Lockdowns return to Beijing after coronavirus outbreak at food market
Beijing has imposed “wartime management” on one of its districts and locked down more than 20 housing estates after a new coronavirus outbreak at the city’s biggest vegetable market. There were 36 new reported cases on Sunday, taking the number in the capital’s fresh outbreak to 79 – all of them linked to the Xinfadi wholesale market, a huge food distribution center in southern Beijing that supplies food to northern provinces. Some of the cases were found in a second market, Yuquandong, but had links to Xinfadi. In Fengtai district, where Xinfadi market is located, 11 residential compounds had been locked down and were under guard, and a command center had been set up to oversee “wartime” re
Covid-19: China must not be complacent, top expert says
China still faces the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections, but another big outbreak is unlikely thanks to the country’s tight prevention and control measures, according to the country’s top respiratory disease specialist. “With our intensive follow-up monitoring procedures, the risks of a second wave [of coronavirus infections] exist but another peak is unlikely to occur [in China],” Zhong Nanshan said. Zhong, who heads a team of experts advising the Chinese government on the pandemic, said the authorities should not be complacent, with the coronavirus continuing to spread around the world. In addition, most people in China and East Asia had yet to develop immunity to the pathoge
Covid-19 blame game could scupper research, China’s top disease expert warns
The blame game between the US and China is putting important Covid-19 research at risk, according to China’s most renowned respiratory expert. Zhong Nanshan, 83 – who had a leading role in fighting the 2002-03 severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic and now advises the Chinese government on Covid-19 – said scientists around the world needed to team up to establish where the new coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, had come from. He said US epidemiologist Ian Lipkin, whom he had known since they worked together on the Sars outbreak, had approached him with a method to establish how the virus jumped to humans. But the work could be stalled for fear it would be distorted by political a
Chinese bat scientist says known viruses ‘just tip of the iceberg’
A Chinese virologist at the center of conspiracy theories over the coronavirus’ origin has publicly defended her work, saying it contributed to the fast identification of the new pathogen and would help protect against future outbreaks. Shi Zhengli – dubbed China’s “bat woman” for her research on coronaviruses in the mammals – told state broadcaster CGTN on Monday those studies had “enabled us to understand the cause of the unknown pneumonia a short time” after the first cases of the disease later named Covid-19 emerged late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Days after patient samples were obtained on December 30, scientists isolated the pathogen, believing it to be a new type
As coronavirus accusations fly, evidence grows that these bats were the source
The coronavirus that sparked the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have come from bats found in Asia, according to a new study by researchers in Hong Kong. University of Hong Kong microbiologists created a group of cells that resembled the intestine of the Chinese horseshoe bat, a species found in countries including China, India, Nepal and Vietnam. They were able to infect the cell structure with the coronavirus, known as Sars-CoV-2. Previous research had found that the bat species carried a virus like the one that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and which was similar to the new coronavirus. Taken together, the findings meant that “the Chinese horseshoe bat may really be the or
This Covid-19 vaccine is still in trials, but an Indian firm is already producing it
Serum, the Indian drug maker, is putting its faith in a Covid-19 vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford by starting mass production before it has been declared ready for use. It is a calculated risk backed by the deep pockets behind the world’s largest vaccine maker. Chairman Cyrus Poonawalla has a net worth of $10.6 billion and is known as India’s “vaccine king.” His company hopes to produce 40 million doses of the vaccine by September, the same deadline by which Oxford is aiming to complete human trials of the ChAdOX1 vaccine. About 1,100 people in Britain will be injected with the vaccine, as part of a trial funded by the British government that was started after promising re
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
China says it’s found what’s causing mystery pneumonia outbreak
China says it has identified a new strain of coronavirus from the same family that caused the 2002-03 Sars epidemic as the cause of a mystery pneumonia outbreak in the central city of Wuhan. At least 59 people have been infected since the outbreak was first reported last month, prompting worries about an epidemic like Sars, which killed hundreds of people in China. Laboratory tests have identified the new virus and the whole genome sequence has been obtained, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Thursday, citing a task force of medical experts. Fifteen patients in Wuhan had tested positive for the virus, which showed “typical coronavirus morphology,” the television report said. “The pathogen o
Cancer patients suffer brunt of new experimental drug law in China
After Wu Xianfa was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, he had surgery to remove part of his lower left lung. When his doctor recommended chemotherapy to wipe out any remaining cancer cells, Wu refused. Colleagues who had also had lung cancer had died after getting chemotherapy straight after surgery. Following a friend’s recommendation, the 50-year-old from Shanghai started taking an experimental drug. He signed an agreement with Shanghai Spark Pharmaceutical in April last year to join its trial – and says it has been a boon to his health. “I get no other treatments besides the drug,” Wu says. “I get regular checks at hospitals and send the reports about my cancer index and other medical
Chinese man contracts bubonic plague after eating wild rabbit
A man from Inner Mongolia, in northern China, has contracted the bubonic plague after eating a wild rabbit, the local health authority said on Sunday.  The diagnosis came less than a week after two other people from the region were reported to have fallen ill with the pneumonic form of the disease. Plague, which comes in three strains – bubonic, pneumonic and septicaemic – is categorized as the most severe contagious disease in China due to its high infection and mortality rates. The latest victim is a 55-year-old man who was not named. He caught and ate the rabbit on November 5 and appeared unaffected for more than a week. However, on Saturday he fell ill with a fever and went to the hospit