New Zealand reports more COVID-19 cases ahead of lockdown decision

first_imgBloomfield dismissed suggestions by health experts it was likely the virus had been quietly spreading in Auckland for weeks, saying there was “very good evidence” that was not the case.”The nature of this outbreak shows how once you identify the first case you find quite a lot quite quickly,” he said. “We just wouldn’t have not found cases in community if it was lurking away in the community.”Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said late on Thursday that a quarantine facility breach had been identified as the source, but Hipkins said there was no evidence for that yet.The main opposition National Party has blasted the government, saying it failed to secure quarantine facilities and accusing it of withholding information about the latest outbreak.Economy worriesNew Zealanders celebrated when Ardern appeared to eliminate community transmission of the coronavirus with the earlier hard lockdown that forced almost everyone to stay at home.But opinion is divided on whether the 40-year-old leader should repeat that strategy, given its huge economic cost and mounting global evidence that the virus cannot be permanently suppressed.Westpac Banking Corp estimated the current level of lockdown measures in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand would cost the economy about NZ$300 million, or 0.5% of gross domestic product.Reserve Bank of New Zealand Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand told Reuters a sustained resurgence of the virus posed “a major risk” to the bank’s outlook, given its baseline scenario has an assumption that the virus is contained in the country.Ardern is expected to announce her decision on lockdown measures at 1730 local time (0530 GMT) after meeting with her cabinet and the release of the daily infection numbers.Topics : New Zealand’s first coronavirus outbreak in three months has spread further, officials reported on Friday, just hours before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to announce whether a lockdown in the country’s biggest city will be extended.Officials reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, all linked to a now 30-strong cluster that was first detected in a family in Auckland two days ago. Officials believe an imported strain of the virus is responsible for the country’s first outbreak in three months, but are still investigating how the family was infected.Ardern, under pressure ahead of a general election next month, repeated her “go hard, go early” response to the pandemic this week, putting Auckland, home to about 1.7 million people, into lockdown and reinstating social distancing measures across the country. Ardern is due to announce later on Friday whether those measures will be extended, but there is growing concern that a repeat of the tough five-week lockdown she imposed earlier in the year could cripple the economy.Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said it was a positive sign that all the new confirmed cases were linked to the Auckland cluster, but noted two were recorded in Tokorua, in the neighboring Waikato region. Authorities had also identified one other probable case, Bloomfield said, in which connections still had to be traced.”We are not out of the woods yet,” he said during a televised news conference, adding that contact tracing and testing would continue at high levels in coming days.Health Minister Chris Hipkins said genome testing suggested the new virus outbreak had originated in Britain or Australia, but officials were still investigating how the family in Auckland contracted it.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Joins Philadelphia Officials for Funding Announcement on I-95

first_img Infrastructure,  Press Release,  Results,  Transportation Philadelphia — Governor Tom Wolf today joined PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards, Mayor Jim Kenney and Janet Haas of the William Penn Foundation for a funding announcement and update on the future reconstruction of Interstate 95 in the city.With the reconstruction of I-95, built in the 1970s, connections are being restored between the Delaware River waterfront and the rest of the city. Since 1997, PennDOT has been investing in rebuilding and improving the 51-mile I-95 corridor in southeastern Pennsylvania. Currently, $1.7 billion is programmed to complete the rebuilding of I-95 between Cottman Avenue and Interstate 676, the Vine Street Expressway. These improvements have included mitigation to improve the aesthetics for neighborhoods where the viaducts carrying I-95 are located and which were greatly impacted by the original construction 50 years ago.Over the next decade, an upcoming phase of the reconstruction project is a $3 billion to $4 billion investment to rebuild the five-mile stretch, a portion already below ground but mostly on viaduct, between I-676 and Broad Street in South Philadelphia, but all of which impacts the city’s connection to the Delaware River. On the north end of this section, at Penn’s Landing, a new and expanded cap over I-95 will reconnect Penn’s Landing to the city. On the south end of this section, the reconstruction project will improve access to the growing Philadelphia port complex.The state, city and foundation will partner on underwriting the $225 million cost of replacing and expanding the existing cap over I-95 and Christopher Columbus Boulevard.  The project would extend the cap beyond the current boundaries between Chestnut and Walnut streets and extend it over Columbus Boulevard.“We are showing how partnerships between the public and private sectors deliver important benefits that improve both our quality of life and economy,” Governor Wolf said. “In this case, as Interstate 95 will be rebuilt, we have partnered with the city and the William Penn Foundation to restore and enhance the river’s connection to Center City.”“By the private and public sectors partnering and sharing the cost for the cap now, we will save future state and federal highway dollars,” Richards said. “This partnership will allow us to meet our community responsibilities as we improve this critical artery, one of the busiest in the state.”I-95 carries roughly 120,000 vehicles a day in the section between I-676 and Broad Street.The landscaping on the cap, funded by the William Penn Foundation contribution, also addresses storm water mitigation by providing green infrastructure for water quality improvements, which ordinarily are very challenging to meet in urban settings.The state is committing $110 million, including $10 million for preliminary engineering and design, which is already underway. The city is committing $90 million and the foundation has committed $15 million with the commitment to raise the additional $10 million needed for the project.“This three-way partnership will deliver benefits for the city while improving mobility and allowing PennDOT to meet its goals of managing transportation in an efficient and effective way,” Richards said. June 09, 2017 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Governor Wolf Joins Philadelphia Officials for Funding Announcement on I-95last_img read more

Japan’s Pension Fund Association awards Hermes stewardship mandate

first_imgThe appointment comes after Japan’s first corporate governance code came into effect last June. The country’s stewardship code, the Principles for Responsible Institutional Investors, was introduced in 2014.Hermes EOS was involved in the development and promotion of the two codes and, together with Hermes Investment Management, was one of the first signatories to the Stewardship Code.Daisuke Hamaguchi, CIO at the PFA, said: “We are pleased to have appointed Hermes EOS to aid us in the implementation of the requirements of the Stewardship and Corporate Governance Codes.“At a high level, our focus is to improve the transparency and efficiency of Japan’s capital markets to attract more investors, not only from within Japan but also from overseas. It is about time the industry started acting as good stewards.”The appointment follows that of Masaru Arai, who joined Hermes EOS in early February as senior engagement consultant. He is based in Japan, where he will focus on engagement in the country on behalf of Hermes EOS and its clients. Masaru is chair of the Japan Sustainable Investment Forum and was previously CIO at Daiwa Asset Management, where he worked for 19 years.Hans-Christoph Hirt, co-head of Hermes EOS, said: “We are honoured to have been selected by one of Japan’s largest pension funds to provide our stewardship services and look forward to working with Japanese companies on PFA’s behalf.“This comes at a crucial time for stewardship and corporate governance in Japan, and we are delighted to be a part of these important developments.”As at the end of fiscal year 2014, the PFA had a 17.2% allocation to domestic equities, according to its website. Its biggest allocation was in domestic bonds (42%), followed by foreign equities (28.5%), with foreign bonds representing a 12.8% share of the asset allocation for what is referred to as the ‘basic pension’.The UK has had a stewardship code since 2010, which inspired Denmark to draft its own. The International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), meanwhile, is working on a global stewardship code that builds on that in Japan and the UK.Hemes EOS declined to comment on the tender process. Japan’s JPY12.7trn (€101bn) Pension Fund Association (PFA) has appointed Hermes EOS to deliver and implement the investor’s stewardship activities in relation to the country’s stewardship and corporate governance codes.The PFA manages assets on behalf of those individuals who withdrew from corporate pension plans after a short period – usually less than 10 years – and provides pension benefits to them.The PFA is Hermes EOS’s first Japanese client.Neither the value nor duration of the appointment was disclosed.last_img read more