Health

Health

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
Chinese people are using fake Covid-19 test results to fly home from Russia
Chinese citizens have faked Covid-19 test results so they could board flights home from Russia, prompting multiple warnings from Beijing’s envoy to Moscow. The embassy issued warnings on May 29 and again on Sunday after discovering people had forged negative results for nucleic acid tests that the Chinese government requires passengers to have taken within the five days preceding their flight from Russia to China. It said the passengers had endangered the health of the passengers and crews of the flights, and undermined China’s domestic epidemic prevention work. The counterfeiters were under investigation and would “bear corresponding legal responsibilities,” it said. Released by the embassy
Mongolia is largely spared by the coronavirus. Some credit Genghis Khan
As the coronavirus ravages the globe, Mongolia has been a curious outlier. Despite bordering China, the outbreak’s initial epicenter, Mongolia has recorded zero deaths and just over 200 infections. All patients have been imported; not a single person was infected inside the country. Many Mongolians attribute this low number of cases – 204 as of Saturday – to clean air and a steady diet of natural, free-range meat and milk. They also believe that generations of constant work, riding horses, herding sheep and surviving dramatic temperature swings, from -76°F to 113°F (-60°C to 45°C), have made them more resistant to disease. Then there is the legacy of Genghis Khan, which some Mongolians belie
Coronavirus mutations raise vaccine worries
Recovered Covid-19 patients in China may still be vulnerable to a mutant form of the pathogen spreading overseas, a new study says. Professor Huang Ailong from Chongqing Medical University said there is an urgent need to determine what threat the mutation, known as D614G, poses to people who have recovered from a different form of the virus. D614G began spreading in Europe in early February. By May, it was the dominant strain around the world, having been found in 70% of sequenced samples in Europe and North America. Antibodies found in patients who had been infected with earlier forms of the pathogen failed to neutralize the mutant strain, the scientists said in a paper published on Biorxi
Salmon scare grips Beijing amid coronavirus outbreak
China has halted imports from European salmon suppliers after state-run newspapers reported that chopping boards used for the fish contained traces of coronavirus, although experts say the fish itself is unlikely to carry the disease. Beijing is currently trying to contain an outbreak centered on the Xinfadi market that has so far infected 137 people. The reports prompted major supermarkets in Beijing to remove salmon from their shelves. “We have stopped all sales to China and are waiting for the situation to be clarified,” said Stein Martinsen, head of sales and marketing at Norway Royal Salmon. Mike Ryan, the head of the World Health Organization’s emergency program, said the claim that t
Coronavirus turns Germans more critical of the US than China
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 73%: The proportion of Germans whose opinion of the US has deteriorated because of how America has handled the coronavirus pandemic. The number more than doubles the 36% who said their opinion of China has deteriorated because of the pandemic, according to a survey of 1,057 people conducted in early April by the Körber Foundation, a German non-profit that promotes political dialogue. On the flip side, only 5% of Germans had their perception of America improve, compared to 25% for China. “America’s response to the virus has clearly accelerated a feeling of estrangement on the
China’s coronavirus censorship at home comes at a global cost
Cui Yongyuan may not be a household name in the West, but the former state media television host has almost 20 million social media followers in China, or about double those tracking the Twitter account of CNN’s Anderson Cooper in the US. Cui was one of the highest-profile bloggers on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, where he was known for his social commentary and whistle-blowing. But last year his posting stopped and in May he found that posts containing his nickname “Xiaocui” had been blocked. That same month his account on WeChat, which has 1 billion active users worldwide, was suspended citing fraud, according to screenshots he posted on Twitter. “My name is censored. Are you tryi