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Another coronavirus will hit humans within a decade, warns Singapore expert | The Star

Covid-19 is the third coronavirus to jump from animals to humans, but it will not be the last, warns Professor Wang Linfa, director of the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School.

Source: Another coronavirus will hit humans within a decade, warns Singapore expert | The Star

Coronavirus: six more Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong lead to class suspensions, strategy review | South China Morning Post


Chief Executive Carrie Lam says authorities will review virus-containment measures in a meeting in the afternoon amid six more preliminary positive cases.

Source: Coronavirus: six more Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong lead to class suspensions, strategy review | South China Morning Post


廚房油煙致肺癌?1表看出你家的油用對了沒 |早安健康 | 早安健康


油煙這項危害物,是以「吸入(inhalation)」造成對身體影響的汙染物。由於飲食習慣的關係,相較於歐美,臺灣家庭的廚房有更多的油煙問題。 烹飪油煙中存在許多的危害物,包括懸浮微粒、多環芳香烴碳氫化合物、多環胺、硝基多環芳香烴碳氫化合物等。曾有研究指出,臺灣罹患肺癌女性有九成不吸菸,而國家衛生研究院推斷廚房油煙可能是女性罹癌的原因,所以家庭煮夫或煮婦們在家中廚房要特別注意油煙的問題。 (編輯推薦:癌症時鐘再快轉16秒!5個原因讓女性肺癌增幅遠超越男性)

「廚房油煙」是油脂受高溫加熱後發生分解而產生。容不容易產生油煙,以及產生油煙的多寡,與使用的油脂飽和度有關,含有較高比例飽和脂肪酸的油,像是豬油、牛油、椰子油等,化學性質安定,不易起油煙。 (編輯推薦:好油抑制癌細胞侵襲!油溫太高憂致癌,先看懂13種油品怎麼用) 我們可以根據油的發煙點(開始冒煙的溫度)來選擇適當的油,用於不同烹調用途。幾種常見食用油的發煙點: 花生油 約162℃ 橄欖油 約190℃ 玉米油 約207℃ 葵花油 約210℃ 精製豬油 約220℃ 紅花籽油 約229℃ 烤酥油 約232℃ 大豆沙拉油 約245℃ ※資料來源:行政院衛生署國民健康局 │ 健康九九網站 一般食物煎煮大約140℃,熱炒或小量油炸約140~180℃,高溫大量油炸則約180~200℃。用來高溫煎炸的油,最好選化學性質穩定(氧化穩定度高),發煙點大於190~200℃以上,不易起油煙的油品,例如橄欖油、葵花油。

食材入鍋前,應先簡單測試油溫(將竹筷前端插入油中,筷子周圍出現細小泡泡,代表油溫約為160℃,若是小泡泡開始變大,大約是180℃),確定油夠熱,在未冒煙前放入食材烹調(冒煙表示油品已達到發煙點);而料理過程中,如果看到冒出薄油煙,就應降低加熱溫度。 (編輯推薦:炒菜、煎魚,如何少油又夠味?譚敦慈私房秘招杜絕致癌毒)


1 購買檢驗合格的排油煙機,並依各機型的最佳運作條件進行設置及安裝。

2 依使用說明書正確操作排油煙機,如烹調前先啟動排油煙機,料理完成後,讓機器繼續運作幾分鐘再關;可清洗的濾油網勤清洗,更換式濾油網常更換。

3 維持廚房通風良好,廚房要有對外的門窗,排油煙機運作時能有空氣可以對流。但要避免電風扇吹到油煙四散,降低排油煙機的效能。 多採用蒸、煮、燉的烹調方式,可以減少油煙的產生。


廚房油煙致肺癌?1表看出你家的油用對了沒 -第2頁|早安健康 | 早安健康

Japan’s farming and fisheries schools struggle to move lessons online | The Japan Times


The coronavirus pandemic has forced schools across Japan to switch to online education, posing a challenge for institutions specialized in agricultural and fisheries studies, which need practical training that can’t be conducted online.

Amid the pandemic, students who are required to go through practical training, including on navigation so they can attain national qualifications, are not able to carry that out at present.

Most schools in the Kyushu region have resumed classes now the state of emergency has been lifted. However, teachers at schools offering practical training are worried whether they will be able to go through the necessary areas required for the national qualifications by the end of the academic year, which ends in March.

A comment recently posted on the website of the Kumamoto Agricultural High School, a prefecture-run institution in the city of Kumamoto, reads, “Even during the school closure, plants on our farm are growing quickly!”

Photos posted on the website also shows school teachers and staffers harvesting white radish. But absent from the photos are the students who sowed the seeds in March.

Third-year students at the high school traditionally use the harvested radish in a sports festival dancing program in May. But the sports event itself was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The school has also canceled farming class sessions during which students were set to cultivate spring crops such as watermelon and tomatoes and harvest them in the summer.

The pandemic has also affected the school’s livestock handlers. Students enrolled in the school’s livestock breeding course take care of about 500 chickens and several dozen cows and pigs.

Normally, students would collect freshly produced eggs, milk the cow and clean the barn every morning. Due to the pandemic, teachers have had to take over these obligations.

“You can’t conduct cropping and harvesting lessons, or training on how to raise farm animals online,” said Takamitsu Kusano, the school’s vice principal. “I am looking forward to seeing our students back on our farm.”

After the state of emergency was lifted in the prefecture, some training sessions resumed for students in the second and third year, on a rotating basis from May 18. The school plans to resume face-to-face classes from June 1.

Meanwhile in Fukuoka Prefecture, students enrolled at Fukuoka Technical High School, a public school located in the city, are supposed to learn how to operate processing machines, including those for metal — some students even become skilled enough to pass an electrical worker certificate. But schools have not been able to offer lessons for such skills due to the prolonged school closures.

The school resumed classes in smaller groups starting May 19 and fully reopened Friday. But the closure has especially taken a toll on first graders, who need to learn how to operate specialized machines and tools from scratch.

The delay has also sparked concerns about safety, given that students need to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills to operate tools to proceed with the curriculum.

Fisheries schools share the same problem. Students enrolled in fisheries courses are now unable to board vessels to learn about navigation and fishing.

“The vessel actually is our school. If you don’t get on board, you won’t learn how to steer,” said Akihito Oshiba, 53, who teaches marine science at the Fukuoka Prefectural Suisan Marine Studies High School in the city of Fukutsu.

After completing the school’s three-year basic course, students improve their skills during a two-year specialized program.

Every year, about 10 students on the specialized program cruise off the coast of Hawaii, where they spend about a year learning how to navigate and gaining knowledge about tuna longline fishing. This year, the cruise scheduled to start in April was called off.

Now that the state of emergency in Fukuoka has been lifted, the school is revising its curriculum. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the school plans to shorten its onboard training program, which will resume in September and will not include Hawaii in the itinerary.

However, such changes will affect students who are required to complete training lasting at least a year so they can take the level three maritime officer certificate, a national qualification.

The school, along with other institutions, is urging the government to allow students to take the exam by counting classroom lectures as equivalent to the practical experience required for national qualifications.

School authorities worry, however, that even after classes are resumed, onboard training will pose a high risk of infection due to closed and poorly ventilated spaces.

The school will require its students to self-quarantine for two weeks before boarding the training vessel.

“I want to help our students, including their mental status, and send them on a journey across the seas,” Oshiba said.

Source: Japan’s farming and fisheries schools struggle to move lessons online | The Japan Times

Front-line health care workers in Japan face discrimination over coronavirus | The Japan Times


While medical workers in the United States and Europe have often been heralded as heroes in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, many nurses and doctors in Japan have faced discrimination and ostracism despite heightened social media efforts to recognize their contribution.

In an April survey conducted by the Japan Federation of Medical Worker’s Unions, 9.9 percent of its 152 offices across the country responded that medical workers in their jurisdictions had encountered discrimination or harassment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cases included being told by family members not to come home, being shunned even by staff from other wards and being subjected to abuse when making house calls.

A study also found that hospitals and their workers were blamed when coronavirus infections occurred there, resulting in the children of hospital staff being refused entry to kindergartens and other child care facilities or being pressured to stay away from school.

The Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital in Hyogo Prefecture, which had admitted a total of 96 coronavirus patients as of May 22 and seen 29 of its medical workers contract the virus, has released a report detailing how staff members and their families have been subject to discrimination.

The husband of a nurse at the hospital was told by his company not to come into the office should his wife continue working. He was effectively forced to choose between his wife quitting her job or quitting himself, according to the report.

Another nurse who was pregnant was denied a medical examination by a doctor at a different hospital, it said.

Crew members of a sightseeing boat signal 'thank you' off Kobe Port on May 15 to express their appreciation to medical workers battling the COVID-19 outbreak. | KYODO

Crew members of a sightseeing boat signal ‘thank you’ off Kobe Port on May 15 to express their appreciation to medical workers battling the COVID-19 outbreak. | KYODO

Elsewhere, Kosui Tago, 27, a nurse at a hospital in Nagano Prefecture treating coronavirus patients, spoke of the discrimination his colleagues face.

The daughter of a nurse at an elementary school has become a victim of bullying, being nicknamed “corona-chan,” he said, while another nurse is now living apart from her family out of fear her son might get bullied at elementary school.

“I do understand the anxiety, but it is necessary for the people who discriminate to have a wider view,” he said. “I think we are not seeing a trend of us being treated as heroes like in other countries because in general, the Japanese like to stay low-key. I’m not working to be treated as a hero but to help the patients.”

Tago spends around six hours on average a day wearing protective gear and attending to patients. “Although the state of emergency has been lifted, we still have to be very careful. The gear is very stressful as we cannot eat or go to the toilet,” he said.

Similar experiences of discrimination reported by nurses continue to be shared on Twitter under a Japanese hashtag meaning “corona discrimination.”

In late April, a Twitter user who said she was a nurse posted that she had been told by a mother to refrain from going to a playground with her child.

The tweet attracted more than 2,000 comments, most of which were supportive of the nurse.

“I’m at a loss for words. Are they saying medical workers should only travel between their home and workplace?” one user wrote. Another said, “Medical workers are thanked and respected overseas. What happened to the Japanese people? Shameful.”

But while some consider such reactions to the coronavirus unwarranted, others have taken a more sympathetic view.

“I think people who turn to coronavirus bullying are tired. Because they have no place to let out the stress that accumulates every day, they use the coronavirus as an outlet,” one user wrote.

Medical anthropologist Maho Isono said that while such discrimination should not be condoned, it reflects shortcomings in how the Japanese government has presented its COVID-19 countermeasures to the public, accusing it of messaging that “scares people and creates anxiety.”

“When people are required to avoid those who have been in close contact with an infected person, it is understandable as a risk hedge approach that people discriminate against medical workers, even if it is a morally incorrect action,” Isono said.

“It is remarkable how a pandemic, and the way that it is communicated to the public, has changed people’s moral consciousness,” she said, calling on the government and the media to offer more reassurance to the public.

Tatsuya Sato, professor of social psychology at Ritsumeikan University, said uncertainties surrounding the pandemic were fueling risk aversion.

“Since so few PCR tests have been conducted in Japan, there is an overall fear that there are more infections than reported officially. In such a situation, and when the government’s approach is to ask people to make voluntary efforts to avoid infection, it is actually natural that they move away from potential sources — such as medical workers — to create a zero-risk situation,” he said.

Sato believes such behavior will persist as long as there is no vaccine or proven treatment for the virus and physical distancing is viewed as the most effective way to prevent infections.

“This behavior would change if we knew with clarity who is infected and who is not, but the characteristics of the new coronavirus make this hard,” he said.

Even medical workers not involved in the coronavirus fight have come under fire. Ironically, given the reaction to those who are, they are being blamed for not being on the front-line themselves.

A nurse in her 40s working at a hospital in Osaka Prefecture where no coronavirus patients have been admitted, said, “I was told (by an acquaintance) that despite being a nurse, I was not contributing to society,” she said. “People regard those of us not treating coronavirus patients as useless. I want people to know that this sort of discrimination exists as well.”

With over 14 years of experience in caregiving and eight years in nursing, she expressed her frustration at being regarded as a “low-level nurse,” simply because her hospital has no coronavirus patients.

“We can’t pick our patients, but we take care of them day after day. Even though I have a young child, I still take night shifts,” said the single mother of three children, the youngest aged 5.

“We nurses are not only fighting against coronavirus. We treat patients infected with viruses other than corona,” she said.

To counter the hostility experienced by some medical workers, sports figures, companies and local governments have stepped in to show their appreciation in various ways.

In early April, five players from a professional soccer league in Japan established the Instagram account “ThanksMedicalWorkers.”

“We want this message to be sent to many medical workers to invigorate them as much as possible,” said Kazuki Nagasawa, the striker and club talisman of the Urawa Reds who initiated the movement.

A Japanese hashtag meaning “medical workers are our heroes” has also been trending, with many professional tennis players, boxers and baseball players posting photos of themselves with fists raised in gestures expressing their support for front-line workers.

The iconic pose originates from a gesture characters in the popular manga and anime “One Piece” make when expressing solidarity with each other, Nagasawa explained.

Outside of the sports world, Godiva Japan Inc. drew attention on social media after it began donating chocolates and cookies to send “hope and joy” to medical professionals at around 1,000 hospitals in the country.

The campaign began in mid-April after the popular confectioner was inspired by one of its founders, who had delivered chocolates in a pink van to citizens in Brussels in the aftermath of World War II, said President Jerome Chouchan via a spokesperson.

Drawing inspiration from the cheering and clapping for medical workers as seen overseas in Europe and the United States, officials of some municipalities in Japan also applaud at a fixed time of the day, in what has been dubbed by some as the “Friday Ovation.”

Among them is the city of Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture, along with the cities of Aomori, Hiroshima and Fukuoka, as well as Ibaraki, Okayama and Okinawa prefectures.

The clapping in Iwaki, conducted daily at noon, began on April 17 when around a dozen city hall employees gathered in the lobby and applauded for 30 seconds.

Hiroshi Numata, an official from the city’s health and welfare department, said he hopes the applause makes people more conscious about the supportive role they can play and helps counter baseless rumors about medical workers.

“By clapping regularly, we ourselves will be reminded to not put a strain on them and be careful in our behavior,” Numata said.

In the skies above Tokyo, meanwhile, the Air Self-Defense Force’s Blue Impulse acrobatics corps performed a flyover for about 20 minutes on Friday afternoon to express appreciation to medical workers on the front lines fighting the pandemic.

Besides moral support, some local governments are also providing financial assistance by tapping into donations via their furusato nōzei (hometown tax donation) system, which allows people to donate to a municipality of their choice in return for gifts and certain tax exemptions.

Donations to Ena, Gifu Prefecture, are used to provide medical masks and disinfectants, with donors receiving specially designed masks from the city in exchange.

Several prefectures also allow people via the hometown tax system to specifically identify “aid to medical workers” as the destination for their money.

Hokkaido, which began soliciting donations from April 24 without any gift in return, hit its target of ¥50 million ($464,000) in just two days.

The prefecture, which declared a state of emergency in February long before the central government, became one of the hardest-hit regions in Japan after facing a second wave of infections.

The donations will be accepted through July and demonstrate the public’s support for medical workers, said Shigenori Goto, an official from Hokkaido’s public-private sector coordination division.

“What we very much want medical workers to realize is that over 7,000 people made donations, and that so many people want to do something for them,” he said.

Source: Front-line health care workers in Japan face discrimination over coronavirus | The Japan Times

Masks helped keep Japan’s COVID-19 death toll low, says expert panel | The Japan Times



Mask-wearing — anathema to many in the U.S. — is one reason why Japan has avoided the heavy coronavirus death tolls seen in many parts of the world, according to the government’s expert panel on the pandemic.

While face-coverings have sparked angry confrontations in some parts of the world and were initially dismissed as ineffective by the World Health Organization, they have long been part of everyday life in Japan. But they won’t be enough for the country to maintain its strong record on containing the virus.

As of Wednesday, Japan had confirmed more than 16,000 infections and about 850 deaths from the virus, by far the lowest figures among the Group of Seven major economies. But in a reminder that the crisis is far from over, an uptick in cases in Kitakyushu this week sparked enough concern for the government to send a team to investigate, public broadcaster NHK said.

Even as the nation inches toward resuming activities, experts need to stamp out clusters faster than ever to fend off a more serious second wave of infections, according to written responses provided by the panel. That means a combination of PCR and antigen testing, and urging people to avoid risky situations.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended the national state of emergency Monday, as cases had tailed off. He laid out plans for a gradual resumption of economic and social activities, in tandem with precautions against another major outbreak.

While Japan is currently held up as having dealt with COVID-19 relatively well, its health care system came close to collapse. There was no legally enforceable lock down, but social distancing caused severe economic pain, according to the comments provided via Mikihito Tanaka, an associate professor of journalism at Waseda University, who liaises with media for the panel.

The following is an edited translation of the panel’s responses to written questions:

The vice chairman of the expert panel, Shigeru Omi, has said that strong health consciousness among the Japanese helped keep the outbreak under control. What did he mean by health consciousness, and how does this differ from other countries?

There’s strong awareness of public hygiene, starting with the habit of washing our hands. And, due to historical experiences, there is widespread knowledge about preventing infections.

Another social factor is that Japanese people feel comfortable wearing masks on a daily basis. Many people are allergic to pollen, so they do this during the cedar pollen season from the beginning of the year until spring, as well as to protect against influenza.

What lessons have you learned for preventing a second wave?

Cluster surveillance has enabled us to ascertain what situations and places present a high risk. We have found out that wearing masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and avoiding talking loudly are effective in preventing transmission.

A second wave is very possible, so we need to detect clusters faster than before. We also need to use the antigen testing we have developed, alongside PCR testing, to find cases before symptoms become serious.

Would you rate Japan’s virus policy as a success?

Japan’s health care system was on the brink of collapse, and we just barely managed to avoid that, thanks to an all-Japan effort. Even though we didn’t go as far as a lockdown like those seen in the U.S. and Europe, there has been great social and economic sacrifice. It’s difficult to find a balance between preventing the spread of the disease and social and economic activity.

Japan didn’t have a legal means of imposing a lockdown, but modeling showed that reducing social contacts by 80 percent would reduce infections, and many citizens cooperated. Of course, we weren’t 100 percent confident that everyone would comply, but we hoped and trusted that they would.

Do you have enough testing capacity? How much PCR and antibody testing is needed?

Japan’s initial policy was to test people when doctors considered it to be necessary. But the spread of the disease in mid-March meant that we weren’t able to provide testing for all citizens who needed it. PCR testing capacity didn’t expand fast enough to keep pace.

The absolute number of tests has been far lower than in other countries, but in fact the number of tests per reported death has been higher in Japan. In addition, the proportion of tests that yield a positive result was at one point more than 30 percent and has now fallen below 1 percent. It’s below 1 percent for the entire country, which is low compared with other nations, so we think the testing system is reasonable.

At this point, we are still not sure of the accuracy, especially in terms of sensitivity and specificity, of antibody tests. While we haven’t greatly misread the spread of the infection so far, in order to relieve the underlying anxiety of the Japanese people, we need to be able to carry out more antibody tests more quickly. It’s also important to have a communication system to listen to the views of the people.

Source: Masks helped keep Japan’s COVID-19 death toll low, says expert panel | The Japan Times

Tokyo Tower reopens after coronavirus shutdown — but you may have to climb to the top | The Japan Times

Tokyo Tower, one of the capital’s major sightseeing spots, reopened its observatories Thursday following nearly two months of closure as the country carefully moves toward regaining normality following the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.

The 333-meter tower closed April 8, a day after the government declared a state of emergency in the capital over the virus epidemic, though some shops in the tower resumed operations May 14.

The tower will be lit up in various colors from sunset until midnight on Thursday, symbolizing hopes for the revival of Tokyo’s sightseeing business.

Tokyo Tower Co. has introduced measures to prevent infection, including temperature checks for visitors, face shields for staff and footmarks on the floor so that visitors can keep their distance from one another while observing the view from the observation deck, which is about 150 meters above the ground.

Any visitor found to have a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or above will be denied entry and the number of people who can use the elevators at any one time will be limited to four.

The tower will also open the 600-step staircase leading to the main deck so that visitors who stayed home during the virus emergency can exercise.

“I used to climb the stairs to the observation deck once a month before the closure. I’m happy that I can climb them again,” said Yuji Yokoyama, 59, a restaurant worker from the city of Saitama, who was among a dozen people waiting for the tower to reopen at 9 a.m.

Source: Tokyo Tower reopens after coronavirus shutdown — but you may have to climb to the top | The Japan Times

Shift to online classes leaves Japan’s university teachers exhausted | The Japan Times

A career support center employee at a university in Tokyo holds a videoconference with a student in April after the school closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. | KYODO

Some complain that their hours are now longer but their salaries remain the same.

Source: Shift to online classes leaves Japan’s university teachers exhausted | The Japan Times

Mental health a challenging issue at Jakarta temporary COVID-19 hospital

Indonesian medical staff prepare a room for patients at the 2018 Asian Games athlete’s village which has been converted into a hospital for COVID-19 coronavirus patients in Jakarta on Mar 23, 2020. (Photo: Hafidz Mubarak A/POOL/AFP)Indonesian medical staff prepare a room for patients at the 2018 Asian Games athlete’s village which has been converted into a hospital for COVID-19 coronavirus patients in Jakarta on Mar 23, 2020. (Photo: Hafidz Mubarak A/POOL/AFP)

By Kiki Siregar

24 May 2020 06:02AM (Updated: 24 May 2020 06:10AM)

JAKARTA: Former COVID-19 patient Indah, not her real name, still remembers the moments when she thought about jumping out of a window.
When she was tested positive in late April, the 30-year-old Indonesian was warded at Jakarta’s 2018 Asian Games athlete’s village. The facility was converted into an emergency makeshift hospital for COVID-19 cases that have been assessed to be less serious.

Separated from her three children, the youngest being just two-years-old, Indah missed them badly. She tried to connect with them daily through video calls and messaging apps.
When her children told her that their neighbours had stopped them from leaving home, for fear that they would spread the virus, she felt angry and helpless.
“I didn’t dare to look at a window because I would suddenly think of committing suicide,” she said when interviewed by CNA.
She added: “My room had a window and was on the 27th floor. When I looked down, I felt I wanted to jump out of the window, I just felt I wanted to end my life.

“I have never felt like that. Far away from my little children and my neighbours were saying bad things about them. I was stressed out.
” Fortunately, she quickly realised ending her own life was not a solution, as there would be no one to take care of her children.
“I don’t want them to receive a lack of love just like my experience when I was young. I don’t want them to not have a mother,” she recounted.

Indah claimed that she was not alone in having suicidal thoughts. During her 18 days of hospitalisation, she encountered other patients who also had suicidal thoughts or displayed other symptoms of stress such as crying for the entire day.
She said some were stressed out because they had been hospitalised for over a month and felt bored and helpless, a state she also experienced.
Dr Stefanus Dony, the operational coordinator of the athlete’s village told CNA that when the makeshift hospital was newly launched in March and the psychological teams had not yet started work, they had a patient who tried to jump out of the window and attack the medical workers.
They quickly referred the patient to a psychiatric hospital in Jakarta as the person seemed to be suicidal.
“But now we have a psychological team and programmes so hopefully this will prevent unwanted things from happening and reduce the stress levels of our patients, including our health workers.”

Captain Didon Permadi, the head of the psychology team at the athlete’s village added that since he joined the hospital in mid-April, no one there has tried to commit suicide.
The suicidal thoughts were actually manifestations of the stress they experienced, he explained.

The psychologist said the emotional state of patients were caused by various factors.
“To some people the source is family problems, losing a family member but unable to witness the funeral, thinking of their children, thinking of their jobs, and mainly waiting for the swab test result to be out,” he said.
Permadi added: “Another stressor is how people in their neighbourhood are treating their family (while they are warded at the athlete’s village) … They (feel like they) are ostracised, isolated, and don’t receive social support.
“Even when they have tested negative, some are anxious about going home.”

All these are manifested in different behaviours, said the psychologist.
”Since I’ve joined, according to the reports of several nurses, the uncontrollable behaviours some patients display include being angry and scolding the nurses, among others.
“There was also a patient who urinated anywhere he wanted and entered the rooms of other patients. But upon further examination, that person had suffered from a massive stroke and his memory is a bit impaired.”
Permadi also noted that some were already suffering from psychotic problems prior to their hospitalisation.
In such a case, they would refer them to a different hospital that would be able to handle such patients, he said.

Five psychologists, five assistant psychologists and one psychiatrist have been on duty since early April.
They take care of the mental health of about 800 patients, most of whom have mild COVID-19 symptoms.
While there are no exact statistics on how many coronavirus patients in Indonesia have experienced mental problems, a woman suspected of contracting COVID-19 died last Sunday (May 17) after jumping out of the hospital window where she was warded.
Local media reported that the patient had made several requests to be discharged.

The psychologists have come up with preventive programmes to keep the patients and also the nurses mentally healthy.
Psychoeducation and positive messages are broadcast through messaging apps and loudspeakers twice a day.
There are also group activities that are organised in adherence to social distancing principles so that they can support each other and won’t feel lonely.
One-to-one counselling sessions and a hotline service are also available, Permadi said, while visits to the patients are also done regularly every Tuesday and Friday.
“We believe the patients here encounter problems which can disrupt them psychologically because they don’t really suffer from major problems physically but their activities are limited.
“And while waiting for the test result, they develop negative thoughts which disturb their sleep patterns and later their physical condition which could affect their immunity,” he noted.

The athlete’s village is meant for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms and suspected cases, some of whom are also anxious that they could catch the virus while being hospitalised there. It is the only hospital in Jakarta which is entirely focused on treating COVID-19 patients.

Indah said the psychologists and their programmes have helped her overcome her suicidal thoughts.
Knowing that she had a support system at the makeshift hospital was also beneficial and important.
“We give each other support and share food with one another if someone had leftovers. We also pray for each other,” she said.
Now that she is back home, she is still upset every time she perceives that her family may have been ostracised.
She would sometimes send messages to the psychologists at the athlete’s village to pour her heart out.
“I just want people not to stigmatise and ostracise us.”

Source: CNA/ks(aw)

Singapore reports 642 new COVID-19 cases, taking total past 31,000

Onsite medical facilities for workers at foreign worker dormitory Avery Lodge. (Photo: Singapore Ministry of Manpower)

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 642 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Saturday (May 23), taking the national total to 31,068.  

The vast majority of the new cases are foreign workers living in dormitories, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in its preliminary daily update. In a later update, it said a total of 631 cases involved these workers. 

There were a total of 11 cases in the community – six people who are either Singaporeans or permanent residents, three work pass holders and two work permit holders, MOH said.

Among them are two pre-school staff members. 

Case 30767 is 24-year-old Filipino national who went to work at PCF Sparkletots @ Gambas. She was confirmed to have the infection on May 22.

The second person, Case 31055, is a 54-year-old Singaporean who went to work at Shaws Preschool @ Lorong Chuan. She was similarly confirmed to have the virus on May 22.Advertisement

“The number of new cases in the community has increased, from an average of five cases per day in the week before, to an average of seven per day in the past week,” MOH explained.

“The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased, from an average of one case per day in the week before, to an average of two per day in the past week.”

The ministry said this is because of “active surveillance and screening of nursing home residents and pre-school staff, which have picked up more cases in the past week”.

“Of the new cases, 99 per cent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.”


Aside from the two pre-school staff, there were nine other community cases reported in Singapore on Saturday.

Case 30647, a 55-year-old Singaporean man is a household contact of Case 24255. He was found to have the infection on May 22. Case 24255 is a 55-year-old Singaporean woman.

A 51-year-old man, Case 30706, is another community case reported on Saturday. The Singaporean first experienced an onset of symptoms on May 21 and was confirmed to have the infection the next day. He is currently unlinked to other cases.

One 45-year-old permanent resident, Case 30707, was also identified. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 22 and is the contact of Case 24348.

Case 30708 is a 29-year-old Singaporean woman who is linked to Case 26927. She tested positive for COVID-19 on May 22. Case 26927 is a Singaporean who worked at a foreign worker dormitory.

A 20-year-old Singaporean, Case 30709, was among Saturday’s community cases. He first reported symptoms on May 16, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 22. MOH said the man went to work at 31 Sungei Kadut Avenue and Cochrane Lodge I.

Among the community cases are also three people linked to the cluster at 564 A-E Balestier Road.

One of them, Case 31080, is a 53-year-old Bangladeshi national. The man was diagnosed with the virus on May 23. 

Similarly, two Indian nationals were also diagnosed on the same day. Case 31081 is 35 years-old while Case 31082 is 34 years old.

All three men are contacts of Case 28069.

Another Bangladeshi national, Case 31089, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 23, a day after symptoms appeared. He is linked to the Jurong Penjuru dormitory cluster and is a contact of Case 29563.


Two new clusters were also found on Saturday: 28 Kian Teck Road and 121 Tuas View Walk 1.

Another two more clusters were also closed.

“As there have been no more cases linked to Tuas South Incineration Plant (98 Tuas South Avenue 3) and 234A Balestier Road for the past two incubation periods (i.e. 28 days), the clusters have now been closed,” MOH said.

In total 927 more cases of COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. 

In all, 13,882 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities.

There are currently 711 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, MOH shared. 

Of these, it said, most are stable or improving. Eight people are in the intensive care unit in critical condition.

Source: CNA/sk

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