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Wuhan suspends public transportation, outward flights, trains to curb spread of deadly virus


2020-01-23 浏览

Central China's megacity of Wuhan battling with a pneumonia outbreak has announced to suspend public transportation, and close the airport and railway stations to outgoing passengers, while asking citizens not to leave the city without specific reasons.

City buses, subways, ferries and long-distance coaches, as well as flights and trains for outgoing passengers will be suspended starting from 10am on Thursday until further notice, said a notice issued in the wee hours of Thursday by Wuhan's headquarters for the control and treatment of the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.

The measures will be taken in a bid to "effectively cut off the virus spread, resolutely curb the outbreak and guarantee the people's health and safety," the notice said.

A total of 444 cases of new coronavirus-related pneumonia and 17 deaths had been reported in Hubei Province as of 8pm on Wednesday, with the majority in Wuhan, the provincial capital.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Snake might be animal reservoir of novel coronavirus: study


2020-01-23 浏览

A study published on Wednesday in the Journal of Medical Virology showed that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the novel coronavirus that had caused 17 deaths in central China's Hubei Province.

Scientists from Peking University Health Science Center School of Basic Medical Sciences, the First affiliated Hospital of Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine, Ruikang Hospital Affiliated to Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine, Ningbo University's School of Medicine, and Wuhan University of Bioengineering carried out a comprehensive analysis on the existing sequences of the newly identified coronavirus.

They used a method called "relative synonymous codon usage" (RSCU) bias to compare RNA sequences of different animal species.

Snake was one of the animals being sold in Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market before its closure. The market is believed to be related to most of the infected cases.

Results obtained from the analyses suggested that the new virus 2019-nCoV appeared to be a recombinant virus between the bat coronavirus and an origin-unknown coronavirus.

The recombination occurred within the viral spike glycoprotein, which recognizes cell surface receptor. Additionally, their findings suggested that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV based on its RSCU bias resembling snake compared to other animals.

Taken together, the research results suggested that homologous recombination within the spike glycoprotein may contribute to cross-species transmission from snake to humans.

Glycoprotein is a group of conjugated proteins containing small amounts of carbohydrates.

Chinese health authorities have posted the full genome of 2019-nCoV in the genetic sequence database of US National Institutes of Health and the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Xi, Merkel exchange greetings over phone ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year


2020-01-23 浏览

Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel exchanged greetings via phone on Wednesday ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Merkel congratulated Xi and the Chinese people on the Lunar New Year, wishing the Chinese people good luck and happiness. Xi also extended New Year greetings to Merkel and the German people.

Noting that this year features multiple important items on the political agenda between China and Germany as well as between China and the European Union, Xi said it is necessary for the two sides to maintain close communication and jointly push for new development of China-Germany and China-EU relations in the new year.

The Chinese president pointed out that as the world is becoming more turbulent, China and Germany shoulder important responsibilities and their cooperation has gone beyond the bilateral scope.

China, Xi said, always attaches great importance to developing relations with Germany, and hopes that the two countries will become cooperation partners that can rely on each other and transcend ideological differences.

China's economic and trade cooperation with relevant countries will not affect the interests of its other trading partners, including Europe and Germany, he said, adding that the Chinese market will continue to grow.

China is willing to make further plans with Germany for bilateral cooperation in such fields as economy, trade, science and technology, and people-to-people exchanges in the spirit of win-win cooperation, and hopes for Germany to continue to create a level playing field for Chinese enterprises investing in Germany, Xi said.

China, he added, is ready to strengthen communication with Germany on the fight against climate change and issues of global economic governance such as the reform of the World Trade Organization.

Xi stressed that 2020 is an important year for China-EU relations, and that China always views and develops its relations with the EU from a strategic and long-term perspective, and supports European integration.

China stands ready to work with EU countries to forge consensus and focus on cooperation, so as to contribute to building an open world economy, upholding multilateralism and free trade, and safeguarding world peace and stability, Xi said, adding that his country is willing to work with Germany to create conditions for and make more achievements in the important series of China-EU exchanges.

For her part, Merkel said Germany attaches great importance to developing a cooperative partnership with China. Noting that Germany and China have much in common, she expressed her hope that the two sides will maintain fruitful dialogue and exchanges at all levels and promote mutually beneficial cooperation.

She said Germany is pleased to see that China and the United States have reached a phase-one economic and trade agreement.

Germany appreciates that the Chinese market stays open to Germany, said the chancellor, adding that the German market will remain open to China as well, and that Germany will treat fairly enterprises from all countries, including China.

As the EU and China have a series of important items on their agenda this year, Germany is willing to communicate and coordinate closely with China to ensure success, especially to make positive progress in such aspects as the EU-China investment agreement, joint efforts against climate change, and cooperation in third-party markets, Merkel said.

She added that cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries and China is an important part of EU-China cooperation.

On the outbreak of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus in China, Merkel said Germany appreciates China's efforts to respond in a timely manner, stay open and transparent, and actively carry out international cooperation, adding that Germany is willing to provide China with support and assistance.

Xi expressed his gratitude to Germany, and stressed that China is willing to strengthen cooperation with the international community, including Germany and the World Health Organization.

Merkel thanked Xi for sending a high-level representative to the Berlin Conference on Libya. The two leaders also exchanged views on current major global and regional issues.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China eyes medium-high speed growth of economy this year


2020-01-22 浏览

China will continue focusing on supply-side structural reform and implement various policies this year to ensure medium-high growth and move to a medium-high level of development.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the remarks at a press briefing Tuesday when asked to comment on the International Monetary Fund's report that upgraded China's economic growth forecast to 6 percent this year.

Noting persisting downward pressure on the global economy, Geng said the Chinese economy had registered steady growth over the past year.

China's GDP increased by 6.1 percent year on year, and per capita GDP exceeded the threshold of US$10,000 in 2019, Geng said, adding that the proportion of China's GDP within the global total is projected to exceed 16 percent, while the contribution of China's economy to global growth is expected to reach about 30 percent.

"The IMF's upgrade of China's economic outlook indicates that the international community has full confidence in the prospects of China's economy," Geng said.

He said the Chinese side will further deepen reform and opening up, uphold multilateralism and free trade, work with all parties to build an open world economy and improve the global economic governance system.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China at 'crucial stage' to control novel coronavirus, experts say


2020-01-22 浏览

Faced with the fast-changing situation of the novel coronavirus outbreak, China is at a crucial stage to prevent and control the spread of the virus, according to Chinese experts.

"The current outbreak is concentrated in the city of Wuhan in central China, and is sporadic in other places, meaning it is still a regional outbreak," said Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory expert and head of a high-level expert team of the National Health Commission.

"The people-to-people transmission of the novel coronavirus and infections among medical staff have been confirmed," Zhong said.

Early stage

The continuous emergence of new cases indicates the outbreak is still at its early stage of rapid changes, Zhong added.

Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), said no infections among children or students have been reported in Wuhan, and the infection cases are mainly elderly people.

The outbreak is at its early stage of community transmission, Zeng said, adding that it can be reversed if measures are taken now.

China has taken solid measures to resolutely curb the spread of the virus, and has released the whole genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus, which will help scientists and health authorities across the world develop diagnostic kits and study the viral pathogenicity.

The geographical distribution of Wuhan's infection cases indicates a close relationship between the outbreak and a local seafood market. Investigations showed that there were previously illegal sales of wildlife in the market.

Based on the findings in the whole genome sequencing, it can be speculated that wild animals could have played a key role in the emergence of the disease. But it remains unclear what kind of animal has caused the infections, said Gao Fu, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and head of the China CDC.

Preventing super-spreader

No super-spreader, or a highly contagious virus carrier, has emerged, according to the experts.

Zhong predicted an increase in viral pneumonia cases during the ongoing Lunar New Year travel rush, noting that a key task is to prevent super-spreaders from emerging.

According to Zhong, putting the confirmed and suspected patients in quarantine is the most effective method to bring the outbreak under control.

The experts advised anyone who feels unwell to avoid traveling during the holiday season, and seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Early detection

The pneumonia resulting from the infection of the novel coronavirus has been classified as a category B infectious disease and a quarantinable disease at the border, according to an earlier announcement by the NHC.

Preventive and control measures of category A infectious diseases have been taken to fight against the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.

Though the spread of the novel coronavirus has just started, which is at a rising stage, the virus is less contagious than the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus, Zhong said.

The future situation depends on the development of the virus as well as how the outbreak is controlled, Zhong added.

A total of 291 confirmed cases of new coronavirus-related pneumonia and 54 suspected cases have been reported in China by the end of Monday.

On Monday alone, 77 new confirmed cases were reported. Experts cited the use of new testing techniques that lead to faster detection as a key reason for the rise in numbers.

"Suspected cases are confirmed after being tested positive twice, much faster than the previous procedure of going through the China CDC or rigorous examination by health authorities," Zhong said.

Early detection and timely quarantine will effectively contain the infection sources and help prevent large-scale outbreaks, said Li Lanjuan, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who heads the State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.

Li added that a set of prevention and control measures have also been put in place for outpatient services across the country.

"In general, China has a relatively sound clinical treatment system. There is no need for panic," Li said.

Strengthened measures

The NHC on Tuesday announced it has led the establishment of a joint prevention and control mechanism, with 32 departments jointly overseeing the work of medical treatment, virus control and scientific research, among others.

A daily report system of new pneumonia cases has been activated. The NHC has started publishing daily data of confirmed cases in all provincial-level regions since Tuesday.

During the upcoming Spring Festival holiday, densely populated places including train stations, airports and shopping malls, as well as buses and trains, should adopt measures of ventilation, sterilization and temperature screening according to local situations, the NHC said.

The commission also banned medical institutions from rejecting confirmed or suspected viral pneumonia patients for any reason, noting that the supply of relevant drugs, diagnostic kits and personal protective equipment is stable.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

1st case of novel coronavirus reported in US


2020-01-22 浏览

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday that the first case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been reported in the United States.

A man in his 30s traveling from Wuhan of central China to Washington state on January 15 was diagnosed with pneumonia.

A clinical specimen was collected and sent to CDC overnight, and lab testing confirmed on Monday that it was caused by the new coronavirus.

CDC officials said at a telebriefing that the man hospitalized at a hospital outside Seattle was "in good condition," posing little risk of infecting others.

The CDC has started an investigation into the new case, including potentially tracing close contacts to determine if anyone else has become ill.

The case was detected prior to the implementation of screening at three US airports last Friday, according to CDC.

The CDC and the US Department of Homeland Security implemented enhanced health screenings starting on Jan. 17 at San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles airports to detect ill travelers on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan.

The CDC also activated an emergency operation center to provide ongoing support to the disease response and intensified its collaborations with health authorities of other countries.

The CDC said in a press release that limited person-to-person spread is happening but it's unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.

Chinese health authorities said Tuesday that 291 confirmed cases of new coronavirus-related pneumonia and 54 suspected cases had been reported in the country by the end of Monday.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China takes top-level preventive, control measures against 2019-nCoV pneumonia


2020-01-21 浏览

China vows to take preventive and control measures of category A infectious diseases to effectively fight against the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), according to the National Health Commission.

The pneumonia, resulted from infection of the novel coronavirus, has been classified as the category B infectious diseases and a quarantinable disease at the border, according to an announcement by the commission on Monday.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China to curb spread of new coronavirus-related pneumonia


2020-01-21 浏览

China will take further steps to control the new coronavirus-related pneumonia, and the disease will be put under management as an infectious disease in accordance with law, as was decided at the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Monday.

The meeting called for intensified inter-agency efforts to prevent the disease from further spreading.

It was underlined at the meeting that disease control is a matter of life and health for the people. The relevant departments and local governments have taken a host of measures to tackle the pneumonia, including promptly activating the fever clinics and undertaking all-coverage screening. The diagnostic methods and reagents for the new pneumonia are improving.

It was decided at the Monday meeting that corresponding prevention and control measures will be launched to tackle the pneumonia as a public health emergency. The measures of prevention and control will be particularly enhanced in the city of Wuhan, where the markets concerned will be shut down, wildlife control will be tightened, and fever screening will be required at airports, coach and train stations as well as ports.

Local governments must, in light of their local conditions, carry out ventilation, sterilization and temperature screening as needed in key venues and public transportation facilities. At the same time, the monitoring, pre-examination and triage of the disease must be stepped up to ensure that cases of infection will be promptly detected and effectively handled.

It was decided at the meeting that high-caliber personnel and medical resources will be pooled in tackling the disease. Sufficient funding will be made available to provide the patients, particularly those in severe condition, with the best possible medical treatments. The meeting urged tight control of infection at hospitals and precautionary measures for the medical workers.

"All prevention and control measures needed must be duly delivered, and inter-agency efforts must be enhanced to ensure the earliest possible detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment of the disease, and to keep the fatality rate at the minimal possible level. Precautions in hospitals should be strengthened," Li said.

"The government should make timely updates about the disease and be highly responsive to public concerns to shape an objective and rational public attitude toward the disease. We also need to keep the public better informed about how to protect oneself from those winter infectious diseases," he added.

The meeting required openness and transparency to keep the public informed of the situation and work of prevention and control in a timely and objective manner. The meeting also called for closer communication and cooperation with the World Health Organization, the countries concerned, and the regions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

"We must communicate and share information with international organizations and the overseas. Research on the disease must be intensified to work out effective prevention and treatment of the disease. In this way, our efforts may work better," Li said.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China to advance Sino-US ties featuring coordination, cooperation, stability


2020-01-21 浏览

China is willing to work with the United States to build and advance bilateral ties featuring coordination, cooperation and stability, on the basis of mutual respect, equal dialogue, and managing differences while seeking common ground.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks here Monday at the 2020 New Year reception hosted by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Sino-US relations "have reached a new historical juncture" with notably increasing complexities and challenges, Wang said.

Noting that the signing of the phase-one economic and trade agreement serves the interests of both countries and peoples and was welcomed by the international community, Wang said China had engaged in dialogue and consultations with the United States on the basis of equality and mutual respect, while resolutely safeguarding its legitimate rights and interests.

He said the relationship of the world's largest developing and developed countries had a direct bearing on where the world is going.

Sino-US interactions over the past 40 years have clearly shown that both sides stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation, Wang said.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

US starts screening Chinese passengers at 3 airports


2020-01-20 浏览

The United States began screening passengers arriving from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the heart of a mysterious virus, officials said, after an outbreak that has stricken dozens and claimed a second life.

Three confirmed cases have now been reported from outside China — two in Thailand and one in Japan — even as health authorities around the world sought to assure the public that the overall risk of infection remained low.

Martin Cetron, a senior official at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters, “To further protect the health of the American public during the emergence of this novel coronavirus, CDC is beginning entry screening at three ports of entry.”

These are San Francisco airport and New York’s JFK, which both receive direct flights, as well as Los Angeles, the biggest destination for connecting flights, he said, adding: “We’re expecting that the screening over the next couple of weeks could include as many as 5000 people.” Incoming travelers will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and submit to a temperature check, with those showing possible signs of infection sent on to another facility for a diagnostic test that could take up to a day.

Thailand said it was already screening passengers arriving in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket and would soon introduce similar controls in the beach resort of Krabi.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

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