Saturday 29 February 2020

The sounds of desperation from Wuhan

Wuhan resident horrific 
wailing and screaming at 
night wanting to escape 
#Coronavirus China 

The sound of living hell no one is shouting Wuhan jiayou anymore, just their desperate pleas calling for help and clinging onto the uncertainty.

Coronavirus news headlines - 28 February, 2020

The World Health Organization on Friday raised its global risk assessment over the new coronavirus stemming from China to the highest level, but stopped short of declaring it a pandemic, saying there is still a chance of containing the disease.

"We have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at a global level," WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing, referring to the official name of the pneumonia-like disease caused by the virus that has spread to every continent except Antarctica.

The global risk assessment is now on par with the risk level in China, where massive numbers of infection cases and deaths have been reported and whose central city of Wuhan has been locked down. The move by the WHO came about a month after it declared the virus outbreak a global emergency.

South Korea reported 256 newly confirmed cases in its first update of the day on Friday (this week, health officials have been updating the count every 12 hours or so). The new batch brings the small East Asian country's total to 2,022, and also puts South Korea on track to confirm more than 1,000 new cases in 48 hours.

A Solano County woman now critically ill with coronavirus was hospitalized for 11 days before her infection was revealed to healthcare workers, raising the potential of broader community exposure to the dangerous respiratory disease.

Suffering from flu-like symptoms, the patient brought herself to the 50-bed NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville on Feb. 15, according to the Washington Post. She was transferred to UC Davis for advanced care four days later, on Feb. 19.

Suspecting coronavirus, UC Davis requested a test upon her arrival. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control conducted the test four days later, on Sunday, Feb. 23. Results were not returned until Wednesday, Feb. 26, according to a UC Davis statement.

Faced with the prospect of community spread of the disease, expanded testing is essential, said Gov. Gavin Newsom at a Thursday morning briefing in Sacramento.

  • Some experts say the new coronavirus will probably never disappear.
  • Instead, it will likely become like the flu and other respiratory viruses that constantly circulate in the human population and fluctuate with the seasons.
  • Coronaviruses and other respiratory illnesses tend to retreat in hotter, more humid weather. But even if the new coronavirus naturally subsides come spring, it could return in the winter

Didn't get your mask?

The Iranian Parliament is suspending its work amid the spread of coronavirus in the country, the spokesman for the legislative body revealed on Friday. 

According to the spokesman, Asadullah Abbasi, Parliament will not be holding any sessions until further notice.

What are we supposed to make of this?

A MASS gathering for Greta 
Thunberg in the midst of a 

A huge security operation is being put in place in Bristol for a visit by Greta Thunberg that is expected to attract a crowd of around 25,000, most of them children and young people.

Police and Bristol council officials said there would be significant disruption for the youth climate strike on Friday and warned that they could not be responsible for the care of unsupervised children.

The Guardian heard from children and adults across the country, as far afield as Scotland, who have said they will be attending.

Special coaches are being arranged from London, Cardiff, Exeter, Oxford and Birmingham, and rail and bus stations are gearing up for a huge influx of youngsters keen to take part in the strike and hear Thunberg speak.

Guy McPherson wades in on coronavirus

I wondered when Prof. McPherson was going to wade in

Edge of Extinction: Coronavirus Update

Turkey Opens Borders to Europe

Turkey Opens Borders to 

Europe; tell 4 Mil. Refugees 


HOURS - Greece & Bulgaria 

Deploy Troops to seal 


20 February, 2020

Turkish President Recypt Erdogan has ordered the borders of Turkey be OPENED to allow a human tsunami of four million Syrian Refugees to storm into Europe.

In response, Greece and Bulgaria are deploying tens of thousands of military troops to their respective Borders with orders to SEAL those borders; NO ONE IN!

In addition, Greece has deployed fifty (50) of its warships to islands off its coast, to protect its maritime jurisdiction from Turkish incursions.

This is now setting-up a humanitarian disaster of historic proportions. The refugees began streaming out of Turkey late last night, and are now being forced away by Greek and Bulgarian troops.

Meanwhile, Europe is in the early stages of a large outbreak of deadly Coronavirus, as that sickness spreads worldwide from China. If the refugees from Turkey are infected, the disease will run rampant among them, and thus hundreds-of-thousands of them eill grow ill on the trek toward Europe. Once they get to the Greek and Bulgarian borders, they will be halted. How many will simply drop dead from being trapped, with no food, no water, no shelter and no medical care.

This action by Turkey's President Recpyt Erdogan, appears to some people, to be an intentional crime against humanity.

European Nightmare As 

Turkey "Opens The Gates" 

On Refugees While Covid-19 

Ravages Nearby Iran

20 February, 2020

As coronavirus ravages Iran and threatens to spread through the broader Middle East, potentially hitting refugee and war-torn populations hardest, it appears Erdogan is now making good on prior threats to "open the gates" of a flood of refugees on Europe. On Friday top Turkish officials were quoted as saying Turkey has no choice but to "loosen" its stance on the some 3.4 million refugees it is hosting.

This was the immediate, and perhaps predictable reaction, to Thursday's dramatic escalation involving the deaths of some 33 Turkish soldiers in Idlib via airstrike, in the single deadliest day for Turkey in Syria throughout the entirety of the warWidespread early reports said it was a Russian strike, but in a sign that Ankara doesn't want to confront the more formidable Russian Air Force, it has blamed Syrian forces. 

Turkey has announced it has opened its until now sealed border with Idlib for at least 72 hours, and will allow unhindered passage of refugees to Europe

Turkish TVs broadcast footages showing migrants are boarding boats off Turkish coast, departing to Greek islands

So it begins, as Middle East Eye reports
Turkey will open its southwestern border with Syria for 72 hours to allow Syrians fleeing the pro-government forces' assault free passage to Europe, Turkish official sources have told Middle East Eye.
The decision came after a security meeting chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara late on Thursday after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria's Idlib province.
A senior Turkish official said on Thursday that Syrian refugees headed towards Europe would not be stopped either on land or by sea.

The European Union is downplaying the fact that crowds of Syrian refugees have already been seen en route to Greece via land borders as well as the Aegean Sea.
Buses in Istanbul were filmed providing transport to refugees and migrants to the Bulgarian and Greek border

Refugees gathered in Fatih, Istanbul, today after 5 buses brought by Turkey already left toward the Greek/Bulgarian border. Syrians know they are being used, but they don't care. They want to live without fear.

An EU spokesman was quoted in Reuters as downplaying the potential "flood" from Turkey coming: "I would like to stress that there was no official announcement from the Turkish side about any changes in their asylum seeker, refugee or migrant policy," the spokesman for the EU's executive said. 

"So from our point of view the EU-Turkey statement ... still stands and we expect Turkey to uphold its commitments."

But the reality on the ground may quickly prove these words moot: 
Al Jazeera's John Psaropoulos, reporting from Athens, said the situation was "a European nightmare" as "the floodgates [are] being opened".

As European officials mull whether this is but more of Erdogan's threats or perhaps an early "taste" of what's to come, or whether the flood has begun, Greece and Bulgaria have begun taking action, bolstering patrols along border areas with Turkey.
7/ If you are a refugee in Turkey, this is what you are watching the whole day on TV.

Live coverage with a clear message: borders are open to go to Europe. @akhbar

"Hundreds of Syrian refugees in Turkey have begun preparing to travel towards the country’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria after Ankara’s sudden decision to no longer impede their passage to Europe," The Guardian  reports early Friday.

"Turkish police, coastguard and border security officials were ordered to stand down overnight on Thursday, Turkish officials briefed reporters," the report adds.

Greece appears to be responding by completely shutting any Turkish border access point to any and all traffic. 

And further, according to The Guardian: "Turkish news agency Demirören showed footage of what it said was 300 people, including women and children, walking on highways and through forested land in north-west Turkey towards the EU border early on Friday. 

Syrians, Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Moroccans were among those in the group, it said."

The WHO is especially concerned of an outbreak among refugee populations in war-torn regions of Iraq and Syria. 
"Refugees and internally displaced populations across Iraq and Syria have been identified as the most vulnerable groups in the region, should the spread of the virus become a pandemic," The Guardian reports of recent statements. 

"Health officials in both countries remain under-equipped to deal with such a a reality that seems more possible with each passing day," the report added.

Sprawling and densely packed "tent cities" of refugees along the border areas of Syria remain the most vulnerable. 

Needless to say, we now have a dual crisis unfolding that's indeed even more of a "nightmare" for Europe and the world than many could have predicted: a refugee flood, borders being opened, and the global threat of Covid-19.

The European Union, meanwhile, warned the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that it expected Ankara to abide by a €6bn (£5.2bn) deal to stem migration to its member states. Under the 2016 agreement, Turkey agreed to halt the flow of people to the EU in return for funds. Turkey currently has about 3.6 million refugees from Syria. There was alarm in Brussels as footage of hundreds of refugees and migrants heading for the land and sea borders with Greece was aired by the Turkish state news agencies.

Turkey’s decision comes after an airstrike on Thursday night in Syria’s Idlib province killed at least 33 Turkish soldiers recently deployed to support the Syrian opposition in the face of a bruising Russian-backed Syrian government offensive.

U.S. reviewing options to 
assist Turkey after attack in 
Syria: Pompeo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is reviewing options to assist Turkey after an attack by Russian-backed Syrian government forces killed 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib province, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

The United States is engaging with our Turkish Allies and reviewing options to assist Turkey against this aggression as we seek to prevent further Assad regime and Russian brutality and alleviate the humanitarian suffering in Idlib,” Pompeo said in a statement.