The scenarios are eerily similar: Onlookers filming an initial explosion and fire, before a more severe explosion and shockwave sends them running and knocks them off their feet. Ammonium nitrate. Dangerous storage at an industrial port.
Warning: Links in this story contain graphic images and video. On August 4th around 6pm local time, Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut was rocked by a series of explosions in the port area of the city. The shaking from the second and largest explosion was equivalent to a 3.3-magnitude earthquake, and there are reports that it was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus, 240km away.
On July 15th here in my hometown, Hong Kong enacted its most stringent Covid-19 lockdown to date. The number of cases here has continued to rise over the past ten days with many of the new infections are coming from unknown origins.
On 21 May 2020, the Chinese government proposed enacting a new law in Hong Kong on national security regulations, under the provisions of Annex III of its basic law. This proposal, while lacking many details, has created speculation and concern regarding the impact it may have on the political and business environment in Hong Kong.
On Sunday, May 3, Hong Kong recorded no new cases of COVID-19 and 14 days straight with no cases of local transmission. As the COVID-19 crisis has begun to abate in the city, the protests that rocked Hong Kong for many months have begun to resurge. The big question is “what’s next for Hong Kong?”
The outbreak of COVID-19 began to impact Hong Kong in late January, following the initial spread of the virus in mainland China. In the first weeks of the outbreak, supply of hygiene related goods, like masks and hand sanitizer, was unable to meet the sharp increase in demand.
As of Feb 26, 2020, the number of confirmed cases of CoViD-19 has risen to 91 with 2 fatalities. The anxiety on the ground in Hong Kong is pervasive. In my neighborhood, for example, there was a recent Coronavirus fatality. For many residents in Hong Kong, present events are stirring memories from of our lives during SARS in 2003. I was young at the time and mostly recall the extended holidays and chatting with friends online, but the fear of older residents who lived through previous outbreaks is tangible.
AIRINC recently conducted a “pulse survey” to understand how global companies operating in China who maintain expatriate staff in the country are responding to the outbreak. Out of the 110 companies who participated in the survey, 99 companies or 90% are considering implementing specific actions for assignees in China in response to the spread of the COVID-19.
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has continued to spread over the past week and the World Health Organization named the virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on Thursday, January 30. As of Friday morning in China, there were 9,776 confirmed cases and 213 deaths. The WHO stressed in their Thursday press briefing that 99% of cases are in Mainland China. 60% of cases and 96% of deaths are in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak where Wuhan is located. Isolated cases are still emerging internationally, with confirmed cases in Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Macau, South Korea, United States, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Finland, India, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
On December 31, 2019, health authorities in China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of a unique strain of viral pneumonia-like illness emerging in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Many of the infected first identified were vendors or visitors at a wet market that sold fish and wild animal meat, which was subsequently closed on January 1, 2020.