Coronavirus

Coronavirus

A new strain of coronavirus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. It has since spread across the world and upended the lives of millions of people.

Taiwan offers fake flights for people who miss flying
You can check in but you can never leave, at least for now, from Taiwan’s Songshan Airport. The terminal in Taipei offered “fake” flights on July 2, 2020, to satisfy passengers hungry for a chance to travel as they wait for Covid-19 pandemic restrictions to be lifted. Thousands of people applied for “tickets to nowhere” that offered about 60 lucky passengers a chance to go through check-in procedures and board a plane that never left the ground.
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
Quarantine hotel ‘acting like bandits’ in China
When Wu boarded a flight back to China in early June, he breathed a sigh of relief. The 25-year-old Chinese businessman had been stranded in Pakistan for more than three months due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.  “I thought all would be good and right when I finally made it home,” said Wu, who asked for his name to be changed out of fear of retaliation by the authorities.  As soon as he landed in the eastern Chinese city of Jinan, Wu said, he and 180 other repatriated citizens faced a fresh set of ordeals: food poisoning and price-gouging from hotels. During their mandatory quarantine stay, the returnees from Pakistan were provided meals that were found to contain maggots, lady
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
China Trends: identity theft robs a woman of college and internet piles on Novak Djokovic
Every Tuesday and Thursday, China Trends takes the pulse of the Chinese social media to keep you in the loop of what the world’s biggest internet population is talking about. This woman “graduated” from a college she never attended A 36-year-old Chinese woman, Chen Chunxiu, recently found out she had her identity stolen 16 years ago by someone who then enrolled and graduated from college.  Most Chinese students get into college by taking part in the annual college entrance exam called gaokao, known for being brutally competitive because of China's large student population and a relatively limited number of top-ranking colleges.  In 2004, Chen Chunxiu was 20 when she took the exam but didn't
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
How the coronavirus is delivering more rubbish problems in China
For weeks, streets were empty and shops closed in cities across China as millions of people stayed in to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But for Xu Yuanhong, 35, who runs a garbage-sorting company in Beijing, business has never been better. “When people stay home, they have more time on their hands to produce more rubbish,” said Xu, whose company Ai Fenlei processes about 900 tons of rubbish every day. Since February, when the Chinese capital went into partial lockdown, Ai Fenlei has had to handle 20% more garbage each day than usual, with much of the extra waste packaging from deliveries. With the temporary closure of brick-and-mortar stores and consumers confined to their homes, the c
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