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China's Luckin Coffee slumps on 'fake' data news

The company said its chief operating officer and other employees had fabricated financial information.

Source: BBC News - China | 3 Apr 2020 | 8:22 pm(NZT)

Strict action to prevent forest fires

China’s forest and grassland fire control command office dispatched six groups to inspect local fire prevention work, especially during the upcoming Qingming Festival.The inspection groups will travel to nine regions in the country, including Beijing, Guangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan and Shaanxi, the Ministry of Emergency Management said yesterday.They will check the fire prevention and control measures of local bureaus, the latest emergency plans, the staffing of firefighting teams and the preparation of firefighting materials.The ministry also stressed learning lessons from the heavy casualties in recent forest firefighting and improving forest and grassland fire safety.Nineteen people died in southwest China’s Sichuan Province while battling a forest fire earlier this week.Another forest fire broke out in southwestern Yunnan Province Tuesday and had been put out as of yesterday.Authorities demanded a focus on prominent risks of fires this season, while enhancing monitoring and early warning systems to prevent large forest fires.The traditional tomb-sweeping holiday, Qingming, which falls tomorrow this year, is a time for Chinese people to mourn the dead and worship their ancestors by visiting tombs and making offerings. The tributes involve burning incense and joss paper.From 2010 to 2019, over 97 percent of fires were triggered by human activities, with a large share linked to sacrificial and agricultural activities, and mountain cover burning for afforestation, said the ministry.Experts said the dry conditions, large fuel load and flammable vegetation may also lead to more frequent fires this season.On Wednesday, China issued a red alert for forest fires, warning of “extremely high” fire risks for the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan, and an orange alert for Beijing and the provinces of Hebei and Shanxi.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Quake hits hundreds of homes

Over 4,000 people have been affected in Shiqu County in southwest China’s Sichuan Province after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake hit the area on Wednesday, local authorities said yesterday.The earthquake damaged more than 790 local households in 84 villages.The economic losses are estimated at 79.83 million yuan (US$11.28 million), local publicity department said.No casualties have been reported so far.The earthquake hit Shiqu County in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze at 8:23pm Wednesday.The local government said the epicenter, 559 kilometers from Chengdu, the provincial capital, is sparsely populated and has an average elevation of 4,661 meters in the surrounding areas.As of 8am yesterday, the local government has set up 30 emergency tents and evacuated 1,447 people in the epicenter.Other rescue supplies, including 76 tents, 105 quilts, and 1,000 cotton clothes, have also been sent due to the low temperature in the area.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Roads lined with flowers: village finds new way of life

Benefiting from environmental protection, Yucun Village in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province has found the secret to sustainable prosperity.About 15 years ago, it was hard to imagine that the village could now have a beautiful country road with flowers lining either side, become a national tourist attraction and attract hundreds of thousands of tourists.The village achieved rapid development by running a cement factory and mining industries but suffered from severe pollution.“We hesitated on whether or not to shut down the factory,” said Jiang Zhihua, a villager who worked at the plant. “Although it brought income to almost every household in the village, we all lived in a hostile environment where dust hovered in the air and some villagers even had pneumoconiosis.”The village decided to focus on environmental protection and choose a pace of sustainable development and has undergone unprecedented changes since then.It shut down mining and other industries that caused pollution and started to develop tourism. In 2018, it was listed as a 4A class tourist attraction, the second-best rating on the country’s five-level system.No garbage or trash cans can be seen from the road in the village. “The village has practiced garbage classification, and household garbage is collected and transported by designated personnel regularly,” said Hu Bin, a villager in Yucun.“More than 800,000 tourists visit our village each year,” said Jiang. “The beautiful environment has brought us wealth.” Tourism has become a pillar of the village, which has 280 households and 1,050 villagers.Pan Chunlin was a tractor driver working for a stone mine in the village. He opened the village’s first travel agency after the mine was closed. “People in cities love our vegetables such as bamboo shoots,” he said.From 2005 to 2019, the village’s collective economic income rose from 910,000 yuan (US$128,270) to 5.21 million yuan, and the per capita net income increased from 8,732 yuan to 49,598 yuan.“We respect nature. And nature will never mistreat us,” said a villager surnamed Gu.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Expected bumper grain harvest to sustain food self-sufficiency

The Ministry of Commerce said yesterday it is a “high-probability event” that the country will see a bumper grain harvest in 2020 as ample reserves and stable agricultural production ensure self-sufficiency amid the novel coronavirus disease pandemic.“China has seen a pretty long streak of bumper years, with inventories and reserves abundant and grain price consistently stable,” said MOC official Wang Bin.China, the world’s top food producer and consumer saw its grain output reach a record high of 664 million tons last year, the 16th bumper year in a row, he said.“By the end of last year, the country had inventories of more than 280 million tons of wheat, corn and rice, which will enable complete self-sufficiency as the average annual consumption of grain hovers above 200 million tons,” he said. “The international market’s impact on the country’s grain supply is minimal.”The country’s grain imports are mainly fodder grains such as soybeans, with imported rice and wheat accounting for only 1 percent and 2 percent of the total domestic consumption, respectively, Wang said.‘No need to worry’“Even zero imports will not lead to a shortage of grain supply in China,” he said. “Consumers do not need to worry about the shortage or price spike of grains. They do not need to buy in bulk or hoard food at home.”China’s grain crops have three phases: early rice, summer grain and autumn production. Autumn grain crops, which include corn and middle- and late-season rice, account for the bulk of the grain production.An analysis by the country’s agriculture ministry points that greater early rice acreage and yield, a bumper summer grain harvest and well-planned purchases of autumn grain this year, all shows a generally sound trend of the country’s grain production this year, Wang said.“Wholesale and retail markets around the country have enough rice, flour and edible oil, and prices remain stable,” Wang said. “Grain production and processing enterprises are resuming production with sound progress, and the sector’s production is sufficient.”The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many countries to throttle the outflow of grains. Kyrgyzstan, for example, imposed a temporary ban on the export of certain types of food products and essential goods over COVID-19 concerns. The ban includes wheat, flour, vegetable oil and rice.“Export bans by some countries were imposed mainly to prioritize domestic food needs and we do not expect the majority of food exporters to follow suit,” Wang said.China has already taken multi-pronged measures to ensure stable spring farming. A special guideline on coordinating the virus control measures with spring farming preparation was issued in early March to ensure the agricultural production.All provincial-level regions should keep their sown areas and grain output stable, on par with that registered last year. And efforts will be made to fully implement support policies to motivate farmers to secure a bumper harvest, said the guideline issued by the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on the prevention and control of the outbreak.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Abusive foreigners causing trouble

a NIGERIAN who tested positive for the novel coronavirus allegedly attacked a nurse as he tried to force his way out of a hospital in Guangzhou has been put under police guard.The 47-year-old, Okonkwonwoye Chika Patrick, will be handled by police according to China’s immigration regulations and criminal law after his treatment is over and he is cleared of the virus, police in Guangzhou in southern China’s Guangdong Province said yesterday.Police received a report at 7:28am on Wednesday that the patient violently refused to take a blood test. He allegedly pushed a nurse to the ground, beat her and bit her face after she tried to stop him from walking out of the isolation ward where he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the Guangzhou No. 8 Hospital.The nurse, surnamed Wang, suffered minor injuries to her face, neck and waist, police said.The Nigerian entered Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, on March 20 and tested positive for the virus.Police have tightened security at the hospital.Separately, three foreigners yesterday apologized for their improper behavior after video of them cutting in a coronavirus testing line and shouting abuse in Qingdao, Shandong Province, sparked fury among Chinese netizens.The incident happened at a testing site in Qingdao’s Laoshan District on April 1 and as the footage circulated online showed, one of the foreigners even shouted “Chinese get out!” when locals tried to stop them queue-jumping.Public security officials in Laoshan quickly launched an investigation after the video sparked fury online. They criticized and educated the three foreigners involved yesterday, warning them to strictly abide by Chinese law and follow regulations on the prevention and control of the epidemic.The foreigners apologized to the public for their improper words and behavior and also wrote an apology letter.The local health authority had apologized on Weibo on Wednesday over the incident, and said it would strengthen its management and take measures to keep lines in order.The local information office also responded to the incident on Weibo yesterday, saying the relevant department was investigating the case.It said all Chinese and foreigners would be treated and dealt with equally.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Robots easing burden of hospital staff

The Xiangya Hospital of Central South University in central China’s Hunan Province has introduced two intelligent robots to disinfect the outpatient hall amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.The use of the robots can greatly reduce the workload of the hospital staff and cut the risk of cross-infection, said Meng Sha, deputy director of the hospital’s logistics distribution center. The robots use three types of disinfection methods: ultraviolet rays, ultra-dry fog hydrogen peroxide and plasma air filtration. The auto-navigation robots can be remotely controlled.In the evening, after all medical staff and patients leave, the robots start patrolling according to a preset route, using nine ultraviolet lamps for disinfection.In the day, the robots use the other two methods that can be done while people are around.“The robots have relieved the pressure of our work. After completing the work, they find their ways to the charging pile to charge automatically,” said Huang Weiping, head nurse of the outpatient department.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Govt plans measures to help ‘crucial’ auto sector

China will aim to stabilize new car sales, loosen purchase restrictions in certain cities and invigorate the used-car market in a bid to unleash the consumption potential for cars, an official said yesterday.As a pillar of the national economy, the auto industry plays a crucial role in boosting domestic consumption and facilitating consumption upgrades, Wang Bin, deputy director of the Department of Market Operation and Consumption Promotion of the Ministry of Commerce told reporters.Car sales accounted for 9.6 percent of total retail sales in 2019.Tax revenue and employment in the auto and related industries made up 10 percent of the country’s total, he said.Due to multiple factors, China’s car sales have fallen for two consecutive years.Compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, sales plunged 42 percent year on year during the first two months of this year.To prop up the market, the government recently announced a slew of measures to boost demand.A State Council executive meeting on Tuesday decided to extend subsidies and tax exemptions for new energy vehicle purchases by another two years, which were set to expire at the end of this year.Value-added tax on the sale of old vehicles by second-hand vehicle dealers will be cut to 0.5 percent from May 1 to the end of 2023. Liu Changyu, official with the Department of Foreign Trade of the MOC, said the pandemic overseas inevitably affected the country’s auto trade and supply chains.China will strengthen international cooperation to maintain the stability of the global automobile industrial chains and supply chains, Liu said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

43kg meth bust made in Yunnan

Police in southwest China’s Yunnan Province have seized over 43 kilograms of methamphetamine, local authorities said yesterday.About 3am on March 28, police in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan saw a suspect escaping from a white van on a road. Police arrested the suspect and seized 43.975 kg of methamphetamine from eight carved wooden elephants in the van.The suspect, surnamed Yan, confessed that he became acquainted with a man in Laos who had promised to give him 300,000 baht (US$9,000) if he transported the wooden elephants to a designated place. Further investigation is underway.Yunnan is a major front in China’s battle against drug crime, as it borders the Golden Triangle covering parts of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, known for its rampant drug production and trafficking.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Hubei identifies 14 as martyrs in virus fight

FOURTEEN people who died on the frontline of fighting the novel coronavirus in central China’s Hubei Province, have been identified as the first batch of martyrs, local authorities said yesterday. The 14 martyrs were described as excellent representatives of role models among front-line medics and epidemic prevention workers. Martyrs are the highest honorary title which the Party and state award to citizens who bravely sacrifice their lives for the nation, society and the people. A brief introduction of the 14 martyrs is as follows: Wang Bing was a 72-year-old female doctor working in a clinic in Hongshan District, Wuhan. She was infected with the novel coronavirus at work and died on February 18. Feng Xiaolin, 65, was a rehired doctor of traditional Chinese medicine with the People’s Hospital in Huangpi District, Wuhan. He was infected with the novel coronavirus at work and died on February 27. Jiang Xueqing, 55, a consulting doctor with the Central Hospital of Wuhan, died of COVID-19 on March 1. Liu Zhiming, 51, president of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, was infected with COVID-19 at work and died on February 18. Li Wenliang, 34, an ophthalmologist with the Central Hospital of Wuhan, stuck to his post on the front line regardless of the risk of infection and caught COVID-19. He passed away on February 7. Zhang Kangmei, a 67-year-old female doctor rehired at the health service center of the Baofeng Street community in Wuhan, died of COVID-19 on February 14. Xiao Jun, 49, a general surgeon at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital, was infected with COVID-19 at work and passed away on February 8. Wu Yong, 51, a police officer in Qiaokou District, Wuhan, worked in the community fighting the epidemic for 61 days on end and died on March 22. Liu Fan was a 59-year-old female senior nurse working at a community health service center of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan. She died of COVID-19 on February 14. Xia Sisi, 29, a gastroenterology physician, contracted COVID-19 while working at the Union Jiangbei Hospital of Wuhan. She passed away on February 23 despite doctors’ efforts. Huang Wenjun, 42, an associate consulting doctor of respiratory medicine, became infected while working on the front-line of the COVID-19 outbreak at the Central Hospital of Xiaogan City. He died on February 23. Mei Zhongming, 57, an ophthalmologist at the Central Hospital of Wuhan, died on March 3 while treating patients. Peng Yinhua, a 29-year-old doctor at the First People’s Hospital, died on February 20. Liao Jianjun, 49, was deputy director of a neighborhood committee in Qiaokou District. He died of COVID-19 on February 4.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Shenzhen first to ban dog, cat meat

SHENZHEN in Guangdong Province has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the new coronavirus. Scientists suspect the coronavirus passed to humans from animals. Some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, where bats, snakes, civets and other animals were sold. Authorities in the southern Chinese technology hub said the ban on eating dogs and cats would come into force on May 1. “Dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan,” the city government said in an order posted yesterday. “This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.” China’s top legislature said in late February it was banning the trade and consumption of wild animals. Provincial and city governments across the country have been moving to enforce the ruling but Shenzhen has been the most explicit about extending that ban to dogs and cats. Dogs, in particular, are eaten in several parts of Asia. Liu Jianping, an official with the Shenzhen Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said that the poultry, livestock and seafood available to consumers were sufficient. “There is no evidence showing that wildlife is more nutritious than poultry and livestock,” Liu told Shenzhen Daily. Shenzhen’s initial rules, first proposed in late February, appeared to ban the consumption of turtles and frogs — both common dishes in China’s south. But the city government acknowledged this week that this had been “a hot point of controversy” and clarified that both could be eaten.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Shopper buys $6m rocket launch in China

Rocket launch service sold for $6m via Chinese livestream.

Source: BBC News - China | 3 Apr 2020 | 3:44 am(NZT)

Shenzhen becomes first Chinese city to ban eating cats and dogs

The ruling is a tougher version of China's ban of wildlife meat, after it was linked to the virus.

Source: BBC News - China | 2 Apr 2020 | 9:02 pm(NZT)

Coronavirus: How China's using surveillance to tackle outbreak

China is using its high tech system to tackle the outbreak, but is the state interference justified?

Source: BBC News - China | 2 Apr 2020 | 12:06 pm(NZT)

Team to probe train derailment

AN investigation team has been established to look into the passenger train derailment in Chenzhou City of central China’s Hunan Province, China Railway Guangzhou Group said. Investigation result will be made public once complete, the company said yesterday. The train T179 from Jinan to Guangzhou derailed after running into a landslide on Monday, killing one railway policeman and leaving 127 people injured. The railway department expressed deep condolence on the policeman’s death and apologized for the injuries to the families of the injured. Rescue and remedial work is under way. Railway traffic resumed yesterday. A train from Beijing to south China’s tourist city of Sanya went through the accident site on the Beijing-Guangzhou railway line around 11:45am yesterday. It was the first train to pass the site after the accident. Although traffic has gradually picked up, the normal operation of trains along this railway line still needs time, according the group. The Beijing-Guangzhou railway is a major north-south railway line in China.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Jade Rabbit sets record on far side of the moon

China’s lunar rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, has driven 424.455 meters on the far side of the moon to explore the virgin territory.Both the lander and the rover of the Chang’e-4 probe have ended their work for the 16th lunar day, and switched to dormant mode for the lunar night due to the lack of solar power, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.China’s Chang’e-4 probe, launched on December 8, 2018, made the first-ever soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on January 3, 2019.Yutu-2 has worked much longer than its three-month design life, becoming the longest-working lunar rover.The rover has helped scientists discover the secrets buried deep under the surface on the far side of the moon, enriching understanding about the history of celestial collision and volcanic activities and shedding new light on the geological evolution on the moon.The scientific tasks of the Chang’e-4 mission include conducting low-frequency radio astronomical observations, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure and measuring neutron radiation and neutral atoms.The Chang’e-4 mission embodies China’s hope to combine expertise in space exploration with four payloads developed by the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.China plans to launch its first Mars probe and the Chang’e-5 probe this year.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Xi calls for coordinated efforts to fight COVID-19

PRESIDENT Xi Jinping has stressed coordinated efforts to control the novel coronavirus disease and for economic and social development, while striving to achieve this year’s goals for economic and social progress. Xi made the remarks during an inspection tour for COVID-19 control and work resumption in east China’s Zhejiang Province, which began on Sunday and ended yesterday. While hearing work reports made by Zhejiang provincial committee of the CPC and provincial government yesterday, Xi said the epidemic situation in China is moving steadily in a positive direction, and the peak of the current COVID-19 outbreak is over in the country. The risk posed by imported cases, however, remain as the pandemic is accelerating its spread across the world, said Xi, stressing intensified management of asymptomatic virus cases in China. China will make preventing imported cases the top priority in its COVID-19 response at present and even for a “prolonged” period of time, he said. Though the increasingly fast spread of COVID-19 abroad has disrupted international economic and trade activities and brought new challenges to China’s economic development, it has also provided fresh opportunities for expediting the country’s development in science and technology and advancing industrial upgrading, Xi noted. More efforts should be made to accelerate and further expand work and production resumption in an orderly manner on the premise of strictly implementing COVID-19 control measures, he said. Xi called for efforts to smooth global supply chains to ensure normal economic and trade activities. While seizing the opportunities of industrial digitization and digital industrialization, China also needs to expedite the construction of “new infrastructure” projects such as 5G networks and data centers, and deploy strategic emerging sectors and industries of the future including digital economy, life health services and new materials, he said. He called for putting in place sound systems and policies for promoting integrated urban-rural development, and speeding up the modernization of agriculture and rural areas. Xi demanded efforts to guarantee an adequate supply of food with stable prices for urban residents and ensure sufficient income for rural people. On Sunday, Xi visited the Chuanshan port area of the Ningbo Zhoushan Port, whose throughput has recovered to normal levels due to the timely measures it adopted to resume production. He called for efforts to cope with and blunt the adverse impact on cargo shipping brought by restrictive measures adopted by various countries to fight coronavirus. He later visited an industrial park that produces high-end auto parts and molds in Ningbo. “Normal production of enterprises can keep the national economy on track and create employment opportunities for the public,” Xi said. During a visit to Yucun Village in Anji County on Monday, Xi said economic development should not be achieved at the expense of the ecological environment. To protect the ecological environment is to develop the productive forces, Xi said. He stressed the equal importance of urban and rural modernization. On Tuesday, at the Xixi National Wetland Park in the provincial capital of Hangzhou. Xi encouraged vendors to inherit and develop traditional handicrafts and other forms of intangible cultural heritage. Xi also visited the City Brain, a smart city platform aiming to improve urban management.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

130 asymptomatic cases reported

A TOTAL of 130 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were reported on China’s mainland on Tuesday, while two were confirmed of being infected with the virus and 302 were discharged from medical observation, the National Health Commission said yesterday. The commission said that 1,367 asymptomatic-infected patients were still under medical observation, dropping by 174 from the previous day. It was the first time it has released such data following public concern over people who have tested positive but are not showing symptoms. The central Hubei Province, which was hit hard by the outbreak, confirmed 47 asymptomatic COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, bringing the total to 982. In China, asymptomatic cases will not be added to the overall tally unless they later show clinical symptoms. Experts agree that asymptomatic patients are likely to be infectious, but it remains unknown how responsible they are for spreading the deadly virus. Last week, WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said that symptomatic patients were the main drivers of transmission in the majority of cases, while most of those classified as asymptomatic developed symptoms a few days after diagnosis. China says all detected asymptomatic cases and their close contacts must be put under medical observation. Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan said last week that asymptomatic carriers could potentially infect “3 to 3.5 people each.” Many other countries including South Korea and Japan count asymptomatic cases in their national tallies of confirmed diagnoses. Health officials also reported the first imported case from abroad in Wuhan, capital of Hubei, heightening fears of infections being brought into China from other countries. The imported case was a Chinese national studying in Britain, who arrived in the city last week as it started to gradually lift travel restrictions imposed to control the outbreak. The city had seen no new cases for seven consecutive days as of Monday. Of 36 new cases reported on Tuesday, 35 were imported from abroad. The single new domestic case was reported in Guangdong Province. Tuesday’s imported cases was down from 48 a day earlier, taking total infections arriving from overseas to 806. Big cities including Beijing and Shanghai has announced a series of dramatic measures to control imported cases, including testing people arriving from overseas, to determine those who are infected but do not show symptoms.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Beijing artist paints wings on the angels of virus fight

A Chinese artist has paid tribute to doctors and nurses and their months-long battle to treat virus-stricken patients in his latest light painting creations.Roy Wang and his team used the photographic technique of light-painting to “draw” white wings on the back of a model posing in a white hazmat suit, that has come to symbolize medical workers fighting the virus worldwide.The model stood frozen as the camera shutter was opened, with Wang darting around her in the dark, using an electric light to draw in the air.“The medical workers, in Chinese we call them ‘the angels in white’ — they are saving the human, saving us,” he said.“So I feel like I should create some light paintings to show respect for them.” Wang also created a visual depiction of the virus, which has killed more than 40,000 around the world.Wang’s next project is called “Light the world up,” in which he will collect inspiring words from his friends overseas and light-paints them in different languages.“This is not just a problem for China, but a problem for the whole world,” he said. “We will get through the hard times, and the Earth will become better and better.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Scientists bet on ‘effective’ antibodies

A TEAM of Chinese scientists has isolated several antibodies that it says are “extremely effective” at blocking the ability of the novel coronavirus to enter cells, which eventually could be helpful in treating or preventing COVID-19. There is currently no proven effective treatment for the disease, which is spreading across the world in a pandemic that has infected more than 850,000 and killed 42,000. Zhang Linqi at Tsinghua University in Beijing said a drug made with antibodies like the ones his team have found could be used more effectively than the current approaches, including what he called “borderline” treatment such as plasma. Plasma contains antibodies but is restricted by blood type. In early January, Zhang’s team and a group at the third People’s Hospital in Shenzhen began analyzing antibodies from blood taken from recovered COVID-19 patients, isolating 206 monoclonal antibodies which showed what he described as a “strong” ability to bind with the virus’ proteins. They then conducted another test to see if they could actually prevent the virus from entering cells, he said. Among the first 20 or so antibodies tested, four were able to block viral entry and of those, two were “exceedingly good” at doing so, Zhang said. The team is now focused on identifying the most powerful antibodies and possibly combining them to mitigate the risk of the new coronavirus mutating. If all goes well, interested developers could mass produce them for testing, first on animals and eventually on humans. The group has partnered with a Sino-US biotech firm, Brii Biosciences, in an effort “to advance multiple candidates for prophylactic and therapeutic intervention,” according to a statement by Brii. “The importance of antibodies has been proven in the world of medicine for decades now,” Zhang said. “They can be used to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases.” The antibodies are not a vaccine but could potentially be given to at-risk people with the aim of preventing them from contracting COVID-19. Normally it takes around two years for a drug even to get close to approval for use on patients, but the COVID-19 pandemic means things are moving faster, Zhang said. He hopes the antibodies can be tested on humans in six months.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Made in China: cutting-edge cancer facility opens

China’s first self-developed carbon ion therapy facility has been put into clinical use for cancer patients.The first five patients received the treatment in the Wuwei Tumor Hospital in northwest China’s Gansu Province since March 26.The facility was co-developed by the Institute of Modern Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a subsidiary. It was approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration in September, 2019.Carbon ions are heavier than protons and can deposit more energy in tumor tissues. An alternative to surgery, carbon ion therapy is recognized as the next promising cancer treatment. It can kill tumors that are resistant to traditional radiation therapy.Unlike traditional methods of radiation, this technique delivers cancer-killing power concentrated on tumors with minimal harm to healthy tissue. Scientists have adopted it for the treatment of various tumors in hard-to-treat areas, such as the head, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis.The carbon-ion facility, with thousands of components, involves a machine that can accelerate carbon ions to 70 percent of light speed. To reduce the heat caused by the high-speed operation, the local government provides a 5,000-square-meter building for the protection of hydropower systems.The facility also has a treatment system with two treatment rooms, in which carbon-ion beams can enter the patient’s body with a wide range of angles that optimized to reach the targeted tumors, said Xiao Guoqing, head of the project and a CAS researcher.According to Xiao, the institute started developing the systems in 2012 after two decades of research. It has completed developing two, and the other is installed in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu.Ye Yancheng, president of the Wuwei Tumor Hospital, said it has established a carbon ion treatment center with more than 20 experts from home and abroad.The United States, Germany and Japan have adopted the . There are 11 medical heavy-ion accelerators in the world, and five under construction. About 30,000 cancer patients globally have received the carbon ion therapy.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

After isolation, comfort in food and shopping

As night fell, a hotpot restaurant in Hefei, the capital of east China’s Anhui Province, was bustling with masked diners queuing for feasting.“We have restored dine-in service since March 18 and saw increasing customers these days,” said Zhang Huaiyu, a waiter. “Those who come later may have to wait for over two hours as the restaurant is full by around 6:30pm.”The Ministry of Commerce said on March 28 that the resumption rate of large chain supermarkets and convenience stores had reached 99.5 percent and 95.4 percent, with volume surpassing the levels recorded in the same period last year.In addition, 95.8 percent of shopping malls and 80 percent of catering industries had resumed work as of March 27.As the epidemic recedes and work and production resumption gains momentum, Chinese consumers’ buying appetite inhibited by the epidemic rebounds.“I craved hotpot when I was stuck at home, and finally I can order it,” said Sun Jie, who came early with her family.Zhang Huaiyu noticed that diners coming these days always ordered more meat and ate longer compared with before the epidemic.Xu Jin, manager of a barbecue restaurant in Hefei, was impressed by consumers’ healthy appetite even before resuming work.“Many customers called to ask when we would resume business,” said Xu. “People have been cooped up at home for a long time and yearn for food like hotpot, milk tea and barbecue.”To ensure safety, restaurants carry out strict virus prevention measures such as scanning health codes and measuring body temperatures. According to a survey by the Jiangsu provincial consumer rights protection committee in early March, about 90 percent of the 21,192 respondent chose shopping as compensation as the epidemic levels off.Dining out, shopping in malls, watching movies, singing in KTVs and traveling are the most preferred.“Many shopping plans were shelved due to the outbreak, and finally, I can satisfy my craving,” said Sun Jie, who spent more than 1,000 yuan (US$140.96) buying clothes in the shopping mall after enjoying a hotpot feast.Besides boosting consumption offline, the recovery of logistics also drives the boom of online shopping.During the days around International Women’s Day on March 8, sales on Tmall were far more than the previous year, with sales of more than 20,000 brands surging over 100 percent according to e-commerce giant Alibaba.Regions across the nation also rolled out favorable measures to spur consumption. Many cities encouraged government officials to take the lead in consumption and launched voucher programs to stimulate spending.Nanjing, capital of eastern Jiangsu Province, has announced more than 300 million yuan of vouchers.“People are willing to shop as the epidemic wanes, but it still needs time for the market to recover and prosper,” said Zheng Lanxiang, a professor at the economics school of Anhui University. “The country needs to further create a safer consumption environment and increase residents’ income to improve their spending power.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Tibet’s coldest winter

Southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region has experienced its coldest winter in 20 years, according to local climate authorities. Data from this year’s Winter Climate Bulletin of Tibet show that the average temperature of Tibet between December 2019 and February 2020 was minus 4.5 degrees Celsius, 0.6 degrees lower than normal years. Climatic data from the past 39 years show that Tibet’s average temperature in the winter has been rising at 0.51 degrees Celsius every decade.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 1 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Railway repairs done

Railway repairs were finished yesterday after a train derailed in central China’s Hunan Province on Monday. China Railway Guangzhou Group said operations will gradually resume on the affected Beijing-Guangzhou railway section. The accident happened in Yongxing County at 11:40am on Monday when the train ran into a landslide, killing one and injuring 127.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 1 Apr 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Chinese forest fire: Firefighters and guide killed in Sichuan blaze

The group tackling a massive blaze in Sichuan were trapped by a sudden change in wind direction.

Source: BBC News - China | 31 Mar 2020 | 8:33 pm(NZT)

Coronavirus: Countries reject Chinese-made equipment

The Netherlands, Spain and Turkey have all said some Chinese-made equipment is substandard.

Source: BBC News - China | 31 Mar 2020 | 12:24 am(NZT)


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