Health

Health

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.
Xinjiang residents grapple with sweeping coronavirus measures
Residents in China’s Xinjiang region say they are confined to their homes and forced to take herbal medicines during a blanket lockdown to contain a recent coronavirus outbreak, measures that they say are harsher than those elsewhere in the country. In Urumqi, the capital of the far western border region, most residents have been banned from leaving their apartments since July 16, when a fresh Covid-19 outbreak was discovered. To date, the virus has infected about 900 people in a city of 3.5 million. Although no new cases have been confirmed since August 16, residents say they have not been told about when the prolonged lockdown will be lifted. Two of them told Inkstone the strict lockdown m
China’s top respiratory disease expert suggests mass Covid-19 testing in Hong Kong
China’s top respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan has urged the Hong Kong government to carry out citywide Covid-19 testing to contain its third wave of local infections. Hong Kong registered a triple-digit rise in Covid-19 cases for the eighth day running on Wednesday, pushing its total infections over 3,000 since its first coronavirus outbreak in late January. The city’s authorities are battling to manage the burden on local hospitals as a result of the surge and are facing the additional challenge that the origin of more than half of daily infections have been untraceable since mid-July. “My understanding is that Hong Kong people are now being tested on a voluntary basis,” Zhong said i
Hong Kong may pay higher price for lack of mass Covid-19 testing, expert says
Hong Kong could pay a high price in the long term for not conducting mass testing to achieve “zero cases” in the fight against Covid-19, a leading Chinese epidemiologist said.  “Hong Kong’s strategy is to keep the pandemic at a low level rather than trying to achieve zero cases,” Zhang Wenhong, head of Shanghai’s Covid-19 clinical expert team, said on the Twitter-like Weibo on Saturday. “Such measures consume fewer medical resources in the short term, but might inflict higher social and economic costs in the long term.” Zhang, who is also director of the infectious diseases department at Huashan Hospital at Fudan University in Shanghai, said Hong Kong’s strategy on Covid-19 testing was diffe
Even a coronavirus vaccine won’t offer an easy way out
The future remains foggy as the coronavirus pandemic charges into the second half of the year, with more than 1 million new infections reported in the past week. But one thing is clear: there is no easy way out. Infectious disease experts can only theorize about what trajectory the virus will take in the coming months and whether it will embed itself permanently in the population and circulate every year. But they generally agree that the future will depend on how governments and people behave. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, said on Monday that things would only get “worse and worse and worse” if countries and people did not take the necessary
Hong Kong's Covid-19 third wave ‘getting a bit out of hand’
Hong Kong is expected to tighten its social-distancing measures after a third wave of Covid-19 cases hit the city with health authorities warning the situation was "getting a bit out of hand." The city announced 52 new cases on Monday, in line with the recent escalation in cases, taking the total number of infections to 1,521, including seven deaths. Forty-one of the new cases were transmitted locally, and the source of 20 of these infections remained unknown. City officials met to discuss the new cases and were expected to further tighten social-distancing measures later in the day, having already reintroduced some restrictions last week. These included limiting restaurant customers to eig
How China tests millions of people for Covid-19
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. When the coronavirus devastated China’s central city of Wuhan in January 2020, many people who suspected they caught the virus were left in the dark. The health system was stretched to its breaking point and test kits were in short supply. Many Chinese people who may have contracted the virus had to wait for days or weeks to get tested, a prerequisite for treatment. Some people died before getting diagnosed.  Fast forward to mid-May and the same city organized a free testing campaign that covered 9.9 million residents over two weeks. The goal was to weed
When coronavirus vaccines are ready, who will get them first?
Several coronavirus vaccine candidates have reached the final phase of human trials and others are not far behind, but who will benefit from them once they are ready for general distribution remains to be seen. The World Health Organisation and political leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping have called for Covid-19 vaccines to be treated as a global public good. But in reality, many countries are striking deals with pharmaceutical firms to make sure they are the first to benefit. One of the vaccines near the head of the pack, developed by researchers at the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca, could
Health workers praised online, but face abuse during pandemic
Health workers around the world have been one of the most essential sectors in the fight against the coronavirus. But the pandemic has brought more violence and abuse to these integral workers.  The International Committee of the Red Cross said it received 208 reports of incidents against health care professionals in various countries between late February and April. They included harassment and violence, as well as stigmatization for treating the virus. Initial violent incidents against health workers were reported in China, where the virus first emerged. In late March, local news reported a CT scan operator in central Hubei province was attacked by two coronavirus patients who were frustra
Chinese firms are taking human trials of Covid-19 vaccines overseas
A Chinese developer has been authorized to start large-scale human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate in the United Arab Emirates. China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a state-owned company, said the clinical trials were approved by the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention during a teleconference on Tuesday. Chinese vaccine developers are looking overseas for the “phase three” trials, which involve thousands of people, because there were not currently enough cases of Covid-19 in the country to be considered suitable for testing. Two other Chinese developers, CanSino and Sinovac Biotech, have previously announced they will start phase three trials elsewhere – in Canada and Brazil respec