Friday, February 14, 2020

Epidemic Preparedness in Asian Countries

Covid-19 has already infected 28 territories and countries and unavoidably, the spotlight has been cast on the ability of Asian countries to respond. 

The vastly different levels of health care in this part of the world, therefore, raise questions about the capacity of some countries to catch up with – and stem – the deadly virus.

Researchers at the health security company Metabiota found a "systematic underfinancing" leading to a concentration of weakly prepared health systems in the region.

As Laurie Garrett, a former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York said: "Nobody puts enough into public health until there is a catastrophe like this". 

World Health Organization guidelines recommend that countries build up disease surveillance, diagnostics and response capacities. 

Even so, the dynamics of viral outbreaks mean that strong public health systems are no guarantee of avoiding outbreaks. We are already witnessing this in respect to Covid-19. 

So far, I believe Malaysia is coping well. And in case you want an update, Malaysia has so far recorded nineteen cases of Covid-19, of which four have been discharged today.

The lawyer representing Harvey Weinstein (left) at his New York rape trial made a final appeal to the jury on Thursday to acquit him of all five counts of sexual offences, pleading with them to act as the last defense against “overzealous prosecutors” and resist the temptation to “criminalize morality”. 

In her five-hour closing arguments, Donna Rotunno urged the jury to “have courage to make the right decision”, saying prosecutors created an ‘alternative universe’ in which ‘women are not responsible’ for their actions. 

Rotunno (left) had accused New York prosecutors of kowtowing to public pressure around #MeToo and forcing a criminal case in which the rules of evidence were disregarded. 

She complained very bitterly that her client had been cast as an overweight monster whose naked photos were shown to the jury just “to shame him”. 

The lead counsel's summing up will be followed today with closing arguments for the prosecution. Then the jury will be presented with a very different characterization of the once-powerful titan of Hollywood as a brutal serial sex offender. 

The jury of seven men and five women is expected to begin deliberating on its verdict on Tuesday.

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