China study warns of ‘colossal’ COVID outbreak if it opens up like U.S., France

China study warns of ‘colossal’ COVID outbreak if it opens up like U.S., France

November 28, 2021

BEIJING (Reuters) – China could face more than 630,000 COVID-19 infections a day if it dropped its zero-tolerance policies by lifting travel curbs, according to a study by Peking University mathematicians.

In the report published in China CDC Weekly by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the mathematicians said China could not afford to lift travel restrictions without more efficient vaccinations or specific treatments.

Using data for August from the United States, Britain, Spain, France and Israel, the mathematicians assessed the potential results if China adopted the same pandemic control tactics as those countries.

China’s daily new cases would reach at least 637,155 if it adopted the United States’ pandemic strategy, the report said.

And daily cases would hit 275,793 if China took the same approach as Britain and 454,198 if it imitated France, it said.

“The estimates revealed the real possibility of a colossal outbreak which would almost certainly induce an unaffordable burden on the medical system,” the report said.

“Our findings have raised a clear warning that, for the time being, we are not ready to embrace ‘open-up’ strategies resting solely on the hypothesis of herd immunity induced by vaccination advocated by certain western countries.”

The mathematicians cautioned that their estimates were based on basic arithmetic calculations and that more sophisticated models were needed to study the evolution of the pandemic if travel restrictions were lifted.

China has maintained a zero-tolerance policy towards COVID-19, saying the importance of containing local cases when they are found outweighs the disruptions caused by efforts to trace, isolate and treat the infected.

China reported 23 new confirmed coronavirus cases for Nov. 27, down from 25 a day earlier, its health authority said on Sunday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday designated a new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa with a large number of mutations as being “of concern”, prompting some countries to impose travel curbs.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Tom Hogue)

Indonesia bans arrivals from 8 African countries to curb Omicron variant -document

November 28, 2021

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia will ban the arrival of travellers who have been in eight African countries, to curb the spread of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, an official document showed on Sunday.

Indonesia, home to popular tourist island Bali, will not allow people who have been in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini or Nigeria in the past 14 days.

The restriction takes effect on Monday, the document says.

Delegates attending G20 meetings, which Indonesia chairs, will not be affected by the ban.

(Reporting by Nilufar Rizki; Writing by Fathin Ungku; Editing by William Mallard)

Calm returns as clean-up begins in Solomon Islands -media

Calm returns as clean-up begins in Solomon Islands -media

November 28, 2021

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Soldiers and police from Australia and Papua New Guinea were helping to restore calm in the Solomon Islands as clean-up operations started, after several days of rioting left three dead and led to dozens of arrests, local media reported.

The Solomon Star newspaper said Australian soldiers and police and troops from Papua New Guinea had helped to restore normalcy in the country’s capital Honiara, halting the looting, rioting and burning of buildings and shops.

Overnight, clean up operations began in earnest in areas that were particularly hard hit, including the city’s Chinatown, the newspaper said. Footage obtained by Reuters showed heavy machinery moving rubble from burned out shops.

Three charred bodies were discovered in a store on Friday in the Chinatown district, an area targeted by protesters still resentful the government in 2019 ended diplomatic ties with Taiwan to establish formal links with China.

More Australian Federal Police would arrive in the South Pacific nation on Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a televised news conference.

“Although things are very unstable at this point … plans, we know, are being made, to ensure there can be calm,” he said.

Some 50 officers from the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary arrived in Honiara on Friday, a day after Australia sent its own forces to the capital, both in response to requests from the Solomon Islands government for help.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Tom Hogue)

Soccer-Libertadores triumph cements Portuguese coach’s iconic status

Soccer-Libertadores triumph cements Portuguese coach’s iconic status

November 28, 2021

MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) – Palmeiras won the Copa Libertadores for the second year in a row on Saturday and in doing so created a new club great in coach Abel Ferreira.

The 42-year-old Portuguese was already a hero in the green regions of Sao Paulo after leading his team to the 2020 title after just three months in charge.

But Saturday’s win in the South American equivalent of the Champions League elevates the spiky coach to iconic status.

He is now the only non-South American coach to win the Libertadores twice, after substitute Deyverson’s extra-time goal gave Palmeiras a 2-1 win over Flamengo in the final in Montevideo.

A former right back who played for Sporting Lisbon in his homeland, Fereira’s teams play a counter-attacking style that is not always loved by footballing purists.

But his methods have proven highly successful and at a club that has a generous sponsor he has helped build a formidable squad that along with Flamengo and Atletico Mineiro seem set to dominate Brazilian football for the foreseeable future.

Ferreira is one of a wave of Portuguese coaches coveted by Brazilian clubs keen to replicate the success of Jorge Jesus, the Benfica manager who led Flamengo to the Libertadores and Brazilian first division in 2019.

He is by far the most successful of that influx and his winning ways and intense and combative style have made him a figure of curiosity in a nation that often views immigrants from Portugal with a raised eyebrow.

When he won the Libertadores semi-final in September, Fereira spent several minutes during the press conference telling a “pain in the neck neighbor” that the win was for him for not showing him enough respect.

He has described football as “kill or be killed” and claimed he thinks not about winning but about “relationships, hugs and affection” with his players.

“Football is not mathematics, football is not two plus two equals four,” he said ahead of the final. “Who wins at football is not the team with the best players. Normally the team that wins at football is the best team and the most consistent team.”

After joy at winning the title, the sensation foremost in Fereira’s mind might well be tiredness. Tonight’s game was Palmeiras’ 88th of the year and the coach admitted that the intensity of the game in Brazil was draining.

“I am calm, at ease with myself,” he told Fox Sports. “I feel like it is job done. I have said it many times, football in Brazil is very intense. I am going to have to reflect a lot on what I want for myself in the future.”

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Soccer-Matildas will not change how they play, says Gustavsson after US loss

Soccer-Matildas will not change how they play, says Gustavsson after US loss

November 28, 2021

(Reuters) – Australia coach Tony Gustavsson has no plans to alter his tactical approach despite seeing his Matildas side slip to a heavy loss at the hands of the United States on Saturday.

Gustavsson’s team were a goal down inside the first minute before going on to lose 3-0 to the reigning world champions in a game played in front of a record crowd for a women’s game at Stadium Australia.

“We are not going to change the way we play,” said Gustavsson after the first of two games against the Americans this week.

“This is who we are, this is what we’re about, and we need to learn to do it better. We need to do that against the best teams because that is when you get exposed.

“If you don’t play against the best teams you might not get exposed to those kind of scenarios. So there’s going to be a lot of learnings tonight in terms of that.”

Defensive hesitancy handed Ashley Hatch the opportunity to give the United States the lead after 24 seconds before second half goals from Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan sealed the win for the visitors in front of a crowd of 36,109.

The loss was a set back for Gustavsson and his team a month after securing a win and a draw against Brazil as the Australians prepare for the country co-hosting the Women’s World Cup with New Zealand in 2023.

The Australians meet the Americans again on Tuesday with Gustavsson and his players looking to build towards January’s Women’s Asian Cup finals, which will held in India.

“I have the belief in this process, but I also know that we have to improve,” he said.

“Even if we say World Cup ’23 is far away, we have an Asian Cup coming up and we want to win that, so we have improvement to do in the short term as well.

“I hope we can take learnings from tonight and show some improvements in the game on Tuesday.”

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Daniel Wallis)