Russia Is Responding Better Than Everyone Else to World War C

Astute News

The largest country in the world is faring surprisingly well when it comes to surviving World War C, which is greatly attributable to Russia’s proactive measures in taking COVID-19 as serious as possible, including through border closures and the forthcoming imposition of what can be described as “lockdown-lite”.


Ahead Of The Curve

World War C has taken the planet by storm and is set to continue wreaking havoc across the world, but one country has thus far largely avoided the disastrous socio-economic consequences of COVID-19. Russia is faring surprisingly well when it comes to surviving this crisis, which is greatly attributable to its proactive measures in taking this pandemic as seriously as possible. It was one of the first countries to curtail the entry of Chinese citizens, as elaborated upon by the author in his piece last month titled “Russia Bans Most Chinese From Entry: ‘Pure Racism’ Or…

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Australian cancer clinic forced to make own hand sanitiser amid coronavirus protective equipment shortage

Dialysis units and aged care centres also report problems getting PPE in face of shortfall across healthcare system

A P2 face mask
P2 face masks are in huge demand and short supply in the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting warnings from healthcare organisations including the Australian Medical Association. Photograph: James Ross/AAP
Published onMon 30 Mar 2020 14.18 AEDT

Frontline staff in some dialysis units and aged care facilities are reporting significant difficulties accessing personal protective equipment, while a cancer treatment centre was forced to produce its own hand sanitiser from donated ingredients after 200 litres “strangely went missing”.

Unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser during the pandemic has caused shortages across the healthcare system, prompting warnings from Catholic Healthcare Australia, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

On Sunday, the government enacted new regulations banning the export of disposable face masks, gloves, gowns, goggles, alcohol wipes and hand sanitiser.

It has also sought to boost supply by opening up the nation’s emergency medical stockpile and increasing domestic production, including through calls for Australian companies to pivot into the production of PPE, and sending in the army to help double the production of local manufacturer Med-Con.

Globally, the World Health Organisation has urged nations to boost their domestic PPE production by 40% and lift export restrictions that are interrupting usual supply.

But PPE shortages are continuing to be felt to varying degrees in hospitals and clinics, including in some services caring for extremely vulnerable patients.

Patrick Beissel, a registered nurse, said medical staff at his dialysis unit in Sydney’s north-west had faced critical shortages of masks. At some points, staff had been forced to either re-use the equipment or go without.

Dialysis units treat some of the healthcare system’s most vulnerable patients, who are at “higher risk of severe symptoms and complications from coronavirus”, according to Kidney Health Australia. The leading not-for-profit organisation has advised dialysis patients to continue receiving their treatment amid the Covid-19 pandemic and to contact their dialysis unit to do so as safely as possible. If patients are unwell, particularly with a fever, they are advised to phone their unit and act on the advice of nursing staff.

Beissel said his unit generally saw a maximum of about 32 patients a day across two shifts. They had, until recently, had only half a box of surgical masks to share between staff and patients.

Beissel said promises of more stock had not materialised and staff had resorted to scrounging for their own masks.

“Our situation is not unique, which makes it even more appalling,” he told the Guardian. “No one as far as I know is wearing a mask full-time. We are also running out of hand sanitiser, aprons and antiseptic wipes, with uncertainty about when or how we will get more.”

Beissel said staff at the unit received new surgical masks last week, but not the N95 or the P2 masks recommended by the federal government and NSW Health in certain higher-risk circumstances.

The unit is run by Fresenius Medical Care, a multinational giant, and one of the biggest dialysis treatment providers in the country.

Fresenius denied any suggestion of PPE shortages in its dialysis units and said it was meeting the government’s guidelines on PPE use.

The Health Services Union, which represents aged care workers, said its members were also continuing to report problematic access to PPE.

In response to the recent PPE shortages in aged care, the government has opened up a direct line to the federal health department for providers, through which they can request supplies from the national medical stockpile.

Requests are being triaged to prioritise PPE for providers who have had a confirmed case of Covid-19.

The Health Services Union’s national secretary, Gerard Hayes, said it was crucial that PPE was distributed in a preventative way, rather than simply waiting for a problem to emerge.

“Everybody is on the same page here,” Hayes said. “Don’t wait for the issue, you’ve got to prevent it. That’s the only way to resolve the matter in aged care. If they can open up those stockpiles now, and hopefully they have, that will at least stop issues developing.”

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s chief executive, Alison Verhoeven, said there was currently a “high degree of prioritisation” of PPE to critical areas of the healthcare system.

The national pandemic plan set out a hierarchy of organisations that could distribute PPE, she said.

Hospital access to PPE from the national medical stockpile was requested by the state health departments. General practice and community pharmacy requests were being governed by primary health networks, with GPs given priority, particularly in areas with high rates of chronic disease.

Verhoeven told the Guardian that other health businesses, such as dentistry and physiotherapy, were much further down the priority list. “What the government has been doing has been prioritising that to areas which absolutely have to function and can’t function without PPE.

“Clearly that’s intensive care, and it is the management of vulnerable patients … dialysis patients, Aboriginal communities, some very vulnerable older people. Managing their care is actually quite tricky without PPE.”

The cancer treatment centre Chris O’Brien Lifehouse currently had adequate stocks of PPE but knew it had “greater challenges to face before this is over”, said its chief executive, Eileen Hannagan. The centre was left in a difficult position when 200 litres of its hand sanitiser “strangely went missing” earlier this month.

Hannagan said the losses were made up by donations of sanitiser ingredients from across Sydney and interstate, including from universities, gin distilleries, hairdressers and chemists. The centre was now using the donations to produce its own sanitiser.

“The challenge is looking after our staff and ensuring they feel safe and supported,” Hannagan said. “We’re balancing their understandable anxiety and fears against the responsible use of PPE for the protection of staff and patients and ensuring supply into the future. We know we have greater challenges to face before this is over.”

The new US hope for replacing the president of Venezuela: coronavirus




The new US hope for replacing the president of Venezuela: coronavirus

Mery Mogollon, Tracy Wilkinson and Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times on Published in News & Features

Of 45,000 beds nationwide in 245 hospitals, no more than 20% are functioning, said Pablo Zambrano, general secretary the Federation of Health Workers.

“The health system is very vulnerable, with many problems and errors that have not been corrected,” Zambrano said.

“There’s a lack of supplies, medicines, ambulances, the hospitals don’t have working elevators, and suffer from deteriorated infrastructure and broken equipment,” he said. “We as doctors, paramedics, helpers, do not have the resources needed to confront this crisis and give adequate attention to protect people’s heath.”

Like other Venezuelans, health workers often walk long distances to work because of a lack of gasoline and reduced public transit. Some health professionals have been using homemade masks stitched from cotton clothing and other material.

“But these masks have a usage period of only three days,” Zambrano said. “How can we make more?”

Maduro, who ordered a 30-day stay-at-home order, with shoppers for food and medicines only allowed out in daylight hours, said the country is “prepared” for the crisis — an assertion disputed by the opposition.

“The truth is that the Venezuelan state does not have the capacity to respond to this pandemic,” Guaido said in Caracas in a video message this month.

Reacting to the indictments, the opposition leader said he hoped the charges would “help free the country from the criminal system that has hijacked our country for so many years.

“Our problem is not just a political problem: We are facing a cartel, the Maduro Cartel,” Guaido said.

The indictments handed down Thursday charge Maduro with sponsoring a vast criminal enterprise that shipped cocaine to the United States and supplied Colombian rebels — whom Washington has designated as terrorists — with military-grade weapons.

If there were anything that could force the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro and his opposition to work together, it might have been the coronavirus.

With the pandemic closing in on a country woefully ill-prepared to confront it, the president’s opponents had begun to test the waters of negotiating with him, with the hope that cooperation on a plan to fight the virus might lead to wider political agreement or eventually even new elections.

But this past week, the United States torpedoed that possibility by indicting Maduro and 14 of his top associates on drug-trafficking and related charges. With criminal accusations and the equivalent of an arrest warrant hanging over this head, Maduro will likely be less willing than ever to make concessions.

“This (the indictments) closes the door on any kind of negotiation … now and forever,” said Fernando Cuitz, who worked on Latin American issues for the Trump administration but is now an advisor to the presidential campaign of Joe Biden.


Trump’s Narcoterrorism Indictment Against Maduro Already Backfires

I am curious about what Venezuela is going to look like in future . . .

And this post is rather interesting too:


The Most Revolutionary Act

By Leonardo Flores, Popular Resistance.

For twenty years, right-wing extremists in Miami and Washington have been slandering the Venezuelan government, accusing it of drug trafficking and harboring terrorists without ever offering even a shred of evidence. They finally got their wish on Thursday, when the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled indictments against President Nicolás Maduro and 13 other current or former members of Venezuela’s government and military. In addition to the indictments, Attorney General William Barr offered a $15 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Maduro, as well as $10 million rewards for Diosdado Cabello (president of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly), Tarek El Aissami (vice president for the economy), Hugo Carvajal (former director of military intelligence) and Cliver Alcalá (retired general).

The indictment has backfired already. Hours after the announcement, Alcalá posted videos online that threaten to cause further splits in the opposition and…

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On Friday private hospitals stood down 600 hard-working nurses.

✍️ SIGN: Secure our hospitals and our health workers – public health belongs in public hands!

On Friday private hospitals stood down 600 hard-working nurses.

On Saturday they threatened widespread hospital closures, and 100,000 further job losses – unless the government hands them a cash bailout.2

If the private health industry can’t guarantee public healthcare, and secure jobs for their staff – they need to be immediately nationalised. We need every health worker to be deployed as part of a nationally coordinated fight against coronavirus.

Last week hundreds of thousands of GetUp members signed petitions, emailed their MP’s or picked up the phones – and it’s working.

The government has doubled Newstart3, made it easier to access payments,4 and suspended rental evictions for six months.5

But with private health lobbyists descending on Canberra to argue for bailouts, we need to dial up the pressure right nowThis isn’t a time for public cash grabs, it’s a time for public ownership.

✍️ SIGN: Secure our hospitals and our health workers – public health belongs in public hands!

Around the world, countries like Spain and Ireland have already made the decision to nationalise their private hospitals.6,7

It’s an essential step for a nationally coordinated health response. Governments can ensure that our nurses and doctors are securely employed, while prioritising healthcare delivery for those who need it most.

If private corporations won’t guarantee the healthcare we need, we must immediately nationalise private health assets to keep people alive. We can’t let our healthcare system be taken hostage by lobbyists when we need it most.

Tell Scott Morrison: Stand up to extortion – don’t bail out private hospitals, nationalise them!

Uta, our immediate priorities are twofold: making sure that people get the healthcare they need to survive, while securing the homes, incomes and jobs they need to live with dignity.

We must not allow healthcare workers’ jobs to be used as bargaining chips for the private health lobby.

With the CEO’s of private hospitals taking closed door meetings with Scott Morrison – we need to stand together if our voices are going to be heard today.

Join the campaign for a healthcare system that puts people above profits!

In solidarity,

Ed, Tessa, Rafi, Charlie, Oliver – on behalf of the GetUp team.

[1] “Australian hospitals to shut, 100,000 staff under threat”, The Chronicle, 28 March 2020
[2] “Private Hospitals have warned the Prime Minister and Premiers have just 24 hours to help them stay open”, 7 News Sydney, 29 March 2020
[3] “Australian jobseekers to get $550 payment increase as part of huge coronavirus welfare package”, The Guardian, 22 March 2020
[4] “Government did not plan to inform jobseekers their welfare appointments were suspended”, The Guardian, 25 March 2020
[5] “Commercial and residential rental assistance set to be part of third coronavirus stimulus package”, 7 News, 27 March 2020
[6] “Spain has nationalized all of its private hospitals as the country goes into coronavirus lockdown”, Business Insider Australia, 17 March 2020
[7] “Private hospitals will be made public for the duration of the Covid-19 outbreak”, IMAGE, 25 March 2020

Dog attack on NSW beach leaves 91yo woman dead, four others injured

by Tinothy Fernandez and Staff

“An elderly woman is dead and four other people are injured after being attacked by three dogs on the loose at a NSW South Coast beach.

Key points:

  • The dogs, which did not belong to the victims, have been seized
  • The 91-year-old woman suffered serious injuries and died at the scene
  • Four others, including a 71-year-old, are in hospital

The victims were on Collingwood Beach in Vincentia when they were set upon by the dogs, which did not belong to them, about 7:00am.

Five people sustained lacerations and bite marks in the attack, and a 91-year-old woman died at the scene after sustaining serious injuries.

One of the people injured, Pete, who asked only to be referred to by his first name, said he was awoken by the dogs running riot on the beach.

“We were woken this morning by some screams in front of the house, along the beach,” he said.

“I raced down and by that time there was one paramedic there and some older people that were quite distressed.

“I could see then that there were dogs attacking so I sort of walked further up the beach and at that point the dogs turned around and sort of had a go at me.”

“It’s really unfortunate that lady has to end her life that way at 91.”

Pete and three women were taken to Shoalhaven District Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The 91-year-old woman’s 71-year-old daughter was among those injured.

All three dogs, which police said were cross bullmastiffs, have been seized by Shoalhaven Council Rangers.

A crime scene has been set up on the 2.2km beach, which is located near Jervis Bay and usually flooded with visitors attracted to its white sand.

‘Horrific’: Witnesses protected paramedics from dogs

Faye Stockwell of NSW Ambulance said the paramedics who were first on scene found “multiple victims in multiple locations” on the beach.

Witnesses to the attack assisted in protecting emergency services from the dogs as they worked to treat each patient.

She said paramedics were forced to ensure their own safety before they could start treating the victims.

“There was one woman who, despite our efforts, we were unable to assist any further,” she said.

Ms Stockwell said NSW Ambulance was working to support emergency workers who attended the scene

“It was horrific. It was very sad for all of us,” she said.

“We worked together to ensure the best care was given and the main thing now is to be able to support our paramedics.”

NSW Police South Coast Police District Superintendent Greg Moore praised the efforts of all involved.

“I’ll take this opportunity to acknowledge the bravery and the good work by witnesses and the emergency services at the scene that worked to contain the dogs and support the injured at that location,” he said.

He said arrangements were being made to have all three dogs euthanised in the wake of the attack.

“One aspect of the investigation we are looking at is how these animals managed to be out of their premises,” he said.

“I take this opportunity to remind all dog owners that you certainly need to be making sure that your animals are secured, particularly dogs of all vicious breeds.”

In NSW, individuals can face fines in the tens of thousands of dollars if their dog attacks a person or animal, and may face jail time.