Complacency let Covid-19 break down Taiwan’s only line of defence

All the virus had to do was get through the border.

Until this week, Taiwan’s Covid-19 containment appeared to be so effective that virtually no other defences were put in place: few tests, no local surveillance to pick up undetected infection and close to zero vaccination.

Lauded as one of most successful places in the world at containment, a high level of complacency about the risks had set in among both the public and authorities. Covid-19 seemed to be something happening only in the outside world.

The virus’ opening was an ill-fated decision on April 15 to shorten quarantine for airline crew to just three days, as carriers struggled to operate their cargo lines with staff undergoing 14-day isolation periods.


Scores missing at sea as Cyclone Tauktae pummels Indian coast, killing at least 29

The Indian Navy mounted a massive air and sea rescue mission on Tuesday for 79 oil workers and crew whose barge sank in heavy seas following a powerful cyclone that tore up the west coast killing at least 29 people.

Around 182 of those on board the barge, which sank off the coast of Mumbai, were rescued from the huge waves, the navy said.

Cyclone Tauktae, the most powerful storm to batter the west coast in two decades, ripped out power pylons, trees and caused house collapses killing at least 29 people, authorities said.


UN seeks $1.25 billion for Rohingya crisis

The UN on Tuesday appealed for US$943 million (S$1.25 billion) to cope with the Rohingya humanitarian crisis, fearing that a Covid-19 outbreak in South Asia could reach refugee camps before vaccines do.

The agency said the funds were needed urgently this year for nearly one million refugees from the Muslim minority who fled to Bangladesh from neighbouring Myanmar after a deadly crackdown in 2017.

Most are crowded into squalid refugee camps, and the pandemic has rendered them even more vulnerable.


US lawmakers urge Facebook to drop plans for Instagram for kids

A group of Democratic US lawmakers on Tuesday urged Facebook Inc to drop plans for a version of photo-sharing app Instagram for children younger than 13, saying the social media company had failed to “make meaningful commitments to protecting kids online.”

Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal and Representatives Kathy Castor and Lori Trahan said Facebook had not addressed their concerns.

Facebook told the lawmakers in an April 26 letter made public on Tuesday that it does not have a set timeline for the version, but expects development will “take many months.”


Football: Chelsea beat Leicester in crunch top-four battle

Chelsea seized control of their destiny in the Premier League top-four battle as they avenged their FA Cup final defeat by Leicester City to beat them 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Roared on by 8,000 fans Thomas Tuchel’s side dominated and were rewarded after the break with Antonio Rudiger bundling in their opener before Jorginho rolled home a penalty.

Timo Werner twice had goals ruled out before the break while Leicester, who looked flat after Saturday’s celebrations, offered little threat until Kelechi Iheanacho gave the visitors a lifeline with a cool finish in the 74th minute.


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