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China FINALLY admits coronavirus failure as it announces crackdown on wet markets

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COVID-19 was first spotted at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in the city of Wuhan towards the end of last year, and is widely thought to be a zoonotic illness which jumped species at some point prior to that – although the details remain unclear. Beijing has never admitted the disease originated in China, with some officials claiming it was imported from Italy or even the United States.

However, Beijing’s market watching today announced restrictions to the killing and trading of live farm animals such as chickens and ducks in the wet markets.

Chen Xu, a market-inspecting specialist, said the move was the first stage in a plan to halt the live-poultry trade altogether.

He urged all cities in the country to initiate similar procedures to identify potential safety risks.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has admitted the outbreak exposed flaws in the design, construction and management of tens of thousands of ‘agricultural products markets’.

Hu Jianping, a deputy director at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said such facilities lacked proper planning or layout, with insufficient construction funds and in need of infrastructure.

In total there are an estimated 44,000 such markets across the nation, including more than 4,000 wholesale markets, she said.

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Ms Hu made her remarks at a press conference in which she was also questioned about worries over public health safety following the latest COVID-19 spike in Beijing, where 331 confirmed cases have been spotted since mid-June.

Experts blame raw meat sold at the Xinfadi, which is the city’s largest wholesale market, covering an size of more than 150 football pitches, and which has been closed since June 13.

Ms Hu, who is second-in-command at the Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Market System Development, pledged to increase the support provided to agricultural markets.

China would also introduce laws to clarify the “public welfare status”, she added.

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I think we should shut down those things right away

Dr Anthony Fauci

Critics of the notorious markets include Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert.

He told Fox News: “I think we should shut down those things right away.

“It boggles my mind how when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we don’t just shut it down.

“I don’t know what else has to happen to get us to appreciate that.”

Sir Paul McCartney, a long-standing vegetarian, has described them as “medieval”.

The Beatle said: “They will not close down these wet markets, that got us into this trouble in the first place. It’s mind-boggling, right?

“It wouldn’t be so bad if this is the only thing it seems like you can blame on those wet markets.

“It seems like Sars, avian flu, all sorts of other stuff that has afflicted us … and what’s it for? For these quite medieval practices.

“They need to clean up their act.”

Wet markets remain popular in China where there is a belief that freshly butchered meat has more flavour than frozen meat.

As well as seafood, Huanan stocked live wild animals, such as foxes, crocodiles, wolf puppies, giant salamanders, snakes, rats, peacocks, porcupines, koalas and game meats, according to some reports.

Beijing issued a temporary law in February banning ban the trading and eating of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

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World News

Global coronavirus cases exceed 11 million

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Global coronavirus cases exceeded 11 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months.

The number of cases is more than double the figure for severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization.

Many hard-hit countries are easing lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus while making extensive alterations to work and social life that could last for a year or more until a vaccine is available.

Some countries are experiencing a resurgence in infections, leading authorities to partially reinstate lockdowns, in what experts say could be a recurring pattern into 2021.

The United States reported more than 55,400 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a new daily global record as infections rose in a majority of states. Several U.S. governors halted plans to reopen their state economies in the face of a surge in cases.

Almost a quarter of the known global deaths have occurred in the United States – nearly 129,000.

Latin America, where Brazil has 1.5 million cases, makes up 23% of the global total of people infected. India has become the new epicenter in Asia, rising to 625,000 cases.

Asia and the Middle East have around 12% and 9% respectively, according to the Reuters tally, which uses government reports.

In some countries with limited testing capabilities, case numbers reflect a small proportion of total infections. Roughly half of people reported to have been infected are known to have recovered.

Worldwide, there have been more than 520,000 fatalities linked to the disease so far, roughly the same as the number of influenza deaths reported annually.

The first cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed on Jan. 10 in Wuhan in China, before infections and fatalities surged in Europe, then the United States, and later Russia.

The pandemic has now entered a new phase, with India and Brazil battling outbreaks of over 10,000 cases a day, putting a major strain on resources.

Countries including China, New Zealand and Australia have experienced new outbreaks in the past month, despite largely quashing local transmission.

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World News

UK to set out plans for reopening swimming pools and gyms

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would set out a timetable next week for when sectors of Britain’s economy which remain shuttered – such as indoor gyms, swimming pools and nail bars – would be allowed to reopen from their coronavirus lockdowns.

“Next week we will set out a timetable for their reopening, though of course I can only lift those remaining national restrictions as and when it is safe to do so,” he told reporters on Friday.

Britain allowed non-essential retailers to reopen last month and pubs, restaurants, cinemas and other leisure and hospitality businesses are due to open their doors again on Saturday, as long as they follow social distancing rules.

Johnson said his government would also publish guidelines next week for how amateur cricket matches – a traditional feature of British summertime – can start up again.

“We will be publishing guidelines in the next few days so that cricket can resume in time for next weekend,” he said.

While professional cricket has already been given the green light to restart, government advisors have been worried that the balls used in the sport could act as a vector for spreading the coronavirus.

England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, provided a glimpse of what the new guidelines for amateur games would look like.”Providing people don’t do things that are clearly not sensible, ranging from hugging the bowler if they’ve just bowled someone for a duck through to spitting on the ball, it should be possible,” he said.

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World News

WHO sees first results from COVID drug trials within two weeks

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) should soon get results from clinical trials it is conducting of drugs that might be effective in treating COVID-19 patients, its Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.

“Nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries have so far been recruited into the Solidarity trial,” he told a news briefing, referring to clinical studies the U.N. agency is conducting.

“We expect interim results within the next two weeks.”

The Solidarity Trial started out in five parts looking at possible treatment approaches to COVID-19: standard care; remdesivir; the anti-malaria drug touted by U.S. President Donald Trump, hydroxychloroquine; the HIV drugs lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.

Earlier this month, it stopped the arm testing hydroxychloroquine, after studies indicated it showed no benefit in those who have the disease, but more work is still needed to see whether it may be effective as a preventative medicine.

Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies programme, said it would be unwise to predict when a vaccine could be ready against COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has killed more than half a million people.

While a vaccine candidate might show its effectiveness by year’s end, the question was how soon it could be mass produced, he told the U.N. journalists’ association ACANU in Geneva.

There is no proven vaccine against the disease now, while 18 potential candidates are being tested on humans.

WHO officials defended their response to the virus that emerged in China last year, saying they had been driven by the science as it developed. Ryan said what he regretted was that global supply chains had broken, depriving medical staff of protective equipment.

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“I regret that there wasn’t fair, accessible access to COVID tools. I regret that some countries had more than others, and I regret that front-line workers died because of (that),” he said.

He urged countries to get on with identifying new clusters of cases, tracking down infected people and isolating them to help break the transmission chain.

“People who sit around coffee tables and speculate and talk (about transmission) don’t achieve anything. People who go after the virus achieve things,” he said.

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World News

Spain's banks look to make lockdown branch closures permanent

MADRID (Reuters) – As Spain reopens after the COVID-19 crisis, its banking industry is seizing the opportunity to shrink its swollen branch network which has long been a drag on profitability, with just four banks so far planning at least 800 branch closures this year.

Despite significant cuts since the 2008 financial crisis and more than 2,000 last year, Spain’s 24,000 bank branches still give it one of the highest ratios to people in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund, trailing just San Marino, Mongolia and Luxembourg.

Union opposition to closures and a population more reliant on using in-branch services than others in Europe have slowed Spanish banks’ progress in closing branches despite their running costs being a major drag on profitability.

But after shutting down huge parts of their networks during the lockdown, lenders are examining whether changes to consumer behaviour mean more branches can remain shut.

“Many of the even older clients will have discovered that you can do things quite quickly and cheaply online. I am not sure they would go back to doing things the same way as before,” said Nick Hill, managing director at rating agency Moody’s.

Bankia (BKIA.MC) and Sabadell (SABE.MC) both plan not to reopen some of the branches they closed during the lockdown imposed in Spain to curb the pandemic, according to sources.

Sabadell and Bankia are closing 235 and 140 branches this year, respectively, while Unicaja is reducing its traditional network by 100 in the next three years. Oscar Arce, the Bank of Spain’s director general for economics, told a news briefing this week that it would be up to each bank to decide on branch closures but said “there were elements in every bank’s network that were not profitable.”

In a sector grappling with higher loan-loss provisions to cope with the pandemic, financial consultant Kearney believes Spanish banks will need to reduce costs by between 2 billion to 3 billion euros in the medium-term to improve profitability – and branch closures are likely to be central to that.

MCDONALD’S MODEL

Around 35% of bank branches across Europe have closed in the last 10 years according to Kearney, as lenders slashed costs and customers switched to digital platforms.

But in Spain around 65% of product and service contracts are still agreed in branches, compared to less than 50% in Europe as a whole. That’s left Spanish lenders wary about cutting off access to branch services, particularly in rural areas.

Instead some are set to accelerate a model they were trying before the crisis – using a McDonald’s style franchise to outsource branch services.

Lenders like Unicaja (UNI.MC) and Liberbank have started using self-employed agents to run branches and sell the bank’s products. The ‘financial agent’ is responsible for rent, electricity and water supply bills while the bank provides the technology and the financial products, Jonathan Joaquin de Velasco, the head of strategy and risk policy at Liberbank, told Reuters.

“We get rid of all the fixed costs, we turn them into variable costs, and this obviously has a very relevant impact on efficiency over time,” Joaquin de Velasco said.

When Liberbank first launched this model with one ‘pilot’ ‘financial agency’ in September of 2016, it had 992 traditional branches. As of the end of the second quarter, the lender will have 560 traditional branches and 200 financial agencies.

Though Velasco did not give a breakdown on the cost-savings arising from this model, he said its implementation would on average improve the efficiency ratio by almost three times that of an equivalent branch in size.

Banks can also use the model to incentivize the sale of higher margin products for wealthier customers, making the remaining outposts more profitable.

“Downsizing the network is a long established trend, but more than just downsizing it is the transformation of branches, that will continue”, said Caixabank’s Chief Executive Officer Gonzalo Gortazar during a business school event on June 18.

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Fitness

The next pandemic threatens?: New swine flu discovered Virus in China

DieCorona pandemic is not yet over, the security measures to curb the dissemination to the public life.

And now this message from China: scientists have been in pig fattening, a new influenza virus operated discovered, which spreads among the animals.

Their results, the researchers of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, shared in the scientific magazine ‘PNAS’.

Therefore, these pathogens don’t make the animals sick, it would have also, similar to the swine flu in 2009, “pandemic Potential”.

Mixing viruses in pigs

Influenza viruses change rapidly. In this country that makes the annual flu epidemics is noticeable, in which slightly modified versions of the virus are rife.

There is, however, that new fatal viruses.

This often happens in pigs and may infect these animals at the same time with different influenza viruses mammalian, human and avian – influenza strains to exchange their genes.

So also in the case of a mixed virus, spreading since 2013, in pig farms in China. As the researchers report, had become this Virus is now the dominant variant.

In the investigation of the new influenza variant G4, the scientists were noisy. In this Virus, it is a blend of three lines of descent:

  • a, which is similar to strains found in European and Asian birds,
  • the H1N1 strain that caused the pandemic in 2009,
  • a North American H1N1, the genes of influenza viruses of birds, humans and pigs contains

Through this combination of G4 can infest not only animals, but also cells of the human respiratory system. Between ferrets, considered a good model for influenza spreads, it spread slightly.

Workers already have antibodies against the new Virus

The scientists have already been able to demonstrate antibodies against the G4 Virus in the workers of pig farms – each tenth Person.

A slight sigh of Relief there should be but probably. Because so far only two cases have been documented where the Virus has triggered in people with a serious illness – a 46-Year-old died of it.

As the scientists hold on to, not such cases were far more dangerous, as the Virus has not yet been passed from human to human.

Virus should still be observed

Experts such as flu-researcher Martha Nelson of the American National Insitutes of Health, therefore, slight all-clear.

The researcher feels that it is appropriate to watch G4 more carefully, you will see, however, currently there is no direct evidence that this can trigger a new, deadly wave of Influenza.

Because it would have to spread easily from person to person and a severe course of the disease trigger.

Nelson noted in a scientific article, however, is that influenza can change virus also surprising.

There is also a danger that we neglect to Influenza and other threats, currently, would be due to the Corona pandemic”.”

Production of flu vaccinations are Routine

Should, in fact, a new flu virus spread, the infected people, there is a worldwide reporting requirement.

The world health organization (WHO) would be informed and the production of a suitable vaccine to be started.

This production is likely to be also significantly simpler than that of a matching By means of counter-Covid-19. Because flu vaccinations are now Routine.

Sources

  • Sun, H., et al. (2020): Prevalent Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza virus with 2009 pandemic viral genes is another source of human infection, retrieved on 02.07.2020 https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117
  • Cohen, J. (2020): Swine flu strain with human pandemic potential is increasingly found in pigs in China, retrieved on 02.07.2020 https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/swine-flu-strain-human-pandemic-potential-increasingly-found-pigs-china

Cornelia Bertram

*The post “Threatens to be the next pandemic?: New swine flu Virus found in China” published by FitForFun. Contact with the executives here.

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World News

England puts United States on 'red-list', will quarantine arrivals

LONDON (Reuters) – Passengers arriving into England from the United States will not be exempted from quarantine rules, Britain’s transport minister Grant Shapps said on Friday.

Asked whether the United States would be on a ‘red-list’ of countries to which a 14-day quarantine period will apply, Shapps said: “I’m afraid it will be.”

“The U.S. from a very early stage banned flights from the UK and from Europe so there isn’t a reciprocal arrangement in place,” he told the BBC.

England is relaxing its quarantine rules for around 50 other countries.

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World News

UK PM's father Stanley Johnson within rights to visit Greece: minister

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s father, who travelled to Greece likely via Bulgaria despite current advice for British nationals to avoid all but essential international travel, was within his rights to do so, Britain’s transport minister said on Friday.

“It’s advice so everyone can decide what to do with the advice,” Grant Shapps told Sky News.

Asked whether Stanley Johnson was within his rights to travel to Greece, Shapps said: “Yes, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office make it clear. They issue travel advice.”

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World News

Beaches beckon as England to end quarantine for more than 50 countries

LONDON (Reuters) – England’s coronavirus quarantine rules for more than 50 countries including Germany, France, Spain and Italy is to end, the British government said on Friday, allowing millions of holidaymakers to head to Europe’s beaches for a summer break.

From July 10 passengers visiting places viewed as low risk will not need to self-isolate when they return, while those from higher risk countries will have to quarantine for 14-days under a rule which has infuriated airlines and the travel industry.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has struggled to scrap the rules and has so far failed to convince the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to immediately follow suit.

“There will be a list of 50 plus countries and if you add in the overseas territories, 60 something or other that we will publish later today,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

“Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation,” he said.

The full list has not yet been published by the government which has been debating for days how to lift the quarantine. New Zealand is included in the list as are the Vatican and Britain’s overseas territories such as the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar.

Britain’s foreign ministry will also set out exemptions from its global advisory against “all but essential” international travel from July 4, a key to normal insurance being valid.

The government said it expected countries included on the quarantine-free list for England would reciprocate by relaxing their own travel restrictions.

The move to ditch the quarantine comes as England’s High Court is due start hearing a legal challenge by British Airways, a move backed by low-cost rivals Ryanair and easyJet.

All the airlines as well as others in the travel sector have announced thousands of job losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and had said the quarantine had no scientific basis and was unworkable in practice.

Britain said it would still require all travellers, except those from the exempted countries, to provide their contact information including their travel history on arrival. People who have been in or transited through non-exempt countries will still have to self isolate for 14 days.

England and Northern Ireland will reopen pubs this weekend, signalling a gradual reopening of its economy. Scotland will allow pubs to reopen fully later in July. Wales will allow pubs to serve outside on July 13.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned people to maintain social distancing rules and is expected to repeat that caution at a news conference on Friday.

“Anyone who flouts social distancing and COVID-Secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal,” he will say.

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Categories
World News

Beaches beckon as England to end quarantine for more than 50 countries

LONDON (Reuters) – England’s coronavirus quarantine rules for more than 50 countries including Germany, France, Spain and Italy is to end, the British government said on Friday, allowing millions of holidaymakers to head to Europe’s beaches for a summer break.

From July 10 passengers visiting places viewed as low risk will not need to self-isolate when they return, while those from higher risk countries will have to quarantine for 14-days under a rule which has infuriated airlines and the travel industry.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has struggled to scrap the rules and has so far failed to convince the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to immediately follow suit.

“There will be a list of 50 plus countries and if you add in the overseas territories, 60 something or other that we will publish later today,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

“Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation,” he said.

The full list has not yet been published by the government which has been debating for days how to lift the quarantine. New Zealand is included in the list as are the Vatican and Britain’s overseas territories such as the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar.

Britain’s foreign ministry will also set out exemptions from its global advisory against “all but essential” international travel from July 4, a key to normal insurance being valid.

The government said it expected countries included on the quarantine-free list for England would reciprocate by relaxing their own travel restrictions.

The move to ditch the quarantine comes as England’s High Court is due start hearing a legal challenge by British Airways, a move backed by low-cost rivals Ryanair and easyJet.

All the airlines as well as others in the travel sector have announced thousands of job losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and had said the quarantine had no scientific basis and was unworkable in practice.

Britain said it would still require all travellers, except those from the exempted countries, to provide their contact information including their travel history on arrival. People who have been in or transited through non-exempt countries will still have to self isolate for 14 days.

England and Northern Ireland will reopen pubs this weekend, signalling a gradual reopening of its economy. Scotland will allow pubs to reopen fully later in July. Wales will allow pubs to serve outside on July 13.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned people to maintain social distancing rules and is expected to repeat that caution at a news conference on Friday.

“Anyone who flouts social distancing and COVID-Secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal,” he will say.

Source: Read Full Article