and employees have to adhere to in the workplace under change of law #AceHealthDesk reports

#AceHealthReport – May.17: “Robert Chote, chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), said April was probably the bottom of the crash as the government is now moving to gradually ease its lockdown restrictions.” Reuters Business reports: https://t.co/ev8JYUOhIE

#Coronavirus Report: Returning to work as lockdown lifted but after the law was changed to allow extra powers during the #pandemic what does this mean to employers and employees Now !

Published Monday, May 11, 2020: By House of Common Law

Has the law changed?

No, and the Prime Minister’s announcement does not indicate that there will be fundamental changes to the law at this stage.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, and the equivalent devolved legislation, make it an offence for a person to leave or be out of their home without a “reasonable excuse”. It is already a reasonable excuse to go to work if work cannot be done from home. This is not limited to ‘key workers’.

The Regulations also require businesses in certain sectors to close their premises except for certain activities. The Prime Minister did not suggest any immediate lifting of these restrictions, although he said shops may open in June and parts of the hospitality industry may open in July 2020.

What health and safety measures must employers take?

Employers already have a range of health and safety obligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and secondary legislation.

The Government guidance will not take the place of legislation. It would simply give guidance to employers on how they can fulfil their health and safety obligations in the context of Covid-19. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) notes that employers who follow guidance will “normally be doing enough to comply with the law.” However, it is ultimately for employers to assess and comply with their legal duties.

Health and safety legislation sets out a range of obligations that are relevant in the context of Covid-19. These include:

  • Carrying out risk assessments for coronavirus-related risks;
  • Setting up safe systems of work, informed by the risk assessment;
  • Providing information about health and safety risks;
  • Cleaning and ventilating the workplace;
  • Preventing, or adequately controlling, exposure to infectious diseases or, failing that, providing suitable PPE.

A number of organisations have published guidance on health and safety and returning to work, including Cloisters chambers and the TUC. Maternity Action has also published guidance on the specific protections for pregnant workers.

Can workers refuse to go to work?

All workers have an obligation to follow lawful and reasonable instructions given by their employers. However, under Employment Rights Act 1996an employee cannot suffer a detriment (e.g. loss of pay) or be dismissed if they leave or refuse to attend the workplace because they believe that there is a serious and imminent danger that they cannot reasonably avoid. Employees are also protected if they take reasonable steps to protect themselves or others from imminent danger.

The term ‘danger’ has been interpreted broadly. What matters is whether the employee reasonably believed there was a danger, regardless of whether the employer disagreed. An employee’s right to take steps to protect ‘others’ is not limited to other workers.

Whether, in the current context, an employee could refuse to attend the workplace will depend on the facts. An Employment Tribunal would be likely to give due weight to an employer complying with Government health and safety guidance. It is also possible that other factors, such the risk from taking public transport or a worker living with clinically vulnerable people, could be relevant.

Barristers including Schona Jolly QC, Stuart Brittenden and Gus Bakerhave written about how these rules could apply in the context of Covid-19.

What about workers with caring responsibilities?

The Prime Minister said that pupils might be able to begin returning to school from June. He suggested the process will be phased, with certain year groups restarting school before others.

There is no statutory right for workers to refuse to go to work because of caring responsibilities. While employees do have a right to a ‘reasonable amount’ of time off for dependents, this is only available for unexpected emergencies and is unpaid. It may be possible for workers in this position to ask to be furloughed or to take annual leave. As childcare responsibilities disproportionately fall on women, there may also be questions about indirect sex discrimination.

Barrister Rachel Crasnow QC has written about what considerations may need to be made for working parents.

Can employers keep workers on furlough?

While the Prime Minister has said that workers should be “encouraged” to go to work he did not suggest that the rules on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme have changed. Under the CJRS, employers can furlough workers and claim for 80% of their wages (up to £2,500 per month) from HMRC. The Scheme is set to last until at least the end of June 2020. Employers can furlough employees because of a “circumstance arising as a result of coronavirus”.

Employers whose work has reduced may choose to keep some or all of its workforce on furlough. However, this is a decision for the employer. An employer can instruct a worker to return to work provided it is in accordance with the employment contract and any furlough agreement.

#AceHealthDesk report ………….Published: May.17: 2020:

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(CINCINNATI) CBP Report: Agents seized a shipment of ‘ disinfecting wipes ‘ from Canada to a doctor to Barbados that smugglers that contained Marijuana #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – May.11: As the #Coronavirus continues to affect people’s lives, more and more people are purchasing cleaning supplies online: However, smugglers are using this #pandemic to conceal nefarious activities:

CBP Report: Officers in Cincinnati Seize Disinfecting Wipes Containing 4Lbs of Marijuana

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati seized a shipment of disinfecting wipes that contained a little bit more than what you can find on your store shelf: On May 6, 2020 CBP Officers inspected a shipment arriving from Canada and heading to a doctor in Barbados: Officers held the package for inspection based on their experience, x-ray anomalies and a drug detector canine alerted to the parcel. Inside officers found disinfecting wipe canisters and other cleaning products. However, inside those canisters and other packages was four pounds of Marijuana:

“The dedication and vigilance of our officers at our express consignment facilities continues to prevent a substantial amount of drugs from reaching their destination,” said Richard Gillespie, Port Director, Cincinnati: “This is another excellent example of what U.S. Customs and Border Protection does each and every day.”

CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality:

CBP seized an average of 3,707 pounds of illicit narcotics every day during 2019 across the United States:

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: May.11: 2020:

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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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(AUSTRALIA) #Coronavirus Business Report: #Facebook and #Google to be forced to share advertising revenue with media companies and mandatory code will be developed by ACCC to create a level playing field according to Josh Frydenberg #AceFinanceDesk report

#AceFinanceReport – Apr.21: Mandatory code being developed by ACCC will create ‘level playing field’ in media landscape, Josh Frydenberg says Facebook and Google will be forced to share advertising revenue with Australian media companies after the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, instructed the competition watchdog to develop a mandatory code of conduct for the digital giants amid a steep decline in advertising brought on by the #coronavirus #pandemic 

In its response to the landmark digital platforms inquiry in December, the federal government asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to develop a code between media companies and digital platforms including Google and Facebook: Read More Here: https://t.me/the_guardian_news/146779

The Guardian news, [Apr 19, 2020 at 18:50]

#AceFinanceDesk report ………………..Published: Apr.21: 2020: 

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(U.K.) #Coronavirus Report: Government says all ‘ Essential Businesses ‘ can remain open and all the rest must close, so is makeup and perfume essential and especially when staff at Boots told BBC they feel unsafe at work when the company has reopened the aisles and allowed more customers into the st ore: Boots denies it is doing anything wrong #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Apr.02: Boots staff have told the BBC they feel “unsafe” at work as customers continue to browse for hair dye and fake tan despite the #coronavirus #pandemic: Staff said they were frustrated some branches had reopened beauty aisles and lifted limits on the number of shoppers allowed inside at once: Some stores were still waiting for visors, face masks and gloves for pharmacy workers, others said: Boots said it was doing whatever it could to protect its staff:

#Coronavirus Report: Boots staff feel ‘unsafe’ as shoppers still browse Make-up as beauty aisles over confusion on what is essential items ?

Shoppers confused over what are ‘essential items’

‘No one needs to buy fragrance’

One staff member who works on the pharmacy at a branch in south-west England told the BBC she was wearing her own gloves to work because her team had not been provided with any to use during shifts:

Her store had initially closed off aisles containing non-essential products and limited the number of customers allowed in – but she said those measures were lifted this week with no explanation given to staff on the shop floor. “The doors are just open and anyone can wander in – people are looking at makeup, wandering around,” she said: She said the pharmacy was “overwhelmed” and that the plastic screens placed between staff and customers were “small” and “pointless”

Like other pharmacy chains, Boots has been designated an essential retailer in the UK’s effort to prevent the spread of the virus, which is why its stores can stay open:

It is not alone in having to strike a balance between serving customers and keeping pharmacy teams safe – and Paul Day, director of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association union, said it was “at the good end of the scale” when it came to protecting pharmacy staff: He said community pharmacists up and down the country, which had already been “squeezed”, were under increased pressure because of the outbreak.

And Boots, like other chains, faced the additional question of how to protect non-pharmacy staff:

An employee who works on the tills at a branch in the West Midlands said Boots should “only let a certain amount of people” into stores, and not sell things like “mascaras and candles”.

Tracey Clements, chief operating officer for Boots UK, thanked staff for the “amazing care and commitment they are showing”

“I know that this is a difficult time and we are doing all we can to make sure our colleagues have the NHS-recommended PPE available, alongside extra Perspex and plastic screening and social distancing equipment they can use,” she said in a statement.

“We have over 60,000 colleagues and we are doing whatever we can to protect them whilst they work on the frontline of healthcare.”

Two online petitions – which together have more than 1,400 signatures – say “non-essential” Boots sales assistants should not have to come in to work and should be given paid leave.

#AceHealthDesk report ……….Published: Apr.02: 2020: BBC News:

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‘ International Team of Scientists Reconstruct the History of the HIV Pandemic Using Historical Records and DNA Samples of the Virus’

#AceNewsServices (Editors Choice) – October 03 – The HIV pandemic that has now infected 75 million people worldwide emerged in a “perfect storm” of bustling trade routes and migrant workers in central Africa in the 1920’s, researchers said in a study published in the Science journal.

An international team of scientists led by the University of Oxford in the UK and the University of Leuven in Belgium reconstructed the history of the HIV pandemic, using historical records and DNA samples of the virus, tracing it back to the city of Kinshasa, capital of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

' Map of Democratic Republic of Congo '

‘ Map of Democratic Republic of Congo ‘

Rapid social changes in the early 20th century, along with spreading prostitution and use of unsterilised needles in health clinics, resulted in transmission of the virus, which was also carried to distant parts of the Congo by millions of passengers who used the newly-built railway network, the study found.

' HIV Warning Poster '

‘ HIV Warning Poster ‘

This confluence of factors, including urban growth, extensive railway links during Belgian colonial rule and changes in sexual behaviour, combined to see HIV spread across the globe, the scientists said.


#africa, #belgium, #democratic-republic-of-congo, #drc, #hiv, #kinshasha, #oxford, #pandemic, #uk