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Is repression newest China ‘export’ to trade partners?

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PAULINE KAIRU

By PAULINE KAIRU
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In addition to a documented bad human rights record back home, China is now being called out for its stranglehold on especially weaker economies that rely on its foreign direct investment (FDI), trade and aid.

The Human Rights Watch said China had established an assault on the global system for defending human-rights.

According to an official with Human Rights Watch, decades of rights around the world were at stake because of China.

In the Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2020, the Chinese government is described as making technology central to its repression with sustained “vast surveillance state in its efforts to achieve total social control” in China.

But away from home, the report accuses China of increasingly using its economic and diplomatic clout to cause distress on other populations.

“Beijing has long suppressed domestic critics,” observed Kenneth Roth, executive director at Human Rights Watch, while launching the report in New York on Wednesday. “Now the Chinese government is trying to extend that censorship to the rest of the world.”

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He said “other governments (particularly in Africa) have been bought off through Chinese FDI, trade and aid, and through China’s Belt and Road Initiative. China is quite willing to use money to force censorships whether of governments or businesses by threatening to deny them access to the Chinese market and other benefits.”

He calls on governments to band together and challenge Beijing’s repression. Beijing blocked the report’s launch initially planned to take place in Hong Kong, after Mr Roth was barred from entering China where he was supposed to officially launch the 2020 HRW report.

HRW was scheduled to release the 652-page report that reviews human rights practices in nearly 100 countries, at a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong but was forced to move it back to the UN in New York.

The report highlighted abuses against especially Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in the northwestern Xinjiang region, as well as Tibet.

HRW estimates that at least one million Muslims are being indefinitely held in “political education” camps, where they are forced to disavow their identity and swear loyalty to the Communist Party.

Mr Roth cited many other threats, including in Syria and Yemen, where government forces from Syria, Russia, and the Saudi-led coalition blatantly disregard the international rules designed to spare civilians, including the prohibitions against attacking civilians and bombing hospitals.

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US-based Kenyan who contracted Covid-19 says she’s scared after quarantine – Nairobi News

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Yvonne Mugure, a Kenyan living in the US, went public after contracting Covid-19 two weeks ago to share her experience on the pandemic and dispel the myth that only older people are vulnerable to infection.

On Thursday, she said while being discharged from the hospital she was told she can come back to be retested in two weeks.

“It’s now within that time frame and I’ve been told I am welcomed to go the general public (grocery store etc.) without needing to be retested to make sure I’m not a danger to the public and or my own family,” she said.

But according to Mugure, this does not seat well with her and she wants the public to know and ensure they are all protecting each other from further spreading this.

“I can’t bear the burden of possibly infecting someone else because I may still have the virus in my system. My symptoms have gotten better yes but I don’t think that’s an indication of my status,” she said.

“I’m curious now does everyone who has been saying they’re negative in the media been retested or just assumed to be negative just because it’s been a couple weeks?” she posed.

The 30-year-old YouTuber said she was diagnosed with the virus in a post on her Instagram page last week.

“I received my results and they are positive for the Covid-19. The virus doesn’t care about your age, race or socioeconomic status. It’s attacking anyone. I’m just like you. I’m urging everyone to please stay home. This is not a joke or fluke, its real life,” she wrote.

BREATHING PROBLEMS

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She said she went to the hospital after experiencing difficulties in breathing. Prior to this, she says she had lost sense of smell and taste but dismissed it as nothing serious.

“I could not breath, I had mild breathing problems but at some point, I could not breathe at all. It felt like I was catching every other breath…” she said.

“My symptoms are more severe than most because I found out I have a weak immune system (I had no clue).”

She says she called the Covid-19 emergency number and the team responded swiftly. A few days after she was placed in isolation at one of the hospital facility, she received positive results for Covid-19.

The US has the highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world where more than 14,700 people have died from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

More than 432,000 people across the US have been sickened by Covid-19.

Globally, nearly 1.5 million people have been diagnosed with Covid-19, and more than 88,000 have died.

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International community supports Kenya in fight against Covid-19 – Nairobi News

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and CAS Ababu Namwamba has been mobilizing international support for Kenya’s national anti-Covid-19.

When the National Emergency Response Committee was formed, each Ministry was given a responsibility to play in the fight against Covid-19.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Standing Committee on Emergency Response (SCER) chaired by CAS Ababu has been receiving massive support from the international communities.

So far, they have received support from IGAD, China and UAE, and commitments from Japan, South Korea, and India. Australia Austria.

Other countries like Cuba, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Jordan, New Zealand, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America have also made pledges, and the Ministry has been making follow-ups.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development(IGAD) on Tuesday donated Sh10 million to the Kenyan Government towards the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

CONTRIBUTIONS

The contribution should be allocated to the most pressing and critical needs of the vulnerable communities in the member Country and purchase medical equipment.

The Chinese government has donated 2 tons of medical supplies, including masks, protective suits, goggles, non-contact forehead infrared thermometers, gloves & shoe covers.

The consignment that was received on April 1, 2020, also included Assorted Covid-19 rapid testing kits 100,000 pcs, Sample collection kits 100,000 pcs, and Testing kits 50,000 pcs, among other things.

The Kits are being validated at Kenya Medical Research Institute KEMRI.

The Ministry has also received the first donation from Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation.

The first consignment which was received on March 24 had 20,000 Testing Kits, 100,000 Masks 1,000 Protective Suits, and face shields.

However, the testing kits received from Jack Ma Foundation could not be used as they were not stored in solid ice.

PLEDGES 

The second consignment from Jack Ma, which was announced on April 6, 2020, includes Ventilators, Protective Suits & face shields, Thermometers, Swab, and extraction kits.

The exact numbers will be known when the donation arrives in the country.

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Hua Jian Group, based in China, has given the government of Kenya 500 disposable Protective Suits,500 disposable isolation gowns, 3000 N-95 respirator, 3,000 surgical face masks, 40 non-contact forehead infrared thermometers and 60,000 normal face masks.

Southern china cargo airline is expected to deliver the consignment in the country between April 9 and 10.

Hecin Scientific Inc has shared 8,000 testing kits and 1,500 testing kits.

Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Wuhan Institute of Virology has donated 100 RT-PCR test kits (5,000) 500 Ig/G/IgM antibody test kits (1,000),

The RT-PCR kit has been accredited by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and has obtained the European CE marking (Ref. IVD001118).

EQUIPMENT

Administrative Committee of Changsha National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone has given 10,000 disposable masks and 10,000 disposable mask. The donation will be shared equally by the Ministry of Health and Kenya Medical Supplies Authority(KEMSA).

Department of Commerce Provincial Government of Hunan gives Kenyan government 500 rapid testing kits, 1,000 isolation gowns, 1,000 surgical gowns, 200 infrared electric thermometers, 10,000 disposal and surgical masks.

Dongguan Ruikang Medical Equipment Technology Co., Ltd has given 20,000 disposable masks, Japan negative pressure ambulances and negative pressure capsules.

All the above pledges have been taken to the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing.

Government of the Republic of Korea has donated 2 Ambulances, 100,000 Personal Protection Equipment, 20,000 laboratory test kits, 20,000 laboratory sample collection kits, 1,000 ICU beds, ventilators, monitors, accessories, 5,0000 assorted pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceuticals.

The Koreans have also donated 50 negative pressure ambulances, 14 negative pressure capsules, 20,000 N95 masks, laboratory equipment, infection prevention control materials (sanitizers, disinfectants, soap, chlorine) and 10 incinerators.

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US judge rejects transfers, release from virus-hit Chicago jail

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AFP

By AFP
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A Chicago judge on Thursday rejected a bid by inmates to be released or transferred from a jail housing 4,500 detainees which has emerged as one of the largest coronavirus clusters in the US.

Cook County Jail in the US’s third-largest city has 276 inmates who have tested positive for Covid-19, along with 172 staff members of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the facility.

However, the jail acknowledged those numbers are likely an undercount, as the majority of its inmates have not been tested.

The jail has seen one prisoner death so far from complications of the virus, but lawyers had filed a petition before a federal court for mass transfers.

In a 37-page ruling handed down on Thursday, District Judge Matthew Kennelly ordered Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to implement new policies to keep inmates safe but rejected the call for them to be moved en masse.

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Kennelly acknowledged the sheriff’s challenge, calling it “an extraordinary difficult task,” but ordered soap and sanitizer provided to inmates and staff, and facemasks for inmates in quarantine with Covid-19 symptoms.

The judge noted the infection rate in Cook County was 1.56 per 1,000 people. In the jail, as of Monday, it was 50 per 1,000 people, he wrote.

The lawsuit, filed April 3, sought a mass release or transfer of elderly and medically compromised inmates.

Dart has said his office has already taken steps to protect inmates and staff, while also releasing several hundred inmates charged with or convicted of non-violent crimes.

Dart said his dilemma is that 70 percent of inmates have either been convicted or are accused of violent crimes.

Jeffery Pendleton, 59, who was being held on drug and weapons charges, appears to have died from complications of COVID-19, Dart has said.

Pendleton, who had 15 previous convictions, including as a sex offender, was jailed because he could not come up with $5,000 — or ten percent of the $50,000 bond set by a judge.

The Cook County Public Defender’s Office filed an emergency motion for Pendleton’s release on March 26 but was denied, four days before he was hospitalized after testing positive for the virus.

“He was and always will be presumed innocent. He died awaiting for his day in court. He should have been sent home,” tweeted Amy Campanelli, an attorney at the Chicago Community Bond Fund, a group that advocates for the elimination of the cash bond system.

Along with releasing more inmates, Dart said on his website that he had taken steps to protect them. Measures included early screening and testing of detainees, and increasing availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation supplies.

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“Detainees who test positive are isolated and receive thorough medical attention and cellmates are quarantined and monitored,” he said.

Dart also banned inmates’ families from visiting and requires attorneys and clergy members to be screened for virus symptoms.

Incoming inmates are housed in tiers where staff observe for symptoms for seven days before they are transferred to the general population. Cleaning has also increased through the jail and inmates are being educated about preventative hygiene.

Yet, those actions, along with creating an 500-bed quarantine facility and moving inmates from double cells to single cells to increase social distancing, did not stop the spread of the virus — nor has it satisfied staff who feel slighted by the focus on inmate safety.

“We have 150 staff members who have tested positive for the virus and everyone is saying we should release all the inmates. They get released, yet we have to stay,” said one sheriff’s deputy who has worked in the jail for nine years and spoke on condition of anonymity.

As for the inmates, he said only 60 have been moved to the 500-bed quarantine facility. Another worker at the jail confirmed that figure.

The sheriff’s deputy added that jail staff did not receive protective gear for two weeks after the first cases were identified at the facility and fears he might bring it home to his wife and children.

“Bringing the virus home is my biggest fear. I have nowhere to isolate away from my family unless I sleep in my car.”

The Cook County Sheriff’s spokesman denied that staff have not been provided with sanitation supplies or protective equipment, adding that front-line workers can get tested onsite.

“We are very concerned about the health and safety of our staff,” he said in a statement to AFP. “To say they don’t have supplies and don’t have an avenue to get them is completely false.”

“We remain in daily contact with the unions that represent staff members, and will continue to work with them to protect our employees and fulfill our obligation to provide a safe, secure jail.”

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