Simone McCarthy

Simone McCarthy

Reporter

Simone is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a reporter for the South China Morning Post and she previously wrote about China tech, business and society for SupChina.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English
Areas of Expertise
China society and education, gender rights
China to investigate ambassador’s death in Israel
China is sending a team of investigators to Israel to probe the death of Du Wei, its ambassador to the country, whose body was found at his residence in Tel Aviv on Sunday. The team, accompanied by a member of Du’s family, will handle arrangements for the remains, as well as conducting its own internal investigation, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Du, 57, died unexpectedly “of health reasons.” Du was last seen in public on Tuesday in a video conference with an official from Israel’s foreign affairs ministry, according to the embassy website. Du was assigned to serve in Israel in February, when China was in the throes of the corona
‘Viral sovereignty’: Why countries don’t always share virus samples
When a deadly disease breaks out and threatens the world, countries are obliged to share laboratory samples and other information to help fight it, right? Wrong. In 2007, Indonesia refused to give the World Health Organization samples of an H5N1 influenza strain from an outbreak in the country until it was guaranteed fair access to any vaccines created from the material. Welcome to the world of “viral sovereignty.” The ownership of pathogens and related data that emerge in one country is part of a long-standing debate that touches an exploitative colonial nerve: wealthy countries plundering the natural resources – including biodiversity – of poorer nations and profiting from it. With the co
Coronavirus may have been silently spreading as early as October, study says
The coronavirus that results in Covid-19 may have started its course toward a pandemic as early as October, according to a new study on the genetic make-up of the coronavirus. As debate on the origin of the virus continues, a growing body of research suggests the virus began spreading earlier than many thought. The pathogen, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, is thought to have made the jump from an animal host to humans some time between October 6 and December 11 last year, according to an article released on Tuesday and set to be published in the scientific journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution. The findings are based on analysis of more than 7,000 genome sequence assemblies collected from
Coronavirus patients are most contagious early on, study says
Most transmission of Covid-19 occurs at the very early stage of the disease or before the onset of symptoms, a study based on Taiwan’s contact tracing system has found. The research looked at the outcomes for 2,761 close contacts linked to Taiwan’s 100 confirmed cases of the disease, caused by a new coronavirus, up to March 18. Only 22 of those contacts were found to have contracted Covid-19, and all of them caught the disease from people who had not yet reached their sixth day of illness or had not even started to show symptoms. The findings – published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine on Friday – come as countries around the world are looking to
Coronavirus particles can linger in the air, study suggests
Research in China has added new evidence to the understanding of how the coronavirus – thought to spread mainly through contact with droplets from coughs and sneezes – may linger in the air. The findings suggest coronavirus particles could linger after being shaken from medical workers’ protective gear, or be present in the air in toilets used by patients. The data was based on measurements of particles in the air at two hospitals in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The study, set to be published in the journal Nature, indicates the virus may have the potential to be transmitted via small droplets suspended in the air called aerosols, the researchers said. Virus-laden aerosols may play a r
Chinese students in the US question their future amid rising tide of prejudice
Yue Qu did not expect to be spending the end of his first year of college alone in his room on a deserted campus in California. But he had little choice. Despite booking several tickets home to Chengdu, in southwest China, the flights kept getting canceled as China and other countries imposed air travel restrictions amid the escalating Covid-19 pandemic. “I have two tickets for May, but I’m not confident that those flights will run. There’s no reason for me to be here, and it’s a stressful experience staying here all alone,” he said. Yue is among the roughly 350,000 Chinese students studying at US colleges and universities, the largest group of foreign students in the country. It is not clea
Is China’s wildlife ban enough to prevent the next epidemic?
Soon after the central Chinese city of Wuhan went into lockdown two months ago, the central government fast-tracked a ban on the trade and consumption of wildlife. The coronavirus that has killed tens of thousands of people around the world first emerged in the city and many of the early patients were linked to the Huashan Seafood Wholesale Market, which sold wild animals. Research suggests that the virus came from bats, and likely went through an intermediate host, possibly pangolins, before reaching humans. The national ban – as well as others around the world – is an attempt to stop a similar pandemic disease from animals. But while the ban has been welcomed, health specialists say that b
The next pandemic and how to beat it
Since the start of this century, two disease outbreaks have been caused by new coronaviruses that made the leap from animal hosts to people. Covid-19 is the third. Medical science is fighting back with the tools it has and building new defenses, but the evidence suggests the three viruses behind these diseases are just the vanguard of an army of potential pathogens that may number in the thousands. That such a large pool of viruses exists in so-called animal reservoirs is not a surprise to scientists and researchers who study them.  But the concern is that evolving human behavior, both social and economic, is increasingly bumping up against new viruses living in animal habitats. Experts say
Study shows why you should never touch the outside of face mask
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can adhere to the outer layer of a face mask for a week, according to a study by researchers from the University of Hong Kong. “This is exactly why it is very important if you are wearing a surgical mask you don’t touch the outside of the mask,” said Malik Peiris, a clinical and public health virologist at the University of Hong Kong and a member of the research team. “Because you can contaminate your hands and if you touch your eyes you could be transferring the virus to your eyes.” The report, published in the medical journal Lancet Microbe on Thursday, adds to a growing body of research about the stability of SARS-CoV-2 – as the coronavirus is formally
The coronavirus has revealed an absence of global leadership
Olga Jonas worked as an economic adviser at the World Bank at a time when hundreds of staff focused on the global threats from climate change.  During the same period, as few as two people were looking at risks from disease pandemics. Jonas was one of them. She spent seven years at the bank coordinating the organization’s response to global avian and pandemic flu threats between 2006 and 2013, and it was an uphill fight to get attention, according to a report she wrote for the International Monetary Fund in 2014. “Although a recent World Bank report identified pandemics as one of the three major global risks – together with climate change and financial crises – most official discussions, re