Over 400,000 advised to evacuate as storm bears down on Japan

A man makes his way amid strong wind by typhoon Krosa in Miyazaki in this photo taken by Kyodo August 14, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 August 2019

Over 400,000 advised to evacuate as storm bears down on Japan

  • More than 600 domestic flights were canceled to and from cities in western Japan and bullet train services were either scrapped or sharply reduced

TOKYO: A powerful tropical storm lashed Japan Thursday, bringing strong winds and torrential rain that prompted warnings of landslides and flooding, and sparked evacuation adviseries and travel chaos at a peak holiday period.
Severe Tropical Storm Krosa — one notch below a typhoon — was churning slowly just off the southwestern coast of Japan, packing wind gusts of up to 160 kilometers per hour.
Authorities issued a voluntary evacuation advisory to around 550,000 people in the storm’s path and Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said four people had sustained minor injuries with one person more seriously hurt.
The agency also said that a party of 18 people including children got stranded during a barbeque in a valley when the river rose rapidly. They have since been evacuated to higher ground and should be rescued later Thursday.
Krosa also sparked travel chaos as people returned to major cities following the Obon holiday.
More than 600 domestic flights were canceled to and from cities in western Japan and bullet train services were either scrapped or sharply reduced.
Ferries connecting the southern Shikoku island and other parts of Japan were also canceled as high waves lashed the coast.
Krosa weakened significantly from earlier in the week as it stalled in the Pacific Ocean but it boasts an unusually large eye, meaning it is likely to dump rain over a wide area.
It is also moving very slowly — 20 kilometers per hour — so the rain is expected to last for an extended period.


New Zealand records 100 days without domestic virus case but warns against complacency

Updated 09 August 2020

New Zealand records 100 days without domestic virus case but warns against complacency

  • New Zealanders have returned to normal life, but authorities are concerned that people were now refusing testing
  • New Zealand has 23 active cases in managed isolation facilities, and 1,219 COVID-19 cases in all so far

WELLINGTON: New Zealand marked 100 days without a domestic transmission of the coronavirus on Sunday, but warned against complacency as countries like Vietnam and Australia which once had the virus under control now battle a resurgence in infections.
New Zealand’s successful fight against COVID-19 has made the Pacific island nation of 5 million one of the safest places in the world right now.
New Zealanders have returned to normal life, but authorities are concerned that people were now refusing testing, not using the government contact tracing apps, and even ignoring basic hygiene rules.
“Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can’t afford to be complacent,” Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said.
“We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand,” he said.
New Zealand has 23 active cases in managed isolation facilities, and 1,219 COVID-19 cases in all so far.
Vietnam, which went for three months without detecting any domestic transmission, is now racing to control a new outbreak in Danang.
Neighbouring Australia’s second-biggest city, Melbourne, has gone into a six week lockdown due to a surge in cases. The second wave of cases in Melbourne has been largely a result of lapses in quarantining.
“For countries like Australia and New Zealand the source of such outbreaks is likely to be from managed isolation and quarantine facilities because of the large numbers of people held there and the multiple shifts of staff involved in looking after them,” said Michael Baker, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago.
There have been cases of returning New Zealanders sneaking out of quarantine, and other security slip ups.
New Zealand last week ramped up testing at quarantine facilities and clinics, and started work on technology to track people using Bluetooth technology.
Ardern kicked off her re-election campaign on Saturday calling it a ‘Covid election’.
But a resurgence of cases due to “Covid fatigue” could spark a backlash against her, and give the opposition a chance to work their way back into the election contest. (Repotring by Praveen Menon; Editing by Michael Perry)