A Philippine government minister has tested positive for coronavirus five months after an initial diagnosis, authorities said Monday, as experts investigate whether he had been re-infected.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, who is helping to spearhead the country’s virus response, said he returned a positive test on Saturday after experiencing flu-like symptoms last week.
He was first diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, but did not show any signs of the disease at the time.
People infected with coronavirus build up antibodies starting about a week after infection or the onset of symptoms, research has shown.
But scientists are still unsure whether the body systematically builds up enough immunity to ward off a new attack by the virus or, if it does, how long such immunity lasts.
Some studies have shown that patients who recover from coronavirus may lose their immunity within months, or even weeks.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said experts were analysing Ano’s symptoms, his previous positive test, and laboratory results to see if this is a second infection.
“Let’s not call it a re-infection. The scientific community has not yet accepted that a re-infection occurs,” Vergeire cautioned.
Ano was tested ahead of a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and other key cabinet members on Monday to decide whether to extend a two-week lockdown in Manila and four surrounding provinces that is due to expire this week.
The country’s virus caseload has surged above 160,000 — the highest in Southeast Asia — with more than 2,600 deaths. More than a quarter of the infections remain active.
The health and labour ministries have ordered people to wear face masks and visors at their workplaces after outbreaks at office cafeterias.
A Community With a Shared Future for Humankind in Light of U.S.-China Tensions
I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching: China’s vision of a Community of a Shared Future for Humankind in light of U.S.- China tensions. China’s vision is unambiguously good. Who could deny the benefits, to all human beings, of seeing all human beings as a community, and envisioning a shared future together? But rationality is not the problem here. The problem, in certain quarters, is that the phrase has come to represent China — and interpreted, by some, as symbolizing China seeking to become a dominant power, perhaps the dominant power in the world, and to impose its ways of governance and control on others. Is the problem irresolvable?
Consider the recent 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the “Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.” Such reflection is especially relevant today because, sadly, the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, have moved from collaborators to competitors, with some on each side now calling the U.S. and China adversaries, a descent into a hostile, perilous, zero-sum game.
What is worth remembering about U.S.- China cooperation in fighting Japanese aggression in World War II is that, at the time, the interests of the U.S. and China differed, yet they still cooperated, united by a common foe. To China, the battle on Chinese soil was existential: their country invaded, partially occupied, and suffering unspeakable horrors. To the U.S., the battle on Chinese soil was diverting Japanese forces and resources, reducing Japan’s capacity to wage war against America and American interests throughout the Pacific theater.
What’s the solution to U.S.- China conflict today? If common foes are what we need, the U.S. and China have common foes in abundance: they are not marching soldiers, but they are every bit as dangerous and deadly: pandemics, climate change, world poverty, world inequalities, terrorism, organized crime, wars and threats of war in numerous locations. In this context, a community of a shared future for humanity can thrive.
Consider the impact of world poverty alleviation. China’s experience in bringing some 850 million people out of extreme poverty is a vital resource for poorer countries. While different conditions and cultures preclude wholesale transfer, China’s targeted poverty alleviation success provides a model and a benchmark: standardized criteria, methods, measures, systems, and on-the-ground organization with five levels of local government.
While appreciating lessons to be learned from history, I also believe, to take a contrarian position, that history lessons have limited value today. Our epoch is unique. For multiple reasons, especially instant global communication, our geopolitical conditions are sui generis – unique, never before happened – which should give us pause to reflect before we react. The burden is on us, especially U.S. and Chinese leadership, to find the right road on which both great countries and peoples can walk in peace and harmony, with honesty, dignity and mutual respect. For a community of a shared future to truly work for all humanity, U.S.- China cooperation is a necessary condition.
I’m keeping watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
Scriptwriter: Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Cameraman: Morgan Compagnon
Video editor: Liu Yuqing
Peng Liyuan Sends Congratulatory Message to UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education
China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan, also United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) special envoy for the advancement of girls’ and women’s education, sent a congratulatory message to the award of UNESCO via a video on October 12.
In her message, Peng expressed congratulations to prize-winners from Sri Lanka and Kenya. In 2015, China established the Girls’ and Women’s Education Award with UNESCO, and Peng mentioned that there are millions of people who devote their life for the education of girls and women in China.
Zhang Guimei is one of them. She is a female teacher who has taught in the poor mountainous areas of Southwest China’s Yunnan Province for over 40 years. She established the first full-tuition-free girl high school in China, which helps many young girls from poverty-stricken families receive education.
This year, 1.5 billion students have been forced to suspend classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Peng, and this impact on girls is particularly pronounced. We need to find ways to help those girls get back to school so that they won’t be left behind due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sixty-three percent of illiterate adults around the world are women, said Peng, and the education of girls and women is of great benefit to the present and the future. China will continue to work with UNESCO to ensure the success of the Girls’ and Women’s Education Awards from 2021 to 2025, and make greater contributions to promoting girls’ and women’s education and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Peng added.
Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO, thanked the Chinese government for supporting the establishment of Girls’ and Women’s Education Awards.
The UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education honors outstanding and innovative contributions made by individuals, institutions and organizations to advance girls’ and women’s education.
What is China’s ‘People-Centered Philosophy’?
I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching: What does President Xi Jinping mean when he says that the Communist Party of China has a “people-centered philosophy” for China? Many countries talk about improving the welfare and serving the interests of their citizens — what is so special about China’s “people-centered philosophy”?
To some foreigners, the phrase may sound like an empty platitude, devoid of meaning or import. But while Chinese officials hear the identical linguistic sounds in their ears, they perceive quite the opposite meaning in their minds. They take the Party’s phrases seriously. Well they should; their careers are at stake.
Here’s how President Xi defined “people-centered philosophy” in May 2020. He had four points:
First, the fundamental goal for the Party is to unite and lead the people in revolution, development and reform, and thereby ensure a better life for them.
Second, the Party must always put the people’s interests first.
Third, people’s lives and health should be protected at all costs, and since the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Party has made people’s lives and health the top priority.
Fourth, people are the solid foundation for the Party’s governance.
More important than his speeches, President Xi walks the walk literally by visiting poor villages — his visits numbered well over 50 when last I counted.
In 2019, during a tour of southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, President Xi stressed the goal-directing phrase, “two no worries and three guarantees” in poverty alleviation work. The “two no worries” refer to those who have been living in poverty no longer needing to worry about food and clothing. And the “three guarantees” refer to guaranteeing compulsory education, basic medical treatment, and safe housing.
Visiting a poor mountainous village, Xi entered a primary school, walked through the cafeteria, inspected the kitchen, and inquired about the food subsidies and hygiene of the poor students. “Not a single person should be left behind in the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects,” Xi said.
But to hit a poverty alleviation target is one thing … to keep sustaining a multi-decade poverty alleviation campaign to prevent some from falling back into poverty and to continue to combat relative poverty … is quite another. For this, Xi says, what’s needed is wisdom. I’m keeping watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
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