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What’s in a name? WHO tiptoes around what to call virus

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Keen to avoid stigmatising the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began, or Chinese people, the World Health Organization is treading carefully on naming the new virus.

The UN health agency’s official temporary name for the disease, which it has designated as a global health emergency, is “2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease”.

The date refers to when it was first identified on December 31, 2019 and “nCoV” stands for “novel coronavirus” — the family of viruses it belongs to.

“We thought it was very important that we provide an interim name so that no location was associated with the name,” Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s Emerging Diseases unit, told the agency’s executive board on Friday.

“I’m sure you’ve all seen many media reports that are still calling it using Wuhan or China and we wanted to ensure that there was no stigma,” she said.

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The final decision on a name is expected within days and is up to the WHO itself as well as coronavirus experts on the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

But picking a more specific name is fraught with dangers.

Under a set of guidelines issued in 2015, WHO advises against using place names such as Ebola and Zika, where those diseases were first identified and which are now inevitably linked to them in the public imagination.

Sylvie Briand, head of WHO’s Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness division, said this week that the use of a place name created “an unnecessary burden”.

More general names such as “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome” or “Spanish flu” are also to be avoided as they can stigmatise entire regions or ethnic groups.

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“It is the responsibility of us all to ensure that there is no stigma associated with this disease, and the unnecessary and unhelpful profiling of individuals based on ethnicity is utterly and completely unacceptable,” said Michael Ryan, head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

The WHO also points out that using animal species in the name can create confusion such as H1N1, which was popularly referred to as “swine flu”.

This had a major effect for the pork industry even though the disease was being spread by people rather than pigs.

H1N1 was also sometimes also called Mexican flu “which was not very nice for Mexican people,” Briand said.

People’s names — usually the scientists who identified the disease — are also banned, as are “terms that incite undue fear” such as “unknown” or “fatal”, the WHO said.

“We’ve seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, create unjustified barriers to travel, commerce and trade, and trigger needless slaughtering of food animals,” the WHO said in its guidelines.

Instead, it recommended that any new name should be descriptive and include the causative pathogen if known, as well as being short and easy to pronounce.

“We are really trying to be as neutral as possible, but as helpful as possible as well, because we need to name things with the same name everywhere in the world if we want to tackle the enemy in the same way,” Briand said.

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KQ ranked last among 10 carriers in the Middle East and Africa – Nairobi News

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A strike and pilot sabotage are among factors that dragged Kenya Airways to the bottom of Middle East and African carriers’ ranking in the 2019 on-time performance (OTP) review.

The update done by Cirium, a London-based airlines advisory and consultancy firm, rates global airlines through their on-time arrivals, departures, average delay in minutes per flight and those that operate within scheduled time.

TIME ARRIVAL

The airline was ranked last among the 10 carriers in Middle East and Africa, a blow to the carrier that saw its losses double last year.

The rating saw Kenya’s national carrier come in 10th with a 72.25 per cent on time arrival of flights just below Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian Airlines at 74.22 per cent.

Qatar Airline was ranked top with 82.45 per cent on time arrival, followed by Dubai-headquartered Emirates Airlines at 81.02 per cent and troubled South African Airlines at 79.38 per cent, coming a close third in terms of punctuality.

KQ had an average of 47 minutes in delays for its over 54,061 flights it operated last year, a slight improvement of its 50 minutes in 2018.

“Arriving on time at a destination is becoming increasingly important to millions of both leisure and business passengers around the world every day. Therefore, our on-time performance review 2019 is designed to inspire airlines and airports to continually innovate to improve their performance,” the report said.

PILOT SHORTAGE

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Kenya Airways Director of Operations Capt Paul Njoroge attributed the poor show in flight performance to aircraft withdrawals as a result of collision mid last year and industrial action by the airlines unionised employees.

“We were then negatively affected by the withdrawal of two aircraft due to the unfortunate incident in the hangar.

This was then coupled by the Kenya Airlines Workers Union (KAWU) strike and pilot shortage in the second and third quarter of last year, which saw the on time performance drop to as low as 67 per cent in August 2019,” Capt Njoroge said, adding that this was way below the 81 per cent performance they had achieved by April of last year.

In February last year, two of the airline’s Embraer 190 aircraft collided in the hangar while undergoing maintenance which saw them withdrawn from service.

Three months later, the airline’s unionisable employees under KAWU went on strike, protesting against the proposed merger between the national carrier Kenya Airways and the airports regulator. This saw more than 24 of its flights cancelled, while more suffered incessant delays.

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Humphrey Kariuki’s trial yet to kick off 7 months later » Capital News

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, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 27 –  Businessman Humphrey Kariuki’s tax-related cases failed to take off yet again Wednesday, after the prosecution failed to supply all documents required in the trial.

Defence lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Cecil Miller, who are acting for Kariuki in the matter, complained that they are unable to adequately prepare their client’s defence following the continued delay in supply of witness statements, supporting documents and exhibits.

“One year after investigations begun and seven months after taking plea, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has not supplied us with all the witness statements and exhibits,” defence lawyer Kioko Kilukumi told Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi.

Kilukumi told the court that he wrote to the DPP in January seeking to be supplied with statements and exhibits to enable him prepare for the pretrial.

Kilukumi said there was a lot of fanfare when the suspects were charged but the DPP has failed in his duties to avail evidence in the multibillion tax evasion case and was giving documents piece meal.

The lawyers said they were called to the DCI office two days ago and given statements of 29 witnesses out of 37. Witness statements of 8 witnesses were missing.

Kilukumi stated the inventory shows that there are 37 witnesses among them unnamed bank officials. Kilukumi says there is indication that witnesses from National Bank and Equity Bank were to testify but their details and witness statements were not supplied so there is no way they can prepare the defence of their clients. Some of the 160 documentary exhibits in the case had also not been provided.

He wondered how the defence will go about preparing for the defence of the accused persons without full disclosure of the prosecution’s case.

“Kariuki is an international businessman and any delay in prosecuting the case means his businesses are being destroyed,‘’ Kilukumi said.

The magistrate heard that the seven months which the DPP has delayed in supplying evidence to the defence is enough time to have heard and concluded the case. Kilukumi urged the court that the delay of months was a clear violation of the accused person’s rights under Article 50(2)(e) of the constitution to a fair trial conducted without unreasonable delay.

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Other lawyers also protested the delay in supply of crucial documents with Mannases Mwangi for Africa Spirits Limited saying that since a year ago when the factory was closed, over 500 employees have not worked and as such they were suffering due to the delay in the matter.

He asked the court to bring to a halt the issues of evidence.

The court has directed DPP to convene a joint pretrial conference where all the evidence was pre-arranged and availed to Defence counsel and any issues sorted out. This was against the background that some of the counsels have not received any of the documents.

Lawyer Rubeena Dar also informed the court that there was not one single original document that had been sighted in her review that was used to form the basis of the charges facing the accused persons and she said in the absence of such the case is as good as dead.

Ben Nzacho said they have not been given a single sheet of documents or witness statements.

Counsel took issue with the lack of numbering of the voluminous documents and said this would impact a smooth trial. The inspection of exhibits by the Defence teams was also identified as an outstanding issue.

The court found that the matter was not at all ready for pre-trial and it was as if the accused persons had just taken plea.

The court has directed that the defence counsels write to the DCI and DPP and indicate documents and witnesses statements that they have not been served with in the next seven days. Thereafter the DPP is required to respond in writing to the lawyers on the evidence within 2 weeks.

A case conference will then be convened by the DPP to iron out any remaining issues.

The matter will be mentioned on May 21st to confirm compliance by the DPP.


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Kenya to participate in top Tourism Trade Fair – KBC

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Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala will lead a delegation of 45 travel trade exhibitors from the country to the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) travel show which is being held in Berlin, Germany from the 4th to the 8th of March2020.

The event which is held annually is touted to be one of the largest tourism trade fairs in the World presenting the perfect opportunity for the country to showcase its diversity in tourism products offerings.

The Kenyan delegation which includes Marketing Agency Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) will have an opportunity to interact with 10,000exhibitors from over 180 countries, including all the top decision-makers, experts, buyers and young professionals from the tourism industry across the world.

The expo attracts tourism players such as hoteliers, travel tour and companies and marketing agencies from across the globe.

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Commenting on Kenya’s participation, Balala said that global tourism events and expos provide a good opportunity to interact with world tourism players and assert the significance of Kenya in the tourism space. He added Kenya would use the opportunity to assure international source markets including Germany that the country is safe for holiday.

“Kenya recently participated in the Outbound Travel Mart in Mumbai India, which is an important outbound market for Kenya. ITB is also a perfect platform to not only meet the best minds in the industry but to also showcase the diverse tourism products we have to offer our visitors as a destination,’’ said Tourism CS Balala

“Our success in tourism is attributable to product diversification, value for money and enhanced infrastructure in the country. Not only that, the government is also making efforts to improve the business environment and encourage foreign investors to set up their businesses in the country,’’ he added.

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The German market is Kenya’s 5th most important international tourism source market with a market share of 3.87% as at December2018 and is the second largest source market in Europe after UK contributing to the region’s market share by 13% as at the same period. Tourist arrivals grew from 49,247 in 2017, to 78,388 in 2018 and closed with a slight drop to 73,150in 2019.

Germany remains in the top travelling destinations globally with 72 % of travels made by Germans in 2019 being abroad, spending almost 74B Euro on travelling and holidays.

KTB CEO Dr Betty Radier said that ITB Berlin provided a great opportunity to showcase Kenya’s tourism products and services to hosted buyers and visitors from across the world, she added that the marketing agency would market the destination at the Berlin fair to attract more tourists from Germany and other international markets.

“KTB will continue to leverage on global platforms like ITB that present an opportunity for the destination, hoteliers and tourists product sellers to exhibit and promote destination Kenya and our offerings to the world. This event will also provide the chance to not only strengthen our existing relationships but also forge new ones” said Dr Radier

The platform will be used to promote Kenya’s tourism trends such as that of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) which is now a key part of the tourism as well as sports tourism which is set to get a significant boost this year with Kenya hosting the Magical Kenya Open golf championship, World Athletics U20 Championships and the World Safari Rally making a comeback in the country.

 

 

 

 

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