Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

WHO confirms no evidence coronavirus was made in a lab says China

China’s foreign ministry said on Thursday the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there is no evidence that the coronavirus that has infected more than two million people globally was made in a laboratory.

Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the remark in response to a question about accusations the coronavirus originated in a lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

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Wuhan was where the epidemic first emerged in late 2019.

However, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday his government is trying to determine whether the coronavirus emanated from a lab in Wuhan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing “needs to come clean” on what they know.

The source of the virus remains a mystery.

Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday U.S. intelligence indicates that the coronavirus likely occurred naturally, as opposed to being created in a laboratory in China.

But there is no certainty either way.

Fox News reported on Wednesday that the virus originated in a Wuhan laboratory not as a bioweapon, but as part of China’s effort to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the U.S.

This report and others have suggested the Wuhan lab where virology experiments take place and lax safety standards there led to someone getting infected and appearing at a nearby “wet” market, where the virus began to spread.

At a White House news conference Trump was asked about the reports of the virus escaping from the Wuhan lab, and he said he was aware of them.

“We are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened,” he said.

Trump has sought to stress strong U.S. ties with China during the pandemic as the U.S. has relied on China for personal protection equipment desperately needed by American medical workers.

As far back as February, the Chinese state-backed Wuhan Institute of Virology dismissed rumuors that the virus may have been artificially synthesised at one of its laboratories or perhaps escaped from such a facility.

Pompeo, in a Fox News Channel interview after Trump’s news conference, said “we know this virus originated in Wuhan,” and that the Institute of Virology is only a handful of miles away from the wet market.

“We really need the Chinese government to open up” and help explain “exactly how this virus spread,” said Pompeo.

“The Chinese government needs to come clean,” he said.

The broad scientific consensus holds that SARS-CoV-2, the virus’ official name, originated in bats.

Trump and other officials have expressed deep skepticism of China’s officially declared death toll from the virus of around 3,000 people, when the U.S. has a death toll of more than 20,000 and rising.

He returned to the subject on Wednesday, saying the U.S. has more cases “because we do more reporting.”

“Do you really believe those numbers in this vast country called China, and that they have a certain number of cases and a certain number of deaths; does anybody really believe that?” he said. (NAN)

Boris receives oxygen support in ICU, China reports no new coronavirus deaths



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has received oxygen support in intensive care as he battles coronavirus infection, though he is not on a ventilator, a senior U.K. official said Tuesday, as the United States and many other nations continue to grapple with the devastating pandemic.


    The virus has killed more than 10,500 people in the United States, nearly half of them in New York. But Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said Monday that the daily death toll fell under 600 for two days in a row, suggesting a “possible flattening of the curve," though the hospital system remains overwhelmed.


    Elsewhere, China on Tuesday reported no new coronavirus deaths the previous day for the first time since January.



Italy surpasses China with highest coronavirus deaths

Italy has just surpassed China for the most number of deaths related to coronavirus, making it the world's deadliest center of the outbreak.

The number of deaths in Italy reached 3,405 on Thursday, the Italian Civil Protection Agency said at a news conference -- 156 more than China's toll, which, according to Johns Hopkins University, stands at 3,249.

The total number of cases in Italy rose to 41,035 with 5,322 new cases, officials added. 

The grim figure comes hours after China marked a major milestone in the battle to limit the spread, reporting no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time since the pandemic began.

As cases ratcheted up, Italy imposed nationwide restrictions similar to those seen in China -- placing more than 60 million people under lockdown.
Italy's world-class health system has been pushed to the brink amid the outbreak, especially in the country's north, which has seen the highest concentration of cases. 

People are being treated in field hospitals and lined up in corridors inside its straining public hospitals. Doctors and nurses are being infected, due to a lack of adequate protection.

Italian authorities are considering lengthening school closures beyond April 3, amid rumors of the lockdown also being extended.

"I think we are going toward an extension," Italian Education minister Lucia Azzolina said Thursday, adding that schools would reopen once there is "certainty of absolute safety."

Corriere della Sera quoted Thursday Italian PM Giuseppe Conte as saying "it is clear" the measures to tackle the outbreak, "both the one that has closed a lot of the country's businesses and individual activities, and the one that concerns the school, can only be extended to the deadline."

The Prime Minister's spokesperson told CNN no official decision had yet been taken. CNN


China approves a coronavirus vaccine for clinical trials

Chinese state media has announced that a subunit vaccine against the novel coronavirus has been developed and is now entering clinical trials. The approval for the tests was granted late local time on March 16 and was officially announced to the public on March 17 by China Central Television. According to the announcement, this vaccine was developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.

A vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus is necessary to greatly reduce its spread. This will reduce the burden on the healthcare system and will help protect the lives of people who are vulnerable to the virus. Experts have said that we are likely 12 to 18 months away from the approval of a virus that would be given to the general public.

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In its announcement this week, Chinese media said that the Academy of Military Medical Sciences Major General Chen Wei, a bioengineer, and her team developed the subunit vaccine in Wuhan. An unspecified third party reportedly evaluated the vaccine and approved it as being safe and effective.

‘Preliminary preparation’ for the mass production of this vaccine is allegedly also underway, according to the announcement. There is a ‘catch’ to this, however, and it’s that the vaccine is of the ‘subunit’ variety.

This type of vaccine involves only parts of the virus that can be used to stimulate someone’s immune system, helping it fight against the virus when the person comes in contact with it. This is different from other types of vaccines, such as whole-pathogen vaccines, which involve a weakened or killed version of the virus.

The latter type of virus provides a much stronger immune response, which means it is better able to protect someone from the pathogen that it introduces into their system. Most modern vaccines are of the whole-pathogen variety, not subunits, according to the NIH. Both of these differ from the mRNA vaccine that entered testing in the US earlier this month. (slashgear)

China: Chinese diplomat promotes conspiracy theory that US military brought coronavirus to Wuhan



A prominent Chinese official has promoted a conspiracy theory that the United States military could have brought the novel coronavirus to China -- and it did not originate in the city of Wuhan, as thought.

Posting to his more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian republished a video of Robert Redfield, the director for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, addressing a US Congressional committee on March 11.

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In the clip, Redfield said some influenza deaths in the US were later identified as cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Redfield didn't say when those people had died or over what time period, but Zhao pointed to his remarks in support of a growing conspiracy theory that the coronavirus did not originate in Hubei province in central China. He did not offer any further evidence for the claim.

"CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!" the Foreign Ministry official said.

Hundreds of athletes from the US military were in Wuhan for the Military World Games in October 2019.

The video of Redfield was also published to Twitter by other state media outlets, including national broadcaster CCTV and the popular Global Times tabloid.

On Friday, Zhao's fellow Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said there were "varied opinions" on the origin of the virus in the international community.

"China always considers this a scientific question, which should be addressed in a scientific and professional manner," he said, avoiding questions on whether Zhao's tweet represented the Chinese government's official position. CNN

67-year-old woman becomes China’s ‘oldest new mother’

A 67-year-old woman has given birth in China, a hospital said Monday, with the parents claiming they are the country’s oldest couple to have a natural birth. The woman surnamed Tian, delivered a healthy girl by Caesarean section on Friday, Zaozhuang city’s Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital told AFP.

“The child was bestowed on the two of us by heaven,” Tian’s 68-year-old husband, surnamed Huang, told Chinese news site guancha.cn.
The Global Times reported the new baby girl was called “Tianci”, meaning “gift from heaven”.

The Jinan Times said Tian already had two children, including a son born in 1977, two years before China imposed a one-child policy to control its burgeoning population.
Reports of the birth drew criticism on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.

“The parents are too selfish,” one commenter wrote. “At their advanced age they have no ability to take care of a kid, and the pressure will be on the older siblings.”

    Others wondered if Tian and Huang would be penalised for having more than the current allowance of two children.

In 2016, Beijing relaxed the one-child policy, allowing families to have two.
While Tian’s age makes her an outlier, women in China are increasingly delaying childbirth or choosing not to have children after decades of strict family planning policies that have made small families the norm.

The age at which the average Chinese woman has her first child rose from 24.3 years in 2006 to 26.9 years in 2016, according to a report this year by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

While the two-child policy has had a smaller effect on China’s birth count than expected, it has prompted more older women to consider having second children.
Around 51 per cent of newborns in 2017 were second children, compared to around 40 per cent in 2016, the Economist Intelligence Unit report said.

China now has more warships than the U.S - CSIS

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), informally known as the Chinese Navy, recently hit a landmark number of 300 ships—thirteen more than the U.S. Navy.

Although admittedly imposing, the number doesn’t tell the whole story. America’s fleet is much larger on a ship-by-ship basis, including eleven nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and an almost equal number of amphibious assault ships.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies’ ChinaPower project has uploaded an analysis of the PLAN versus the navies of several other regional countries and major powers. At 300 warship hulls, the PLAN is the largest navy in the world, counting aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines, and amphibious assault ships. The U.S. Navy trails at 287 hulls, Russia has 83 hulls, the U.K. 75 hulls, and Australia at 48 hulls. According to CSIS, the Chinese Navy has more ships than “Germany, India, Spain, and the United Kingdom” combined.
The PLAN destroyer Taizhou launches an anti-ship missile during a live fire exercise, 2017.

The bulk of Beijing’s Navy includes 23 destroyers, 59 frigates, and 37 corvettes, or a total of 119 surface ships. Under the surface China has 76 submarines, including ballistic missile submarines armed with long range nuclear missiles, nuclear-powered attack submarines, and diesel electric attack submarines.

As in most cases, the numbers are quite what they seem. The bulk of China’s naval buildup has been in the area of surface ships, many of which are not suitable for long range, expeditionary warfare. Corvettes such as the Jingdao-class Type 056, for example, are small, lightly armed ships useful only for showing the flag and hunting submarines off China’s coastline and in nearby seas.

The next ship up, the Jiangkai-II-class Type 054A frigate, is slightly larger but lacks the ability to contribute to the defense of a carrier battle group or a long-range punch. Those two ship types alone make up a third of China’s fleet.
A Type 094A Jin-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, PLA fleet review, April 2019.

The major problem with China’s naval buildup? China lacks the major power projection platforms essential to any navy destined to conduct long-range operations. China has just one carrier, and no amphibious assault ships capable of carrying helicopters and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter-class aircraft. It has no cruisers, a surface ship larger than a destroyer and, in the U.S. Navy, the principle ship designed to protect carriers and amphibious ships from mass missile attack.

Although the U.S. Navy has thirteen fewer ships than the Chinese Navy, by total ship tonnage it actually outweighs the Chinese Navy by a considerable margin. America’s navy weighs roughly three million tons more than the China’s—an enormous advantage. The average U.S. warship is much, much larger than its Chinese counterpart, making them more capable in their assigned missions and capable of sailing far from home.

The American advantage: USS Ronald Reagan, one of eleven U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, leaving Hong Kong, November 2018. The closest Chinese equivalent, the carrier Liaoning, can carry just a third as many airplanes and is strictly a training carrier.

One reason for the U.S. Navy’s advantage: eleven nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, each of which weighs close to 100,000 tons fully loaded, giving the U.S. Navy a massive 1,000,000+ ton advantage. Then there are the Wasp and America-class amphibious assault ships, each of which displaces 40,000 tons, of which the U.S. has ten. The U.S. Navy also has 22 guided missile cruisers to China’s none, and the service’s guided missile destroyers are larger and generally more powerfully armed than their Chinese counterparts.

China’s hull superiority is no accident: it’s the result of a supercharged economy that allowed Beijing to increase defense spending by double digits for more than two decades. It’s also not over: China commissioned 18 warships in 2016 and 14 in 2017. (the U.S. commissioned 5 ships in 2016 and 8 ships in 2017.)

China is also putting the finishing touches on a second carrier, Type 002, and is simultaneously building two more Type 003 improved carriers. At least one Type 075 amphibious assault ship roughly equivalent to the Wasp and America-class ships is under construction. Finally, China is building at least four Renhai-class Type 055 warships, which the Pentagon classifies as guided missile cruisers. Not only is China poised to broaden its lead in hulls, it is also adding larger platform ships that gave the U.S. Navy its huge advantage.
China’s fleet still has a large number of smaller coastal defense ships, such as this Type 056 corvette Huizhou.

Comparing the U.S. and Chinese navies is like comparing apples and oranges, but China is starting to build apples too, and at its current rate of naval construction, the country could have a fleet to match the U.S. Navy in a few decades.

China’s military is expected to peak somewhere around 2030, as the country’s population ages and its economy slows. Still, at 2017 levels the country will build another 154 warships. What kind of ships China builds and how large its fleet ultimately becomes could determine the balance of power in the Pacific. (Agency report)

China builds 158 Internet hospitals to curb congestion

China’s medical authority said on Wednesday that 158 Internet hospitals had been built, to address congestion in large urban hospitals amid digital tide.

Mao Qun’an, a director of the National Health Commission, said at the second Digital China Summit that 19 provinces, or over half of China’s provincial-level regions, had established provincial tele-medicine platforms.

The central government has also earmarked 99 million U.S. dollars in special funds to add tele-medical and other equipment in primary-level health institutions in impoverished counties.

The commission is now working to realise online services in second and tertiary hospitals, he said.

China’s has a three-tier hospital grading system with the tertiary being the highest.

Internet hospitals refer to those offering medical services, such as consultation and diagnosis, online.

In particular, they are expected to help tackle the scarcity of medical equipment and practitioners in some parts of China.

The three-day Digital China Summit, which concluded on May 1, highlights the latest information technologies that have swept through the country’s government, industries and society.(NAN)

China sentences another Canadian to death for drug trafficking

A Chinese court sentenced a second Canadian man to death for drug trafficking on Tuesday amid diplomatic tensions between Ottawa and Beijing.


The court in southern Guangdong province said the Canadian, Fan Wei, and 10 others — including an American and four Mexicans — had been part of an international narcotics syndicate working out of Taishan city between July and November 2012.

The group produced and sold 6.34 kilos (14 pounds) of methamphetamine and 366 grammes of dimethylamylamine, a drug used for attention deficit-hyperactive disorder, weight loss and improving athletic performance, according to the Jiangmen Intermediate People’s Court.

Fan and a Chinese man who played a key role in operations were sentenced to death, the court said in a statement.

“The number of drugs sold and manufactured was extremely large and the crimes were extremely serious,” the statement said.
The other foreigners were given suspended death sentences which would be reduced to life imprisonment after two years while the rest of the men faced prison terms.

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They have 10 days to appeal the sentence.
Fan is the second Canadian to face capital punishment this year.
In January, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was handed the death penalty following a one-day retrial after he appealed an earlier 15-year sentence in a separate drug trafficking case.

China says that he was a key member of an international drug trafficking syndicate but Schellenberg claims that he was visiting as a tourist.
The sentence came amid the backdrop of frosty diplomatic relations between China and Canada, with Beijing furious over the Vancouver arrest of a top executive from telecom giant Huawei on a US extradition request related to Iran sanctions violations.


Chinese authorities later detained two Canadian nationals — a former diplomat and a business consultant — on suspicion of endangering national security, a move seen as retaliation over the Huawei executive’s arrest.

Schellenberg has appealed his sentence and Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is fighting extradition. (AFP)
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