In the eastern Afghan city of Herat, 18-year-old high school student Somaya Faruqi adjusts a suction cap as she puts the finishing touches before unveiling a low-cost, lightweight ventilator created by her and six other young women.
The all-female Afghan Robotics Team, which has won international awards for its robots, started work in March on an open-source, low-cost ventilator as the coronavirus pandemic hit the war-torn nation.
It took the team almost four months to finalize the ventilator, which is partly based on a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) design, and they received guidance from experts at Harvard University.
Photo: Reuters 照片：路透
The device is easy to carry, can run on battery power for 10 hours and costs around US$700 (approx. NT$21,000) to produce, compared with the US$20,000 price of a traditional ventilator.
Although the ventilator still has to undergo final testing from health authorities before it can be used, officials welcome it in a country with only 800 ventilators, to treat the fast-growing number of coronavirus cases in a health system damaged by decades of war.
Health Ministry spokesman Akmal Samsor said once the ventilators were approved they would be rolled out in Afghan hospitals and the design shared with the World Health Organization.
Afghanistan has recorded 36,710 COVID-19 cases and 1,283 deaths, though experts warn that the true count is probably far higher due to low testing rates.
1. ventilator n. 呼吸器 (hu1 xi1 qi4)
2. robotics n. 機器人學 (ji1 qi4 ren2 xue2)
3. war-torn phr. 飽受戰火摧殘的 (bao3 shou4 zhan4 huo3 cui1 can2 de5)
4. device n. 裝置 (zhuang1 zhi4)
Shocks to supply chains are engulfing a wider swath of the global economy as the pandemic rages on, threatening to stifle Asia’s trade-led recovery just as soaring freight rates make it harder for businesses to weather another year like 2020. Shortages of consumer goods like paper towels and work-from-home gear early in the COVID-19 crisis have given way to parts shortfalls in one of the most globally integrated of industries: auto manufacturing. Compounding the industrial imbalances are transport woes plaguing consumer and healthcare sectors still dealing with a dearth of available shipping containers to move components and finished products out of China,
Taiwan has recently been hit by a succession of cold spells. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration (HPA) has issued a special reminder for scooter and motorcycle riders to beware of strong winds that could cause their body temperature to drop too fast, and to take precautions against the cold. People should memorize the warning signs of heart disease and stroke, and anyone who suffers from facial drooping, arm weakness or speech difficulties should promptly be taken for medical treatment. All parts of Taiwan have been experiencing cold weather under the influence of a strong continental cold
B: I envy your friend. I’d love to work from home. A: He doesn’t mind not being able to meet his colleagues face to face every day. Still, even he occasionally misses the office buzz and ability to socialize. His wife finds the situation more difficult, though. B: Why? She doesn’t like him hanging around the house all day? A: No, she has a job, too, with many international clients, and she’s used to traveling overseas on a regular basis. She’s finding the situation a bit disorientating. B: 我好羨慕你朋友喔，我很想在家工作。 A: 不能每天跟同事見面，他並不介意。可是他偶爾還是會想念辦公室充滿活力的氣氛，可以跟大家社交。可是現在這種情況對他太太來說比較難熬。 B: 為甚麼？他太太不喜歡他一天到晚都在家晃來晃去？ A: 不是，他太太自己也有工作，而且有很多國際客戶，以前常常出國。現在這種情況讓她覺得有點無所適從。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English
I certainly won’t miss the commute! (4/5) 我對通勤是絕對不會想念的！（四） B: Urban planners are going to have to massively rethink how cities are designed. Business districts will go out of the window. Office buildings will have to be repurposed. Commuter routes will become a thing of the past. A: They will be able to make open, green spaces for people to work in, which will be easier now with all this wireless connectivity. It’s going to be great! B: Careful what you wish for. We might not be tethered to the office, but we’ll still be tied to our mobile devices. We’ll still need to be contactable 24/7, slaves