Nurse sisters strangled in coronavirus-struck city

Three sisters who worked in Mexico's government hospital system were found murdered by strangling.

Nurse sisters strangled in coronavirus-struck city

Three sisters who worked in Mexico's government hospital system were found murdered by strangling, authorities in the northern border state of Coahuila have announced, stirring new alarm in a country where attacks on health care workers have occurred across the nation amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Two of the sisters were nurses for the Mexican Social Security Institute and the third was a hospital administrator, but there was no immediate evidence the attack was related to their work. The state prosecutor told local media the motive might have been robbery.

State police said the bodies were found in a house in the city of Torreon. The Social Security Institute said they were killed on Thursday.

The National Union of Social Security Employees called the killings "outrageous and incomprehensible."

In other parts of Mexico, nurses have had been hit, kicked off public transport or had cleaning fluids poured on them amid fears they might spread the coronavirus. Mexican health authorities have denounced the attacks and urged medical personnel not to wear uniforms or scrubs on the street to avoid being targeted.

Meanwhile, the mayor of the border city of Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Mayor Armando Cabada said he had no symptoms, but Javier Corral, the governor of Chihuahua state, said he was self-isolating as a precaution because he had contact with Cabada.

At least three of Mexico's 31 state governors have tested positive for the virus.

Ciudad Juarez has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with about two-thirds of the state's confirmed cases and 104 of its 125 deaths.

While federal authorities had predicted Mexico's caseload would peak sometime around Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Friday that case numbers might not plateau for another 12 days before any possible descent.

"We are at the phase of the highest contagion, we are at the peak, and according to the information we are getting, this could continue until the 20th of this month," López Obrador said. "The projection is that from that date, the number of cases would start to fall.

Mexico has almost 30,000 confirmed cases, though officials have estimated the real number may be eight times higher. The country has seen almost 3,000 deaths.

But there have been reports by several media outlets, including The Associated Press, suggesting that many coronavirus deaths go uncounted in official figures because of Mexico's extremely low testing rate.

Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell acknowledged that "the deaths of people with COVID cannot always be documented," but said suspected deaths would be reviewed later and perhaps added to official statistics if warranted.

He said many patients arrive at hospitals "in such serious condition that timely laboratory tests are not possible." Even though postmortem tests can be conducted, he acknowledged that is seldom done in Mexico.

"So we have people who unfortunately lost their lives, and who have had clinical conditions that suggest COVID but who are not registered because they do not have a laboratory test," López-Gatell said.

Source : 9 News More   

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University students face uncertain times amid pandemic

While states have been in contest over the issue of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, many university students have been left to navigate the situation on their own. 

University students face uncertain times amid pandemic

While states have been in contest over the issue of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, many university students have been left to navigate the situation on their own. 

On top of adjusting to online classes, students are also facing delays in their degrees, increased debts and the prospect of trying to find graduate jobs in an economy struggling to support the tens of thousands of people and businesses out of work.

Fourth-year university student, Daniel Snell, is studying media arts and production. He had planned to a year abroad in Vietnam but has now found himself out of pocket over $2500 and a year behind in his studies.

"With the dream of going on exchange, I extended my degree by a year and went part-time last year which not only delayed my graduation by a year but also meant that I was ineligible for student concessions," Mr Snell said.

"I has also turned down offers for full-time work that I had received around my original expected graduation date."

After making the decision to study abroad to gain extra experience and broaden his employment prospects, Mr Snell said he rearranged his entire life.

"I put my entire life, career and graduation on hold for a year to study overseas and now that has backfired majorly.

"I could have graduated by now with a full-time job and wage but now I'm facing the prospect of looking for graduate jobs during a recession and pretty uncertain financial times."

Mr Snell said he feels the Vietnamese universities were better equipped to deal with the pandemic and while Australia universities were scrambling to transition, his exchange university had already moved his course online.

"I had already been studying my Vietnamese subjects for three weeks and have continued to study those classes for this entire semester."

For students like Mr Snell who are hoping to build a career in arts or entertainment, the prospect of the task of getting a solid foothold in the industry seems near impossible.  

With film, theatre and music industries struggling more than ever, the task of getting a solid start to a career has been near impossible.

Design student, Amy Lane, said since the pandemic began, she has been unable to gain the kinds of skills she needs to begin a career in her chosen industry.

"The main concern for everyone is missing out on work for our portfolios in a competitive industry," she said.

"Zoom is dramatically decreasing the value of our practical lessons as well.

"We just don't have access to the workrooms we need and the entire course is based on collaboration with other people to put on a show."

Ms Lane said students are working to convince universities to subsidise their fees due to being unable to take full advantage of university education.

While TAFE's and other tertiary institutions are offering free courses, university students like Amy are adding thousands to their HECS debts.

"We aren't getting the industry practice we pay for," she said.

The university has defended its handling of the pandemic.

"COVID-19 has been exceptionally disruptive for all in our community," a spokesperson from UTS told Nine.com.au.

"Our number one priority throughout has been the health and safety of our students and staff, while trying to minimise the negative effects of the pandemic on study and work.

"We've managed to maintain a high level of quality when it comes to the student learning experience, despite the speed with which we needed to transition to remote teaching and the majority of our students have appreciated that."

Source : 9 News More   

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