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  1. WHO acknowledges 'evidence emerging' of airborne spread of COVID-19 A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Health Orgnaization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, June 25, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization on Tuesday acknowledged "evidence emerging" of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people. "We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19," Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic at the WHO, told a news briefing. The WHO has previously said the virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person that quickly sink to the ground. The World Health Organization is studying "emerging" evidence that the novel coronavirus may be spread through the air more easily than previously believed. Meanwhile, the NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci says it would follow the example from a similar deadly disease: SARS. Matthew Larotonda reports. 2020-07-07T200525Z_1_LOV000M35MT6D_RTRMADV_STREAM-2000-16X9-MP4_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-WHO-AIRBORNE.MP4 But in an open letter to the Geneva-based agency, published on Monday in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined evidence that they say shows floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in. Because those smaller exhaled particles can linger in the air, the scientists in the group had been urging WHO to update its guidance. "We wanted them to acknowledge the evidence," said Jose Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado who signed the paper. "This is definitely not an attack on the WHO. It's a scientific debate, but we felt we needed to go public because they were refusing to hear the evidence after many conversations with them," he said in a telephone interview. Speaking at Tuesday's briefing in Geneva, Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO's technical lead for infection prevention and control, said there was evidence emerging of airborne transmission of the coronavirus, but that it was not definitive. 2020-07-07T185642Z_1_LOV000M35MRZ4_RTRMADV_STREAM-2000-16X9-MP4_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-WHO-ROUGH-CUT.MP4 The World Health Organization says there is "emerging evidence" that the novel coronavirus may be spread through the air, after hundreds of scientists urged the agency in an open letter to update its guidance on transmission. "...The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings - especially in very specific conditions, crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out," she said. "However, the evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted, and we continue to support this." Jimenez said historically, there has been a fierce opposition in the medical profession to the notion of aerosol transmission, and the bar for proof has been set very high. A key concern has been a fear of panic. "If people hear airborne, healthcare workers will refuse to go to the hospital," he said. Or people will buy up all the highly protective N95 respirator masks, "and there will be none left for developing countries." Jimenez said the WHO panel assessing the evidence on airborne transmission was not scientifically diverse, and lacked representation from experts in aerosol transmission. Any change in the WHO's assessment of risk of transmission could affect its current advice on keeping 1-metre (3.3 feet) of physical distancing. Governments, which rely on the agency for guidance policy, may also have to adjust public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. Van Kerkhove said the WHO would publish a scientific brief summarising the state of knowledge on modes of transmission of the virus in the coming days. "A comprehensive package of interventions is required to be able to stop transmission," she said. "This includes not only physical distancing, it includes the use of masks where appropriate in certain settings, specifically where you can't do physical distancing and especially for healthcare workers." (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, Kate Kelland and Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Alex Richardson and Marguerita Choy) -- © Copyright Reuters 2020-07-08 - Whatever you're going through, the Samaritans are here for you - Follow Thaivisa on LINE for breaking COVID-19 updates
  2. China passes Hong Kong security law amid global opposition By Clare Jim and Yew Lun Tian FILE PHOTO: Chinese officials and delegates attend the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - China's parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony's way of life since it returned to Chinese rule almost exactly 23 years ago. State media is expected to publish details of the law - which comes in response to last year's often-violent pro-democracy protests in the city and aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces - later on Tuesday. Amid fears the legislation will crush the global financial hub's rights and freedoms, and reports that the heaviest penalty would be life imprisonment, prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said he would quit his Demosisto group. "It marks the end of Hong Kong that the world knew before," Wong said on Twitter. The legislation pushes Beijing further along a collision course with the United States, Britain and other Western governments, which have said it erodes the high degree of autonomy the city was granted at its July 1, 1997, handover. The United States began eliminating Hong Kong's special status under U.S. law on Monday, halting defence exports and restricting the territory's access to high technology products. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, speaking at her regular weekly news conference, said it was not appropriate for her to comment on the legislation as the meeting in Beijing was still going on, but she threw a jibe at the United States. "No sort of sanctioning action will ever scare us," Lam said. Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of a think-tank under the Beijing cabinet's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told Reuters the internationally criticised law was passed unanimously with 162 votes. The editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a tabloid published by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, said on Twitter the heaviest penalty under the law was life imprisonment, without providing details. Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few "troublemakers" and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests. It comes into force as soon as it is gazetted in Hong Kong, which is seen as imminent. 'REGRETTABLE' This month, China's official Xinhua news agency unveiled some of the law's provisions, including that it would supersede existing Hong Kong legislation and that the power of interpretation belongs to China's parliament top committee. Beijing is expected to set up a national security office in Hong Kong for the first time to "supervise, guide and support" the city government. Beijing could also exercise jurisdiction on certain cases. Judges for security cases are expected to be appointed by the city's chief executive. Senior judges now allocate rosters up through Hong Kong's independent judicial system. It is unclear which specific activities are to be made illegal, how precisely they are defined or what punishment they carry. Police have banned this year's July 1 rally on the anniversary of the 1997 handover, citing coronavirus restrictions. It is unclear if attending the rally would constitute a national security crime if the law came into force by Wednesday. South China Morning Post, citing "police insiders", said about 4,000 officers will be on stand-by on Wednesday to handle any unrest if people defy the ban. Hong Kong is one of many developing conflicts between China and the United States, on top of trade, the South China Sea and the coronavirus pandemic. Britain has said the security law would violate China's international obligations and its handover agreement. A Japanese official said that if China had passed the law, it was "regrettable". Democratically ruled and Chinese-claimed Taiwan said it "strongly condemns" the legislation, while the European Union has said it could take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over it. China has hit back at the outcry, denouncing "interference" in internal affairs. Hong Kong stocks were up 0.9% on Tuesday, in line with Asian markets. (Additional reporting by Yanni Chow and Carol Mang in Hong Kong; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel) -- © Copyright Reuters 2020-06-30 - Whatever you're going through, the Samaritans are here for you - Follow Thaivisa on LINE for breaking COVID-19 updates
  3. Thai Immigration announce changes to TM30 reporting Thailand’s Immigration Bureau have announced an update to the requirement for TM30 reporting. The new update clarifies when a TM30 report is due under section 38 of the Immigration Act. The key part of the announcement for expats, an unofficial translation of which can be found below, can be found under section 2.2 2.2 After the house holder, owner or possessor of the premise of hotel manager has reported as defined in Article 2.1, the same alien has left the premise and returned for another stay within the valid period, the house holder, owner or possessor of the premise of hotel manager do not need to make another report; The alien as defined in paragraph one shall include those who being granted multiple-visa who leaves and returns to the Kingdom with specified time in the visa, and those with re-entry permit. Previously, most immigration offices in Thailand wanted a new TM30 report within 24 hours every time a person left and reentered the country. This change eliminates that requirement. The second paragraph is stating that if a person on a multiple entry visa or has an extension of stay and enters using a re-entry permit a new TM30 report is not required. The new rule apparently does not apply to those on visa exempt entries and single entry visas of any category unless they left and re-entered using a re-entry permit during the original entry from it. The law regarding TM30 states that the landlord, property owner or manager (in the case of a hotel or guesthouse) has a legal obligation to report the stay of a non-Thai at their property. The law has been in place since 1979 but was seldom enforced until 2019, when immigration began cracking down on property owners who were not reporting the stay of foreigners. The latest announcement was posted on the Chiang Mai immigration website and comes into effect from 30 June 2020. Edit: Now posted on Immigration Bureau website. https://www.immigration.go.th/read?content_id=5ef48af54d69ab1c9c5be709 Link does not work now after immigration redid there website last night. See numbers 33 and 34 for downloads of regulation here. https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/981135-laws-regulations-police-orders-etc/ TM30 reports can be made in person or online via the immigration website or mobile app: https://www.immigration.go.th/content/online_serivces -- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2020-06-23 - Whatever you're going through, the Samaritans are here for you - Follow Thaivisa on LINE for breaking COVID-19 updates
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