Indonesia starts cloud seeding to keep forest fires at bay

first_imgIndonesia has started cloud seeding to induce rain as the archipelago moves to head off annual forest fires blamed for blanketing swathes of Southeast Asia in toxic haze.Last year’s fires were the worst since 2015 due to dry weather, with some 1.6 million hectares of land, mostly on Sumatra and Borneo islands, razed by the out-of-control blazes. Authorities deployed tens of thousands of personnel and water-bombing aircraft to tackle the fires, which are intentionally set to clear land for agriculture — including on palm oil and pulp plantations. Last year’s fires sent a toxic haze across Southeast Asia that forced school closures and aggravated concerns about.”According to our predictions, the dry season this year will not be as bad as it was last year… but we never know” for sure, Seto said.”If things escalate and we see haze like last year, we might use another technique. Let’s pray it won’t come to that,” he added. Over the past two weeks, Indonesia has started cloud seeding — a technique that uses chemicals to induce rain — in hotspot Riau province on Sumatra, with plans to roll it out in other parts of the island and in Borneo.The operations were to last throughout the dry season, which is expected to end around September.”We’re taking this step before the forest fires start,” said Tri Handoko Seto at the government-backed Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT).The initial focus would be on swampy, carbon-rich peatlands which become highly flammable when they are drained of water to grow crops, he added.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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Australia starts virus testing blitz to curb surge in Melbourne

first_imgTopics : Around 200 soldiers were deploying to Melbourne over the weekend to help with the testing offensive in 10 suburb “hot spots”, where officials are going door-to-door to track the virus.Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has set a goal of testing 100,000 people in 10 days in the targeted suburbs.Around 20,000 tests were carried out in the first 24 hours of the effort, state deputy chief health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said on Friday.Morrison’s chief health adviser played down the likelihood that the Melbourne outbreak would evolve into a broader “second wave” of the epidemic.”We’re very likely to see more such outbreaks, not just in Victoria — it could be anywhere in the country,” said Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy.”We’re prepared, we’re responding and we’re very, very comfortable with the way things are going.”But the Melbourne outbreak has rattled officials elsewhere in Australia.In neighboring New South Wales, officials said they would bar Victorians from attending professional sporting events when they begin allowing fans next week — a particularly stinging move in the sports-mad country.Australia has recorded roughly 7,500 coronavirus cases and 104 deaths in a population of 25 million, with several regions believed to be effectively virus-free. The outbreak has rattled people across Australia, with major supermarket chains on Friday re-imposing nationwide limits on purchases of toilet paper and paper towels to counter a surge in panic-buying not seen since the first days of the pandemic in March.”Stop it, it’s ridiculous,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said when quizzed about the public rush on stores at a press conference.The chains slapped the buying restrictions on stores in Victoria earlier this week, but extended them after noting excessive demand spreading to other states.”While the demand is not at the same level as Victoria, we’re taking preventative action now to get ahead of any excessive buying this weekend and help maintain social distancing in our stores,” Woolworths Supermarkets said in a statement.center_img Health workers fanned out across suburbs of Melbourne Friday in a testing blitz aimed at choking off a surge in coronavirus cases in Australia’s second-biggest city.Officials reported another 30 new COVID-19 infections in the city overnight in a continuing outbreak that has raised fears of a second wave in Australia, which looked like it had successfully contained the epidemic.It was the 10th straight day of double-digit rises in new cases in Melbourne and surrounding Victoria state, while most other Australian regions have seen no or low single-digit new infections for weeks.last_img read more

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First suspected nCoV case in Antique negative – IPHO

first_img Antique IPHO chief Dr. Ric Noel Naciongayocited the laboratory results of the patient under investigation (PUI) sent tothe Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City. According to Naciongayo, the PUI was a29-year-old seaman who manifested flu-like symptoms after he travelled toChina. “Today, Monday, we received again theresult of the second sample from the RITM and it was negative from nCoV ARD,”he said on Feb.10. “We are still waiting for the result of his laboratory test from the RITM,” he added. Antique Integrated Provincial Health Office chief Dr. Ric Noel Naciongayo announces that the first patient under observation of the possible novel coronavirus in this province has been tested negative. However, he added that they are also waiting for the results of the second patient who is still under a 14-day quarantine period. PNA The first nasopharyngeal and oropharyngealswabs taken from the patient were sent to the RITM last Feb. 4, while thesecond ones were delivered two days later. “The second PUI arrived in Antique last Feb. 6 and sought consultation the following day because of flu-like symptoms,” he said. Meanwhile, Naciongayo added that the second PUI – another seaman who had a layover in Hong Kong before going home to Antique – is still under a 14-day quarantine observation in a hospital in this province. SAN JOSE, Antique – The first personunder investigation for a possible 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratorydisease (2019-nCoV ARD) in Antique has been tested negative, the IntegratedProvincial Health Office (IPHO) said. Swabs taken from the 25-year-old patient from Tobias Fornier were also sent by the IPHO to the RITM last Feb. 7. “The BERT should closely monitor tourist visitors or newly arrived residents of their barangay,” he said, adding that this is necessary in order to keep Antique nCoV free. (With a report from PNA/PN) “The doctor managing the first PUI willhave no more reason to have him under hospital confinement so he will bedischarged,” he said. Naciongayo is also requesting the Barangay Emergency Response Teams (BERT) composed of the Barangay Health Workers and Barangay Nutrition Scholars to closely observe the people in their respective areas.last_img read more

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