Connect with us

Health

Asia tech conference calls off 2022 event in Hong Kong citing COVID-19 fears

Published

on

A major tech conference scheduled to take place in Hong Kong in March has been cancelled and will return in 2023, organizers said Thursday, in a fresh blow to an international business hub that has embraced China’s “zero-COVID” strategy.

The annual RISE Conference brings together CEOs, startups and investors and has been held in Hong Kong since 2015.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

In a brief statement, organizers said they chose to postpone because “uncertainties brought about by the pandemic have continued.”

The move came after organizers flip-flopped on their choice of venue, announcing last December that it would ditch Hong Kong for Malaysia before walking back their decision nine months later.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

RISE initially said moving to Kuala Lumpur would expand the event’s presence into Southeast Asia.

But as Malaysia faced a fresh surge of COVID-19 cases this summer, the company behind the event said it was “no longer feasible” to keep it in the country.

At the time, RISE CEO Paddy Cosgrave said the conference “always intended to come back to Hong Kong at some stage,” citing past success in the city.

But while Hong Kong has managed to keep coronavirus infections at bay, its largely closed borders and lengthy quarantine rules have made it a difficult place to arrange international conferences for a whole different set of reasons.

Most arrivals must undergo at least three weeks of hotel quarantine and a growing number of nations with high counts of the omicron variant even have to spend one of those weeks in a government camp.

RISE’s evolving relationship with Hong Kong has drawn attention at a time when major tech firms fret over Beijing’s crackdown on dissent in the financial hub.

Hong Kong has long enjoyed greater online freedoms than mainland China, which deploys the world’s most sophisticated internet censorship network.

But a national security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing last year has given authorities new controls including internet takedown powers.

RISE has previously stated that its choice of venues had nothing to do with Hong Kong politics.

Read more:

Nearly 90,000 Hong Kongers apply for new British resettlement visa

Hong Kong central bank sends ‘care packages’ to high profile executives in quarantine

Cosmopolitan business hub Hong Kong loses shine amid tough COVID-19 restrictions

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Health

Saudi Arabia sees slight increase with 4,838 new COVID-19 cases

Published

on

Saudi Arabia saw a slight increase in the number of daily new COVID-19 cases after 4,838 new infections were recorded over the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

Two COVID-19-related deaths were also reported, raising the death toll to 8,922 as of January 24.

Meanwhile, 6,296 people who had previously tested positive for the virus recovered, raising the recovery total to 606,130. A total of 657,192 infections have been reported in the Kingdom since the pandemic first started.

Despite Monday's cases being higher than the 4,535 reported on Sunday, Saudi Arabia has seen a decrease in daily infections after daily COVID-19 infections reached nearly 6,000 earlier this month.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia marks further drop in daily COVID-19 infections with 4,608 new cases

‘Wuhan, I Am Here’: Film follows volunteers in Chinese sealed city due to COVID-19

US to suspend 44 China-bound flights in response to restriction on American carriers

Continue Reading

Health

Saudi Arabia records 4,535 COVID-19 cases, two deaths in 24 hours

Published

on

Saudi Arabia has recorded 4,535 new COVID-19 cases and two virus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

A total of 652,354 cases of coronavirus and 8,920 related deaths have been recorded in the Kingdom since the start of the pandemic.

There were also 5,072 recoveries in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number to 599,834.

Saudi Arabia has administered 55,226,399 vaccine doses to its population of around 34 million.

Daily case numbers peaked on January 19, when 5,928 were recorded.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia marks further drop in daily COVID-19 infections with 4,608 new cases

UAE reports 3,020 COVID-19 cases, four new deaths in 24 hours

Rio carnival postponed as COVID-19 cases surge in Brazil

Continue Reading

Health

‘Wuhan, I Am Here’: Film follows volunteers in Chinese sealed city due to COVID-19

Published

on

The homeless, the sick, the elderly: For people who fell through the cracks of the official system, the then-unprecedented decision to isolate the central Chinese city of Wuhan and its 13 million people was a matter of life or death at the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Film director Lan Bo hopes to sound the alarm with a documentary, “Wuhan, I Am Here,” about volunteers who helped neighbors get food and medical care following the lockdown in early 2020 of the city where the coronavirus pandemic began.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

The documentary comes as China has renewed similar lockdowns in three other cities since mid-December to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. The number of people confined to their homes totaled some 20 million people in early January.

The government’s decision to commandeer Wuhan’s hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients meant many people with other problems were turned away.

The film begins with a woman in tears outside a hospital that wouldn’t admit her husband for treatment of lung cancer. Volunteers secured a bed for him by talking with a Beijing hospital and working medical connections.

Other families struggled to get treatment for children with severe conditions.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“At that time, medical resources focused on COVID-19 patients, so it wasn’t their turn” to be treated, said Lan.

“Those who needed dialysis, those who had cancer and AIDS patients who needed medicine,” said Lan. “In addition, patients in critical condition and needed to be hospitalized — what were they going to do? We were all thinking about these questions.”

The government sent truckloads of food daily to apartment compounds. But elderly people who couldn’t leave their homes and the homeless relied on volunteers to get food for them.

Lan chronicles the hurdles volunteers encountered. They needed permits to drive in different areas of Wuhan. They were stopped by local officials who said they lacked permission to distribute food and other supplies.

The lockdown of Wuhan, which spread to other Chinese cities, was later imitated by some Asian and Western governments as the virus spread.

China’s unusually stringent “zero tolerance” strategy that aimed to find and isolate every infected person helped to keep the country’s case numbers relatively low.

The National Health Commission has reported a total of 4,636 fatalities — and none since early 2021 — out of 105,484 confirmed cases.

In the latest lockdown, most access to Xi’an in the west and its 13 million people was suspended in mid-December.

The city government has been criticized for food shortages and the severity of anti-disease measures imposed under pressure from Beijing to bring down case numbers.

A pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage after being turned away from a hospital, reportedly for lacking current COVID-19 test results.

Xi’an failed to learn from Wuhan about the importance of volunteers, Lan said.

Especially the pandemic in Xi’an, what I saw is the government’s neglect of civilian forces, which resulted in the lack of adequate treatment at the grassroots level,” Lan said.

“Why was Wuhan able to get through this?” Lan said. “I think in addition to our country and the government’s huge input into resources, it was also because of the contributions of the tens of thousands of volunteers that worked in obscurity.”

Lan has applied for government approval to release the “Wuhan, I Am Here” in China. It was screened at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in Japan last year.

Under a lockdown, “it is this kind of daily life that sometimes determines the life and death of a person and determines the destiny of the person,” Lan said.

Read more:

Continue Reading

Trending