Here is how Hong Kong could begin to reopen its borders
A leading public figure in mainland China’s fight against the coronavirus has suggested that Hong Kong should ease its border restrictions to boost its sluggish economy.  Zhong Nanshan, a top Chinese infectious disease expert who is often called a “Sars hero” for his pivotal role in fighting the 2002-2003 outbreak, said a mutually recognized health system between the city and the mainland could enable cross-boundary travelers to skip mandatory Covid-19 quarantines.  In an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post, Zhong also praised Hong Kong for its efforts to contain the new coronavirus and called for more cross-border interaction to reboot the city’s economy. “Hong Kong has do
Wuhan to test all 11 million residents for Covid-19
The 11 million residents of the central Chinese city of Wuhan are to be tested for Covid-19 after a cluster of new cases of the disease emerged over the weekend. The city – the outbreak’s initial epicenter – gave all of its districts until Tuesday to come up with plans to test all residents within 10 days, with residential estates and densely populated areas expected to receive special attention. The tests will cover not only people classed as residents, but also migrant workers, estimated to number in their millions. The district of Wuchang, which has a population of more than one million, is aiming to conduct the tests between May 13 and May 20, according to a government document obtained
Bats, a wet market, and many theories: Where did the coronavirus come from?
Scientists around the world are trying to trace the origin of the coronavirus, an effort that could help us get ahead of the next pandemic. In the video above, Inkstone speaks with infectious disease experts to find out what we know about how the devastating virus came into being and what we don’t know. The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video. The new coronavirus is thought to have originated in bats, and the initial outbreak has been linked to a live animal market in China. But there are other conspiracy theories about where it may have come from. So, what should we believe?  Understanding how the virus first infected humans may help us beat the pandemic or, at least, mit
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
This Chinese city’s coronavirus comeback shows challenges of opening up
After weeks in lockdown, many parts of Europe and the United States are planning to ease social restrictions as the number of new coronavirus cases slows.  But a new outbreak in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin serves as a cautionary tale about how quickly the virus can start spreading again, public health experts say. "The cases will likely go back up and we will have to tighten our lockdown strategy again," Kwok Kin-on, an infectious diseases specialist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told Inkstone. Harbin – which is about 300 miles from the Russian border – has reported 84 new cases since early April after weeks of reporting no new cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by t
Wuhan free of Covid-19 after months-long nightmare
Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, no longer has any Covid-19 patients in the hospital after the last 12 were discharged on Sunday. Their release ended a four-month nightmare for the city, where the disease was first detected in December.  The number of patients being treated for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, peaked on February 18 at 38,020 – nearly 10,000 of whom were in severe or critical condition. “With the joint efforts of Wuhan and the national medical aid given to Hubei province, all cases of Covid-19 in Wuhan were cleared as of April 26,” Mi Feng, a spokesman for the National Health Commission said on Sunday afternoon. The announcement c
China may have had four times more Covid-19 cases than it reported, study says
China’s official tally of coronavirus cases could have been four times higher in mid-February if one broader system for classifying confirmed patients had been used from the outset of the pandemic, according to researchers at the University of Hong Kong. In a study published in the Lancet medical journal on Tuesday, the researchers said China might have had 232,000 confirmed cases by February 20 if a revised definition adopted earlier in the month had been applied from the start of the outbreak. That is more than four times higher than the official tally then of about 55,000. To date, China has reported a total of about 83,000 infections. “The true number of infections could still be higher
The pandemic is bad for relationships. Just ask divorce lawyers
Psychologist Huang Jing has been busier than ever since the coronavirus outbreak began in China late last year.  More married couples are seeking her services, as their relationships are pushed to breaking point by the pressures of disease and enforced social isolation, she says. Based in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Huang has both domestic and overseas clients.  She said the pandemic was putting a “magnifying glass” on relationships, bringing cracks into sharper focus, with many families forced to stay at home together for months on end.  The coronavirus has sickened 2.5 million people globally and killed 177,688 as of Wednesday. In the US, the country most affected by the virus,
Coronavirus killed 50% more people in Wuhan than previously reported, officials said
The Chinese city of Wuhan said 50% more people died from the coronavirus than it previously reported.  The government of the central city, where the new coronavirus was first reported, on Friday added 1,290 more deaths to its tally, bringing the official death toll from 2,579 to 3,869. The change is consistent with the suspicion held by many doctors and residents in Wuhan that a significant number of Covid-19 deaths was not counted. Some people who likely contracted the coronavirus reportedly died before they could be diagnosed or treated because an explosion of patients paralyzed the city’s medical system. The government said the increase in the death toll was mainly because many people di
Why isn’t China handing out stimulus checks?
Millions of Americans this week began receiving a $1,200 check in their bank accounts as part of a $2 trillion US federal relief plan aimed at propping up an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic. Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and governments elsewhere have announced similar plans to give out money to their citizens. Others, such as Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, are providing cash subsidies to affected workers or lower-income groups. But China, the country where the coronavirus first emerged, has so far shunned the use of direct payments to support its economy, which shrank early this year for the first time since 1976. Shen Jianguang, chief economist of JD Digits, told Inksto