Josephine Ma

Josephine Ma

News editor, China

Josephine is a contributor to Inkstone. She is China editor-at-large for the South China Morning Post.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Areas of Expertise
China politics, diplomacy, Covid 19 and Sars
Xi Jinping wants this city to lead China out of trouble
Chinese President Xi Jinping has charged the southern metropolis Shenzhen with taking China’s innovation and economic reforms to a higher level at a time when the world had entered a time of “turmoil and changes.” In a wide-ranging speech to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, Xi also called on the municipality to better integrate the two economies of Hong Kong and Macau into the Greater Bay Area and to attract young people from Hong Kong to study and live on the mainland. In the 50-minute-long speech, Xi laid out a wide range of economic and political missions for Shenzhen, which has been a front runner of China’s reform experiment for 40 ye
Covid-19: There won’t be enough vaccines for a return to normal life until 2022, WHO scientist says
Do not expect there to be enough Covid-19 vaccines for life to return to normal until 2022, World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan predicted on Tuesday. Swaminathan said the WHO’s Covax initiative, the resource-pooling mechanism to provide equitable vaccine access to countries with different income levels, would only be able to garner around hundreds of millions of doses by the middle of next year, meaning each of the some 170 countries or economies that have joined “will have something.” But the number of doses will be too small to change the need for social distancing and mask wearing until production is increased and reaches the goal of 2 billion by the end of 2021.
China sets out its targets for Covid-19 vaccines
Covid-19 vaccines must protect at least half of those given the injection and provide at least six months’ immunity if they are to be approved for use in China, the country’s drug regulator has announced. According to a draft document released by the Chinese Center for Drug Evaluation (CCDE), 50% is the minimum efficacy rate allowable, although 70% is the target. The document said also that the regulator would consider allowing the emergency use of vaccines that have not yet completed their final phase of clinical trials. Chinese companies are among the frontrunners in the race to produce a vaccine for Covid-19, with four candidates undergoing final testing. A total of 29 products are under
Covid-19 vaccines may be ready in early 2021. That’s a start
With six Covid-19 vaccine candidates undergoing final clinical trials, initial data about whether they can protect people from the disease is expected to be available in the next two to three months, assuming all goes well. That gives hope to the possibility that a vaccine could hit the market by early next year. However, that does not necessarily mean the global community will be out of the woods.  One concern is that, while the possible candidates use different technologies, they have adopted a similar strategy for attacking the SARS-CoV-2 virus.   The worry is that if the one candidate proves to be effective, the chances of the others succeeding are high. But the opposite scenario also a
China’s leaders in Covid-19 vaccine race use a method shunned in the West
As China leads the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, its scientists are largely pinning their hopes on a technology that has been used for decades. Five out of 10 potential vaccines undergoing clinical trials have been developed by Chinese scientists, while a sixth is the result of a partnership between a Chinese company and a German biotech firm, according to the World Health Organization. But China is adopting a very different approach in its hunt for a vaccine against the disease caused by the new coronavirus. It is the only country pouring resources into the use of inactivated viruses, a technique used in vaccines against numerous diseases in the past – including hepatitis A, influenza
China may have had four times more Covid-19 cases than it reported, study says
China’s official tally of coronavirus cases could have been four times higher in mid-February if one broader system for classifying confirmed patients had been used from the outset of the pandemic, according to researchers at the University of Hong Kong. In a study published in the Lancet medical journal on Tuesday, the researchers said China might have had 232,000 confirmed cases by February 20 if a revised definition adopted earlier in the month had been applied from the start of the outbreak. That is more than four times higher than the official tally then of about 55,000. To date, China has reported a total of about 83,000 infections. “The true number of infections could still be higher
At least 59% of coronavirus cases went unreported in Wuhan, study says
Around 60% of people who contracted the coronavirus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan were asymptomatic or very mild cases not reported to the authorities, according to a study led by a group of Chinese researchers. The paper suggests that by February 18 the total number of infections in Wuhan, the first epicenter of the coronavirus, could have exceeded 125,000, more than three times the number of confirmed cases, 38,020, reported at the time. The estimate adds to a body of research seeking to estimate the true extent of the spread of coronavirus beyond counting patients with clear symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The study, conducted by researchers from Huazh
Scientists across the world are racing to find existing drugs that can treat Covid-19
Developing a new drug usually takes years, but scientists are racing against that clock to repurpose existing medications or pre-approved substances to manufacture an antiviral drug to battle Covid-19. As the coronavirus pandemic hit more countries around the world, and death tolls rose, the World Health Organization identified four medications last week and started a global trial. The trial is known as Solidarity. Two of the potential medications are drug cocktails. The non-cocktail treatments center around remdesivir, which was originally designed for treating Ebola, and the antimalaria drug chloroquine. One cocktail is a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir. The other co
WHO says silent spread of coronavirus ‘extremely rare.’ Classified data from China suggests otherwise
The number of “silent carriers” – people who are infected by the new coronavirus but show delayed or no symptoms – could be as high as one-third of those who test positive, according to classified Chinese government data seen by the South China Morning Post. That could further complicate the strategies being used by countries to contain the virus, which has infected more than 340,000 people and killed more than 14,000 globally. More than 43,000 people in China had tested positive for Covid-19 by the end of February but had no immediate symptoms, a condition typically known as asymptomatic, according to the data. They were placed in quarantine and monitored but were not included in the offici
Chinese documents give new clues to when coronavirus started spreading
The first case of someone in China suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, can be traced back to November 17, according to government data seen by the South China Morning Post. The finding suggests that the first case of the illness was dated two to three weeks earlier than the first confirmed Covid-19 case recognized by the World Health Organization and some researchers. China first alerted the WHO to cases of the then-unknown disease on December 31. Interviews with whistle-blowers from the medical community suggest Chinese doctors only realized they were dealing with a new disease in late December. Several Chinese medical professionals have accused the authoriti