Health

CNN
Date: July 6, 2020
By: Jessie Yeung, CNN

(CNN)Authorities in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia are on high alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague, the disease that caused the Black Death pandemic, was reported Sunday.

The case was discovered in the city of Bayannur, located northwest of Beijing, according to state-run Xinhua news agency. A hospital alerted municipal authorities of the patient's case on Saturday. By Sunday, local authorities had issued a citywide Level 3 warning for plague prevention, the second lowest in a four-level system.

The warning will stay in place until the end of the year, according to Xinhua.

Plague, caused by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, is one of the deadliest bacterial infections in human history. During the Black Death in the Middle Ages, it killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe.    [FULL  STORY]

Hundreds infected in Beijing as new clusters emerge in Anxin county, about 150 kilometers from capital

Asia Times
Date: June 28, 2020
By AT Contributor

Businesses in Anxin, now under lockdown, had supplied freshwater fish to Xinfadi food market in Beijing (pictured). Photo: AFP

China imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh coronavirus outbreak on Sunday, as authorities warned it was too soon to “relax” over the new cluster of cases.

After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighboring Hebei province.

Health officials said Sunday that Anxin county – about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Beijing – will be “fully enclosed and controlled”, the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year.    [FULL  STORY]

Researchers say surge in cars at hospitals may indicate outbreak in fall.

ABC News
Date: June 8, 2020
By: Kaitlyn Folmer and Josh Margolin


Counting cars: Satellite images suggest coronavirus may have hit China last fallHarvard, BU researchers analyzed images that show hospital parking lots busier than usual.

Dramatic spikes in auto traffic around major hospitals in Wuhan last fall suggest the novel coronavirus may have been present and spreading through central China long before the outbreak was first reported to the world, according to a new Harvard Medical School study.

Using techniques similar to those employed by intelligence agencies, the research team behind the study analyzed commercial satellite imagery and "observed a dramatic increase in hospital traffic outside five major Wuhan hospitals beginning late summer and early fall 2019," according to Dr. John Brownstein, the Harvard Medical professor who led the research.

Brownstein, an ABC News contributor, said the traffic increase also "coincided with" elevated queries on a Chinese internet search for "certain symptoms that would later be determined as closely associated with the novel coronavirus."    [FULL  STORY]

The Chinese Embassy in New Delhi is denying allegations by the Indian government that coronavirus testing kits it ordered from China are faulty, calling the claim unfair and irresponsible

ABC News
Date: April 28, 2020
By: Aniruddha Ghosal,  Associated Press

NEW DELHI — China's embassy in New Delhi has denied allegations by the Indian government that coronavirus testing kits it ordered from China are faulty, calling the claim unfair and irresponsible.

On Monday, the national Indian Council of Medical Research canceled an order for nearly 1 million rapid antibody testing kits from two Chinese companies, Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics, over concerns about their quality and pricing. It said the kits had “wide variation” in their sensitivity and asked for them to be returned.

Chinese Embassy spokeswoman Ji Rong rejected the claim on Tuesday, saying, “The quality of medical products exported from China is prioritized. It is unfair and irresponsible for certain individuals to label Chinese products as ‘faulty’ and look at issues with preemptive prejudice.”

She said both companies insist that their kits meet quality standards in China and that India's National Institute of Virology had found them to be “satisfactory products.”

She also stressed that there were strict requirements for storage, transportation and use of the kits. “Any operation which isn’t carried out by professionals in accordance with product specification will lead to the testing accuracy variations,” she said.
[FULL  STORY]

CNN
Date: April 29, 2020
Analysis by James Griffiths, CNN


Hong Kong (CNN)On Sunday, Andrew Adonis, a member of Britain's House of Lords and onetime cabinet minister, took aim at the idea that the coronavirus pandemic was causing a crisis of capitalism.

"Lots of instant commentary on 'how Covid-19 will change the world' calls it a 'crisis of capitalism'. Wrong," he wrote on Twitter. "It's a 'crisis of communism'. It became a global pandemic through Xi's communist regime China."

While it's debatable how communist modern China actually is, Adonis is not alone in his complaint. Numerous Western politicians, particularly on the right, have blamed China's government and political system for causing the current global crisis. Many have continued to hammer phrases such as "China flu" or "Wuhan virus," despite warnings that such terms could lead to increased hostility against Asians. Even those critics who try to avoid ethnically-tinged labels often speak of a "CPC virus" or "Xi flu," named after country's ruling party, the Communist Party of China and its leader, President Xi Jinping, respectively.

It's safe to say that China's brand has taken a hit due to the virus. According to Pew Research, Americans' opinion of China is at its lowest point in 15 years, and 62% of those surveyed said they viewed China's power and influence as a "major threat."

But for some, the Beijing model is not necessarily looking so bad. China, despite being where the virus first emerged, has coped with the ensuing pandemic far better than many other countries, even though those countries had a longer warning time and greater chance to prepare.    [FULL  STORY]

CNBC
Date: April 24, 2020
By: Huileng Tan

  • Just this week, Missouri filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, saying China’s response led to devastating economic losses in the state.
  • It’s one of several calls for compensation and complaints from places including the U.K., Germany and Australia.
  • China has taken an aggressive stance against those complaints.

Artyom Ivanov | Tass | Getty Images

A growing chorus of voices around the world is calling for China to compensate for the damages incurred due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Just this week, Missouri’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government over its handling of the outbreak, saying China’s response led to devastating economic losses for the state.

The coronavirus outbreak was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has since spread to over 180 countries and territories, killing more than 190,000 people around the world, data from Johns Hopkins University showed. The number of reported cases globally has exceeded 2.7 million.

Missouri’s lawsuit was filed in a federal court this week by state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, alleging negligence on China’s part. The complaint said Missouri and its residents have lost possibly tens of billions of dollars, and it seeks cash compensation.

“The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” Schmitt, a Republican, said in a statement. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”    [FULL  STORY]

A revised report shows how Beijing reacts swiftly and effectively to tamp down Western criticism of its pandemic response.

The New York Times
Date: April 24, 2020
By: Matt Apuzzo

A Chinese flag on a billboard in Serbia last month.Credit…Marko Djurica/Reuters

BRUSSELS — Bowing to heavy pressure from Beijing, European Union officials softened their criticism of China this week in a report documenting how governments push disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents, emails and interviews.

Worried about the repercussions, European officials first delayed and then rewrote the document in ways that diluted the focus on China, a vital trading partner — taking a very different approach than the confrontational stance adopted by the Trump administration.

The initial European Union report, obtained by The New York Times, was not particularly strident: a routine roundup of publicly available information and news reports.

It cited Beijing’s efforts to curtail mentions of the virus’s origins in China, in part by blaming the United States for spreading the disease internationally. It noted that Beijing had criticized France as slow to respond to the pandemic and had pushed false accusations that French politicians used racist slurs against the head of the World Health Organization. The report also highlighted Russian efforts to promote false health information and sow distrust in Western institutions.  [FULL  STORY]

Hong Kong study finds 232,000 may have been infected in 1st wave of coronavirus in China

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/04/24
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

(AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Over a quarter-million people may have actually been infected with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) in China — four times the official figures, according to a Hong Kong study.

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to skyrocket across the globe, China's numbers, which seem to be stuck in a state of suspended animation, have increasingly been questioned by experts and laymen alike. A study, carried out by researchers at the University of Hong Kong University’s (HKU) school of public health and published in the Lancet on Tuesday (April 21), found that if China's fifth counting scheme, which used computerized tomography (CT) scans, had been used throughout the first wave of cases, then the number of confirmed cases should actually be around 232,000.

Since the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak began in Wuhan in November of 2019, China's National Health Commission (NHC) has used seven different schemes to tabulate confirmed infections between Jan. 15 and March 3. Initially, the definitions for what was considered to be a confirmed patient had to meet six extremely narrow criteria, such as having links to Wuhan or a wet market and known clusters, fever, respiratory symptoms, failure of antibiotic treatment, and whole genome sequencing of a patient's respiratory sample.

Over time, in successive versions, geographical restrictions were lifted and PCR tests could be used instead of whole genome sequencing, among other changes. This broadened definition led to an increase in confirmed cases.   [FULL  STORY]

Forbes
Date: Apr 18, 2020
By: Kenneth RapozaSenior, Contributor

 AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Watch out for Chinese companies swooping in with buckets of cash to buy strategic stakes, or majority control in U.S. and European companies as asset prices fall due to the pandemic.

NATO sounded the alarm this week, though without naming names.

“The geopolitical effects of the pandemic could be significant,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in web conference of defense ministers on Wednesday. “Some allies (are) more vulnerable for situations where critical infrastructure can be sold out,” he said. Of course he meant China. China has been busy buying Greek ports.

It already pretty much runs Italian textiles. It’s a wonder Italy even makes an espresso machine anymore.    [FULL  STORY]

Forbes
Date: April 20, 2020
By: Zak Doffman, Contributor

AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Huawei now looks set to be caught in the backlash as global political pressure mounts on China over its handling of the global coronavirus pandemic. Huawei had already warned that 2020 would be its toughest year yet, with “survival our first priority,” and that situation has now worsened—significantly.

Huawei is now almost entirely reliant on the Chinese market for growth—last year, sales in its home market soared 36% to account for around 60% of total revenues. Huawei is also reliant on China to wield its diplomatic broadsword against countries wavering over their 5G decisions, pour encourager les autres.

Talking of swords, this symbiotic relationship between Beijing and its number-one favorite tech giant has become somewhat double-edged. The U.S. blacklist, with its consequent impact on international sales, has removed Huawei’s international hedge. It cannot risk annoying Beijing, it needs to toe the political line.

We saw this last year with Xinjiang. Huawei has always maintained that sales of its technology into the surveillance state targeting China’s Uighur Muslim minority were through third-parties—it had no direct engagement. This was refuted by a new report that claimed Huawei was much more closely and directly involved.    [FULL  STORY]