WHO expert 'had concerns' about lab close to 1st COVID cases
When a World Health Organization-led team traveled to China earlier this year to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, a top official said he was worried about biosafety standards at a laboratory close to the market where the first human cases were detected, according to a documentary released Thursday by TV2, a Danish television channel.
China orders mass testing in Wuhan as COVID outbreak spreads
China has suspended flights and trains, canceled professional basketball league games and announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan as widening outbreaks of the delta variant reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.
Experts question if WHO should lead pandemic origins probe
As the World Health Organization draws up plans for the next phase of its probe into how the coronavirus pandemic started, an increasing number of scientists say it isn’t up to the task and that the U.N. health agency shouldn’t even be the one to investigate.
China, US diplomats clash over human rights, pandemic origin
Top U.S. and Chinese diplomats appear to have had another sharply worded exchange, with Beijing saying it told the U.S. to cease interfering in its internal affairs and accusing it of politicizing the search for the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
China pushes to expand virus origin search beyond its border
Chinese health officials pushed Wednesday for expanding the search for the origins of COVID-19 beyond China, one day after the release of a World Health Organization report on the issue. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)BEIJING – Chinese health officials pushed Wednesday to expand the search for the origins of the coronavirus beyond China, one day after the release of a closely watched World Health Organization report on the issue. The search for the origins of the virus has become a diplomatic feud. "On this issue, what our Chinese experts can see is the same as what the foreign experts can see,” he said. “We are concerned that this investigation faced delays and the lack of access to virus samples," he said Wednesday.
WHO team urges patience after 1st look for origin of virus
She said the study did not rise to the level of the impact that the pandemic has had on the world. Ad“This is only a first start -- we’ve only scratched the surface of this very complex set of studies that need to be conducted,” Ben Embarek said. While the team members believe one hypothesis that the virus could have leaked from a laboratory was not likely, it was “not impossible” either, he said. There are no firm conclusions," Ben Embarek said. "And I think that’s how we should look at the whole outcome of this report — and this work.”___Josh Boak contributed from Baltimore.
World leaders call for pandemic treaty, but short on details
"The world cannot afford to wait until the pandemic is over to start planning for the next one,” Tedros said during a news conference. Steven Solomon, WHO's principal legal officer, said the proposed pandemic treaty would need to be ratified by lawmakers in the participating countries. European Council President Charles Michel first laid out the idea of a pandemic treaty at the U.N. General Assembly in December. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. has concerns about the current push for a new pandemic treaty. “That should be our focus currently.”WHO legal officer Solomon said the pandemic treaty might also address issues such as the sharing of vaccine technology and vaccine supplies, but gave no indication how that might happen.
WHO report: COVID likely 1st jumped into humans from animals
Matthew Kavanagh of Georgetown University said the report deepened the understanding of the virus's origins, but more information was needed. Topping the list was transmission from bats through another animal, which they said was likely to very likely. They evaluated direct spread from bats to humans as likely, and said that spread to humans from the packaging of “cold-chain” food products was possible but not likely. AdWhile it’s possible an infected animal contaminated packaging that was then brought to Wuhan and infected humans, the report said the probability is very low. “It's hard to be definitive and rule anything out.” But he said most scientists agree that bats are the most likely source.
China outlines COVID-origin findings, ahead of WHO report
Chinese officials briefed diplomats Friday, March 26, 2021, on the ongoing research into the origin of COVID-19, ahead of the expected release of a long-awaited report from the World Health Organization. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)BEIJING – Chinese officials briefed diplomats Friday on the ongoing research into the origin of COVID-19, ahead of the expected release of a long-awaited report from the World Health Organization. The briefing appeared to be an attempt by China to get out its view on the report, which has become enmeshed in a diplomatic spat. The U.S. and others have raised questions about Chinese influence and the independence of the findings, and China has accused critics of politicizing a scientific study. At a Biden administration health briefing Friday, U.S. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the agency was looking forward to the release of the WHO report.
One Good Thing: An artist preserves Wuhan's COVID memories
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)WUHAN – Scribbled instructions for incoming patients plastered on the window of a silent hospital reception counter. Fear gripped the city as authorities abruptly shut its residents in their homes and froze transport links on Jan. 23. With public transportation closed, the only solution was to bicycle to the hospital, with Yang leading the way. AdSoon after sending the mother-daughter pair to hospital, Yang came down with a fever and cough and feared she had the virus. Yang is currently working on a wall-size aerial view of Wuhan under lockdown, with individual residents represented by black ink dots.
Expert says origins of pandemic could be known in few years
Koopmans, who was also on the WHO-led team, said they considered numerous hypotheses for how the pandemic might have started, including the possibility of a laboratory accident. He said the wildlife trade was the most likely explanation of how COVID-19 arrived in Wuhan, where the first human cases were detected. Ad“I am convinced we’re going to find out fairly soon within the next few years," Daszak said regarding the outbreak's origins. Marion Koopmans, who was also on the WHO-led team, said they considered numerous hypotheses for how the pandemic might have started, including the possibility of a laboratory accident. As with all WHO missions, the team members and itinerary of the trip had to be approved by China.
The Latest: SKorea to give shots to elders in long-term care
AdHe also sanctioned a bill that makes the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines easier. However, the actual numbers of COVID-19 cases, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher, in part due to limited testing. Murphy, who’s running for re-election this, said the state’s COVID-19 trends are headed in the right direction, though they’ve been up a bit this week. ___SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s governor says all adults in the state will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines on April 1. Ad___PHOENIX — Arizona on Wednesday reported 830 confirmed coronavirus cases and 78 deaths, following two days of no new deaths.
China fires back at US allegations of lack of transparency
The World Health Organization team is briefed outside of the Huanan Seafood Market on the third day of their field visit in Wuhan, China. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)BEIJING – China fired back at the U.S. on Sunday over allegations from the White House that Beijing withheld some information about the coronavirus outbreak from World Health Organization investigators. "To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, China must make available its data from the earliest days of the outbreak." In their comments while in China, team members said they had some new insights into the origins of the pandemic that has killed more than 2.3 million people, but that major questions are still unanswered. ___This story has been corrected to show that the White House national security adviser's statement was issued on Saturday, not Friday.
EXPLAINER: What the WHO coronavirus experts learned in Wuhan
AdHere's a look at the theories the team explored during their visit:THE BATSThe mission to Wuhan did not change a major theory about where the virus came from. Chinese health officials note that only surfaces at the market tested positive for the virus, not any of the animal products. ___THE LABThe Chinese and the international experts concluded it is extremely unlikely the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab with an extensive collection of virus samples. WHO team member Marion Koopmans noted that it still wouldn't answer the question of where the virus came from originally. Team member Thea Koelsen Fischer said she did not get to see raw data and had to rely on an analysis of the data that was presented to her.
WHO team: Coronavirus unlikely to have leaked from China lab
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)WUHAN – The coronavirus most likely first appeared in humans after jumping from an animal, a team of international and Chinese scientists looking for the origins of COVID-19 said Tuesday, saying an alternate theory that the virus leaked from a Chinese lab was unlikely. And it allowed the joint Chinese-WHO team to further explore the lab leak theory — which former U.S. President Donald Trump and officials from his administration had put forward without evidence — and decide it was unlikely. But another team member, Danish scientist Thea Koelsen Fischer, told reporters that team members could not rule out the possibility of further investigation and new leads. He also noted that there were no reports of this virus in any lab anywhere before the pandemic. Liang, the head of the Chinese team, said the virus also appeared to have been spreading in parts of the city other than the market, so it remains possible that the virus originated elsewhere.
AP Interview: China granted WHO team full access in Wuhan
Daszak, part of the team investigating the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan, says the Chinese side granted full access to all sites and personnel they requested to visit and meet with. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)WUHAN – A member of the World Health Organization expert team investigating the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan said the Chinese side granted full access to all sites and personnel they requested — a level of openness that even he hadn’t expected. So really good," said the British-born zoologist, who is president of the NGO EcoHealth Alliance in New York City. Daszak said the team was also given wide access when visiting hospitals that treated patients in the initial outbreak at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020. The same level of access was given at the Huanan Seafood Market that was linked to early case clusters, he said.
The Latest: Mexico's president has negative antigen test
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)MEXICO CITY __ Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador posted a video Thursday saying he had tested negative on an antigen test, after testing positive for COVID-19 about 12 days ago. State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker turned down the idea Thursday. He says, “The trend is favorable, but the situation is still very, very bad.”Spain has administered 1.67 million vaccine doses, with more than 586,000 people getting both doses. Ad___TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has received its first batch of the Russian coronavirus vaccine. Iranian state TV quoted Tehran’s ambassador to Russia, Kazem Jalali, as saying Iran has ordered 5 million doses from Russia.
WHO team in Wuhan says discussions open, meetings frank
Peter Ben Embarek of the World Health Organization team, at left, arrives for a field visit at the Service Center for Party Members and Residents of Jiangxinyuan Community in Wuhan, China on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. The team on Thursday spent around two hours meetings with managers and residents at the Jiangxinyuan community administrative center in Wuhan's Hanyang District. Earlier, Daszak tweeted images of media outside the virology institute, saying: “Thanking the press for their patience and interest in getting this news out to the world. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has collected extensive virus samples, leading to unproven allegations that it may have caused the original outbreak by leaking the virus into the surrounding community. China has also pushed ahead with a plan to vaccinate 50 million people for COVID-19 by the middle of this month.
China not convinced by Canada's Wu-Tang Clan explanation
(John Shearer/Invision via AP)BEIJING – A ruckus brought by China over Canadian T-shirts bearing an altered logo of the New York hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan continued Wednesday, with China’s Foreign Ministry saying it didn’t buy Canada’s explanation that the shirts were not an insult linked to the coronavirus. Canada's Foreign Ministry said this week that the shirts using the “W” logo of the Wu-Tang Clan but with the group’s name replaced with “Wuhan” was not intended as a slight. The Chinese-made T-shirts were reportedly ordered last summer by someone at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing and word of them began circulating recently on the internet in China. China says her case is politically motivated as part of a U.S. effort to stifle the nation’s global economic expansion. In apparent retaliation, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor, placed restrictions on various Canadian exports to China, and sentenced a convicted Canadian drug smuggler to death in a sudden retrial.
WHO team visits Wuhan virus lab at center of speculation
Journalists and security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in China's Hubei province on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. Reporters followed the team to the high security facility, but as with past visits, there was little direct access to team members, who have given scant details of their discussions and visits thus far. AdOne of China’s top virus research labs, the Wuhan Institute of Virology built an archive of genetic information about bat coronaviruses after the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. That has led to unproven allegations that it may have a link to the original outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan in late 2019. One possibility is that a wildlife poacher might have passed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan.
Biden boosting vaccine allotments, financing for virus costs
Starting next week, 1 million doses will be distributed to some 6,500 pharmacies across the country, the White House said. The administration is also boosting by 500,000 the weekly allocation of vaccines sent directly to states and territories for the coming weeks, up to 10.5 million. It is allowing state and local governments to receive additional federal dollars to cover previously incurred expenses relating to the pandemic. The number of participating pharmacies and the allocation of vaccines are expected to accelerate as drug makers increase production. The Biden administration has sought to increase certainty to state governments on their upcoming allocations to streamline deliveries and prevent stockpiling of second doses for the two-dose regimens.
Wu-Tang Clan or Wuhan? T-shirt ignites new China-Canada tiff
In this Nov. 12, 2018, file photo, flags of Canada and China are placed for the first China-Canada economic and financial strategy dialogue in Beijing, China. China says it has lodged a formal complaint with Canada over T-shirts ordered by one of the countrys Beijing Embassy staff that allegedly mocked Chinas response to the coronavirus outbreak. But Canadian media reported the logo was a W in homage to the New York hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan and that Ottawa had apologized for any misunderstanding. The T-shirts were reportedly ordered last summer and it wasn't clear if any were still in circulation. China says her case is politically motivated as part of a U.S. effort to stifle the nation's global economic expansion.
WHO team visits animal disease center in Wuhan, China
A member of a World Health Organization team is seen wearing protective gear during a field visit to the Hubei Animal Disease Control and Prevention Center for another day of field visit in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. The WHO team is investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic has visited two disease control centers in the province. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)WUHAN – A World Health Organization team of international experts visited an animal disease center in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Tuesday as part of their investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. He also tweeted that they had met with staff in charge of livestock health in Hubei province, toured laboratories and had an in-depth discussion along with questions and answers. AdIntense negotiations preceded the WHO visit to Wuhan, where the first COVID-19 cases were detected in late 2019.
The Latest: Wash. state warns hospitals on VIP vaccinations
The state crossed that mark Monday, exactly a year after officials reported the first case of a coronavirus infection in Massachusetts. — Maryland’s acting health secretary says the state’s hospitals have received less than half of their expected allocations of second doses of the coronavirus vaccine for front-line health workers this week. Schrader says state officials were talked with the federal Department of Health and Human Services all weekend trying to figure out what happened. The CDC says Iowa has delivered 190,689 first vaccine doses to individuals, or 6,044 per 100,000 people, the third lowest rate in the nation. Ad___PRAGUE — The Czech Republic is not planning to limit use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for elderly people like some other European Union nations.
WHO team in Wuhan visits disease control centers
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)WUHAN – A World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic visited two disease control centers on Monday that had an early hand in managing the outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The team on Monday visited both the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and its Wuhan city office, amid tight Chinese controls on access to information about the virus. AdThe evidence the team assembles will add to what is expected to be a years-long quest for answers. At a press briefing, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said the team has plans to visit the Wuhan Institute of Virology, among other sites. Two people died of the disease in January, the first reported COVID-19 deaths in China in several months.
WHO teams visits Wuhan food market in search of virus clues
The market was the site of a December 2019 outbreak of the virus. The market has since been largely ruled out but it could provide hints to how the virus spread so widely. “Very important site visits today — a wholesale market first & Huanan Seafood Market just now," Peter Daszak, a zoologist with the U.S. group EcoHealth Alliance and a member of the WHO team, said in a tweet. The market was the food distribution center for Wuhan during the city's 76-day lockdown last year. AdOne possibility is that a wildlife poacher might have passed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan.
China’s manufacturing, services sectors weaken in January
Workers move boxes of computers on a street of Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)BEIJING – An official indicator of China’s manufacturing activity weakened for a second consecutive month in January, following outbreaks of domestic COVID-19 cases that affected the operations of some industries. The purchasing managers’ index, or PMI, for China’s manufacturing sector fell to 51.3 in January, down 0.6 percentage points from December, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics on Sunday. Readings above 50 indicate expansion of the manufacturing industry, while a reading below it reflects a contraction. AdThe PMI for China’s non-manufacturing sector came in at 52.4 in January, down from 55.7 in December, according to NBS.
WHO team visits 2nd Wuhan hospital in virus investigation
The World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic visited another Wuhan hospital that had treated early COVID-19 patients on their second full day of work on Saturday. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)WUHAN – Members of a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic visited another Wuhan hospital that had treated early COVID-19 patients on their second full day of work Saturday. “All hypotheses are on the table as the team follows the science in their work to understand the origins of the COVID19 virus,” WHO tweeted. One possibility is that a wildlife poacher might have passed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan. ___The story has been updated to correct the spelling of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital.
WHO team visits Wuhan hospital that had early virus patients
The WHO team members and Chinese officials earlier had their first in-person meetings at a hotel ahead of field visits in and around the central city of Wuhan in the coming days. She said they were discussing their program of visits and Chinese team leader “prof. “All hypotheses are on the table as the team follows the science in their work to understand the origins of the COVID19 virus,” WHO tweeted. One possibility is that a wildlife poacher might have passed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan. ___Associated Press photographer Ng Han Guan in Wuhan, China, and video journalist Sam McNeil in Beijing contributed to this report.
WHO team in Wuhan departs quarantine for COVID origins study
Workers wave to the team of experts from the World Health Organization who ended their quarantine and prepare to leave the quarantine hotel by bus in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)WUHAN – A World Health Organization team emerged from quarantine in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to start field work in a fact-finding mission on the origins of the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic. The mission has become politically charged, as China seeks to avoid blame for alleged missteps in its early response to the outbreak. “All hypotheses are on the table as the team follows the science in their work to understand the origins of the COVID19 virus,” WHO tweeted. One possible source of the virus is bats in caves in rural Yunnan province, about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) southwest of Wuhan.
The Latest: Anchorage opens up after COVID-19 drop, vaccines
Plastic surgeon Daniel Suver receives the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Andrea Castelblanco during a vaccine clinic on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Anchorage is averaging about 60 new COVID-19 cases a day, said Dr. Janet Johnston, the epidemiologist for the Anchorage Health Department. More than 90 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be produced in Japan. Ad___SACRAMENTO -- California reported its second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths — while the rates of new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations continue to drop. ___ALBANY, N.Y. — New York may have undercounted COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents by thousands.
Asia Today: China's big holiday travel season light so far
This year, authorities have offered free refunds on plane tickets and extra pay for workers who stay put to dissuade travel for the holiday. The National Health Commission on Thursday reported 41 new cases of local transmission of the virus, a decline from previous days. The Philippines has nearly 520,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the second-highest number in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, and 10,552 deaths. — Vietnam has reported 82 new COVID-19 cases in two clusters, hours after counting its first new local cases in nearly two months. Meanwhile, Australia has extended its suspension of quarantine-free travel from New Zealand for another three days.
Relative of virus victim asks to meet WHO experts in Wuhan
Zhang is demanding to meet a visiting World Health Organization expert team, saying it should speak with affected families who allege they are being muffled by the Chinese government. China approved the visit by researchers under the auspices of the U.N. agency only after months of negotiations. The WHO team, which arrived in Wuhan on Jan. 14 to investigate the origins of the virus, is expected to begin field work later this week after a 14-day quarantine. Zhang, a Wuhan native now living in the southern city of Shenzhen, has been organizing relatives of coronavirus victims in China to demand accountability from officials. Many are angry that the state downplayed the virus at the beginning of the outbreak, and have attempted to file lawsuits against the Wuhan government.
The Latest: New virus clusters hit China's north provinces
British doctors are urging the government to review its policy of delaying 2nd virus vaccine shot for 12 weeks. ___SANTA FE, N.M. -- New Mexico on Saturday reported 859 additional COVID-19 cases and 38 more deaths. The state health secretary says 584 people are on a waiting list for hospital beds, 101 of them requiring intensive therapy. The U.S. leads the world with 24.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 415,000 deaths. ___MILAN — Italian premier Giuseppe Conte is pledging legal action not only against Pfizer but any pharmaceutical company that doesn’t meet its coronavirus vaccine commitments.
Wuhan returns to normal as world still battling pandemic
Residents practice Taiji at a park in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Life has largely returned to normal in the city of 11 million, even as the rest of the world grapples with the spread of the virus' more contagious variants. Wuhan accounted for the bulk of China’s 4,635 deaths from COVID-19, a number that has largely stayed static for months. China on Saturday announced another 107 cases, bringing its total since the start of the pandemic to 88,911. “Since Wuhan people went through the pandemic, they've done better in personal precautions than people in other regions."
A year after Wuhan lockdown, a world still deep in crisis
Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said the U.S. should aim to vaccinate 2.5 million a day. Germany extended its lockdown this week until Feb. 14 amid concern about the mutant viruses. The 76-day Wuhan lockdown began a year ago with a notice sent to people’s smartphones at 2 a.m. announcing the airport and train and bus stations would shut at 10 a.m. By the time of the lockdown, the virus had spread well beyond China's borders. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that of nearly 40 million doses distributed to the states so far, just 19 million have been dispensed.
2 films offer 2 tales ahead of Wuhan lockdown anniversary
China is rolling out the state-backed film praising Wuhan ahead of the anniversary of the 76-day lockdown in the central Chinese city where the coronavirus was first detected. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)WUHAN – Two new films about Wuhan were released Friday, the eve of the anniversary of the 76-day lockdown in the central Chinese city where the coronavirus was first detected. The state-backed film, directed by Cao Jinling, debuted in Wuhan and goes into general release in other Chinese cities on Friday. Ai’s film tackles the same story from the perspective of construction workers, delivery staff, medical workers and Wuhan residents. ___Associated Press photographer Ng Han Guan in Wuhan, China, and writer Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.
Asia Today: Shanghai outbreak prompts 2 hospital lockdowns
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)BEIJING – Shanghai has imposed lockdowns on two of China's best-known hospitals after they were linked to new coronavirus cases. Shanghai had six of the cases reported Friday. The 346 new cases reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Friday brought the national caseload to 74,262, including 1,328 deaths. In the past three months, Sri Lanka has reported more than 52,000 new patients and 260 deaths. On Thursday, Myanmar’s Health Ministry announced 446 new cases of the coronavirus along with 16 new deaths.
Panel: China, WHO should have acted quicker to stop pandemic
“What is clear to the panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January,” it said. The U.N. health agency convened its emergency committee on Jan. 22, but did not characterize the emerging pandemic as an international emergency until a week later. “One more question is whether it would have helped if WHO used the word pandemic earlier than it did,” the panel said. WHO did not describe the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic until March 11, weeks after the virus had begun causing explosive outbreaks in numerous continents, meeting WHO’s own definition for a flu pandemic. The U.N. health agency bowed to the international pressure at the annual assembly of its member states last spring by creating the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.
China builds hospital in 5 days after surge in virus cases
China had largely contained the coronavirus that first was detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019 but has suffered a surge of cases since December. A total of 645 people are being treated in Nangong and the Hebei provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, Xinhua said. Virus clusters also have been found in Beijing and the provinces of Heilongjiang and Liaoning in the northeast and Sichuan in the southwest. More than 10 million people in Shijiazhuang underwent virus tests by late Friday, Xinhua said, citing a deputy mayor, Meng Xianghong. Meanwhile, researchers sent by the World Health Organization were in Wuhan preparing to investigate the origins of the virus.
Superan los 2 millones los muertos por COVID-19 en el mundo
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. Cheng reportó desde Toronto, Leicester desde Poissy, Francia, y Goodman desde Miami. “No hemos entendido que esto no es un juego, que esto realmente existe”, agregó. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reservedIf you need help with the Public File, call (954) 364-2526.
'This is not a game': Global virus death toll hits 2 million
The global death toll from COVID-19 has topped 2 million. “There’s been a terrible amount of death," said Dr. Ashish Jha, a pandemic expert and dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health. All told, over 35 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines have been administered around the world, according to the University of Oxford. Also, the majority of the world’s COVID-19 vaccine doses have already been snapped up by wealthy countries. As a result, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist warned it is highly unlikely that herd immunity — which would require at least 70% of the globe to be vaccinated — will be achieved this year.
China builds new quarantine center as virus cases rise
A city in northern China is building a 3,000-unit quarantine facility to deal with an anticipated overflow of patients as COVID-19 cases rise ahead of the Lunar New Year travel rush. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)BEIJING – A city in northern China is building a 3,000-unit quarantine facility to deal with an anticipated overflow of patients as COVID-19 cases rise ahead of the annual Lunar New Year travel rush. The spike in northern China comes as a World Health Organization team prepares to collect data on the origin of the pandemic in Wuhan, which lies to the south. China approved the World Health Organization visit only after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of WHO. ___Associated Press journalists Sam McNeil and Ng Han Guan in Wuhan, China, and video producer Olivia Zhang in Beijing contributed to this report.
Asia Today: China's COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases rise
A medical worker gives a coronavirus vaccine shot to a patient at a vaccination facility in Beijing, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. A city in northern China is building a 3,000-unit quarantine facility to deal with an anticipated overflow of patients as COVID-19 cases rise ahead of the Lunar New Year travel rush. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)BEIJING – China says it is now treating more than 1,000 people for COVID-19 as numbers of cases continue to surge in the country’s north. The province of Hebei, just outside Beijing, accounted for 90 of the new cases, while Heilongjiang province further north reported 43 new cases. India is launching its massive immunization drive on Saturday aimed at vaccinating 300 million people by August.
EXPLAINER: What WHO researchers in Wuhan are trying to learn
A 10-member team of international researchers from the World Health Organization hopes to find clues as to the origin of the coronavirus pandemic in the central Chinese city of Wuhan where the virus was first detected in late 2019. (Xiong Qi/Xinhua via AP, File)WUHAN – The WHO team of international researchers that arrived in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday hopes to find clues to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's possible that the virus came to Wuhan undetected from elsewhere, but the city of 11 million is a logical place for the mission to start. Possible visits after quarantine are the Huanan Seafood Market, the site of the December 2019 cluster of cases, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In announcing the experts’ visit, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said “the tracing of the virus origin will most likely involve multiple countries and localities."
WHO team arrives in Wuhan to investigate pandemic origins
The rest of the team arrived at the Wuhan airport and walked through a makeshift clear plastic tunnel into the airport. The team includes virus and other experts from the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam. A government spokesman said this week they will “exchange views” with Chinese scientists but gave no indication whether they would be allowed to gather evidence. A possible focus for investigators is the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the city where the outbreak first emerged. One of China's top virus research labs, it built an archive of genetic information about bat coronaviruses after the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
Asia Today: China virus cases spike as WHO researchers visit
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)BEIJING – China is seeing a new surge in coronavirus cases in its frozen northeast as a World Health Organization team arrived to investigate the origins of the pandemic. China on Thursday also reported its first new death attributed to COVID-19 in months, raising the toll to 4,635 among 87,844 cases. In other developments around the Asia-Pacific region:— Indonesia started vaccinating health workers and public servants with the COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech. The first 25 health workers to get the jab Thursday were employees of Jakarta’s Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital. Japan has seen coronavirus infections and deaths roughly double over the past month to about 302,000 and 4,200 respectively.
Asia Today: Chinese city tests millions amid new outbreak
Another 16 cases were reported in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang and one in the northern province of Shanxi. The world’s fourth most populated country plans to vaccinate millions of health care workers and other other high-risk groups in the coming months. Health officials are still working to secure access to enough doses to protect around 67% of the population. — Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to seven more prefectures Wednesday, affecting more than half the population amid a surge in infections across the country. Suga has been criticized as being to slow to act as the country’s coronavirus infections and deaths roughly doubled over the past month to about 300,000 and 4,100 respectively.
China sentences lawyer who reported on outbreak to 4 years
In this photo taken April 14, 2020 and released by Melanie Wang, Zhang Zhan eats a meal at a park during a visit to Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. A Chinese court on Monday sentenced the former lawyer who reported on the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak to four years in prison on charges of "picking fights and provoking trouble," one of her lawyers said. (Melanie Wang via AP)BEIJING – A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a former lawyer who reported on the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak to four years in prison on charges of “picking fights and provoking trouble," one of her lawyers said. He said the court did not ask Zhang whether she would appeal, nor did she indicate whether she would. In the early days of the outbreak, authorities reprimanded several Wuhan doctors for “rumor-mongering” after they alerted friends on social media.
WHO to sift Chinese samples, data in hunt for virus origins
Most researchers think that the virus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, originated in animals in China, probably bats, and the WHO has put together a 10-person team to examine the science. They will likely start in Wuhan, where the outbreak was first reported, though a precise itinerary hasn't yet been set. Leendertz said scientists would be looking to see whether stored medical samples from before the first known case provide evidence that the virus was circulating earlier than previously thought. Leendertz expressed confidence in China's “excellent researchers” and said data collected by the country's extensive disease surveillance system would likely prove valuable. “How the virus jumped from which animal to perhaps an intermediate host and then to humans.
In '76 Days,' a documentary portrait of lockdown in Wuhan
An elderly woman with COVID-19, center, is escorted by two nurses after being admitted to a hospital in Wuhan, China in a scene from the documentary "76 Days." The film, shot in four Wuhan hospitals, captures a local horror before it became a global nightmare. (MTV Documentary Films via AP)NEW YORK – “Papa!” screams a hospital worker, covered from head to toe in a Hazmat suit and PPE, in the opening moments of the documentary “76 Days." Her colleagues restrain her as she sobs, moaning, “Papa, you'll stay forever in my heart.”“76 Days," shot in four Wuhan hospitals, captures a local horror before it became a global nightmare. “I feel like right now there is such a toxic background to a lot of the discussions around the virus,” Wu says.
China tests millions after coronavirus flare-ups in 3 cities
Airport workers wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus wait for COVID-19 testing at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week. (AP Photo)BEIJING – Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week. Recent flare-ups have shown that there is still a risk of the virus returning, despite being largely controlled within China. On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday.
China classical music festival to feature Wuhan musicians
Musicians from the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra rehearse a day before their concert to open the Beijing Music Festival, China's first classical music festival since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. China is holding its first classical music festival since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic featuring musicians from the global epicenter of Wuhan, in an attempt to aid in the psychological and emotional healing process. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)BEIJING – China is holding its first classical music festival since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, featuring musicians from the outbreak's initial epicenter in an attempt to aid in the psychological and emotional healing process. More than 11 million people in Wuhan and its surrounding area underwent a draconian 76-day lockdown at the start of the pandemic. “This is not easy (and) we are grateful for this.”Amid government efforts to promote its successes in fighting the virus, Zou said the festival's organizers were not “doing this for official propaganda."
Asia Today: India cases climb to 4.75M as recovery improves
Even as China has largely controlled the outbreak, the coronavirus is still surging across other parts of the world. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)NEW DELHI – India has registered a single-day spike of 94,372 new confirmed coronavirus cases, driving the country’s overall tally to 4.75 million. The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 1,114 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 78,586. It says 64,700 passengers were transported aboard 500 domestic flights on Friday. The airport is preparing to eventually resume international flights to destinations such as Seoul, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, Qu Xiaoni, an airport representative was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.
Wuhan pool parties bring post-coronavirus relief in China
This image made from an Aug 3, 2020 video shows crowd gather in a pool as they watch performers on a stage at Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park in Wuhan, central China. Now, some are letting loose en masse at rocking nighttime pool parties at the popular amusement park chain. Now, some are letting loose en masse at rocking nighttime pool parties at a popular amusement park chain. The Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park reopened in late June, and the crowds have picked up this month. In order to enter the Wuhan water park, party-goers need to reserve tickets online in advance with their national ID number.
How does COVID-19 affect kids? Science has answers and gaps
About 1 in 5 infected children were hospitalized versus 1 in 3 adults; three children died. The study lacks complete data on all the cases, but it also suggests that many infected children have no symptoms. McEnany was correct that children appear less likely to become critically ill from COVID-19 than from the flu. Also, blood clots and organ damage have been found in children with COVID-19, including those who develop a related inflammatory illness. __The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Department of Science Education.
China reports 141 dead or missing in flooding since June
(Long Linzhi/Xinhua via AP)BEIJING The Yangtze River region has seen its second highest rainfall in more than a half-century so far this year as deadly flooding strikes much of China. Around 28,000 homes have been damaged and 141 people have died or are missing in the floods since last month. The Yangtze, Asia's longest river, and parts of its watershed have seen the second highest rainfall since 1961 over the past six months, Zheng told reporters. Hubei province, through which the Yangtze flows and famed for its numerous lakes and rivers, is under particular threat. The floodwaters have inundated towns across southern and central China and prompted emergency workers to shore-up embankments and dig channels to release overflow.
China factory activity improves in June but exports weak
In this April 12, 2020, photo, workers inspect masks at a mask factory production line of the Wuhan Zonsen Medical Products Co. Ltd. in Wuhan in central China Hubei province. The United States, Japan and France are prodding their companies to rely less on China to make the worlds smartphones, drugs and other products. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)BEIJING Chinas manufacturing activity improved in June after anti-virus controls were eased to revive the economy but export demand was weak, a survey released Tuesday showed. Manufacturing and other activity is reviving but demand for exports is feeble and Chinese consumers, worried about losing jobs, are reluctant to spend. But forecasters say global demand for Chinese goods is uncertain as infections rise in the United States, Brazil and some other countries.
China defends COVID-19 response in new report
Xu Lin, Vice head of the Publicity Department of Communist Party shows a copy of the white paper on fighting COVID-19 China in action during a press conference at the State Council Information Office in Beijing, Sunday, June 7, 2020. Senior Chinese health officials defended their country's response to the new coronavirus pandemic, saying they provided information in a timely and transparent manner. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)BEIJING Senior Chinese officials, releasing a lengthy report on the nation's response to the coronavirus pandemic, defended their government's actions and said that China provided information in a timely and transparent manner. He ticked off a series of government actions from a detailed timeline in the government report, which ran to 66 pages in the English version. Wuhan, where the first cases of the new virus were detected late last year, was the hardest hit part of China in the outbreak.
China's exports and imports fall amid coronavirus woes
China's capital is lowering its emergency response level to the second-lowest starting Saturday for the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)BEIJING China's exports and imports both fell in May as the coronavirus and trade tensions with the U.S. weighed on demand both at home and abroad. Exports fell 3.3% compared to a year earlier to $206.8 billion and imports dropped 16.7%to $143.9 billion, the Chinese customs agency said Sunday. The plunge in imports drove the country's trade surplus up to $62.9 billion. 2 billion, while imports from the U.S. were $9.3 billion.
Asia Today: Most of 51 new SKorea cases linked to door sales
At least 34 of the new cases were linked to door-to-door sellers hired by Richway, a Seoul-based health product provider. In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: BEIJING LOWERS EMERGENCY: Chinas capital is lowering its emergency response level to the second-lowest starting Saturday for the coronavirus pandemic. Beijing has reported no new cases of local transmission in at least 50 days and as many as 90 days in some districts. China on Saturday reported three new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, all brought from outside the country. PANGOLIN GETS TOP PROTECTION IN CHINA: China has accorded the highest level of protection to the armadillo-like pangolin as part of its crackdown on the wildlife trade following the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Latest: California has guidelines for church reopenings
World Health Organization said that it will temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine from its global study into experimental COVID-19 treatments. Officials have deleted deaths counted twice and deceased people who were not cases confirmed by tests, for example. While children have generally not experienced severe cases of COVID-19, health officials have warned recently of the new inflammatory illness related to the virus. The order leaves it up to local and state health officials to enforce social distancing. No new COVID-19 cases have been reported since the 10-day campaign started, though some people with no symptoms tested positive.
Asia Today: 23 new cases in South Korea, none in China
China on Saturday reported no new confirmed cases or deaths from the new coronavirus. South Korea has now confirmed 11,165 cases, including 266 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: NO NEW CASES IN CHINA: China reported no new confirmed infections or deaths and only two suspected cases in last the 24 hours. NEARLY 1,000 NEW CASES IN INDONESIA: Indonesia announced 949 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing its total to 21,745 cases, including 1,351 deaths. Japan has more than 16,500 confirmed virus cases, including 796 deaths.
Asia Today: China marks month without any confirmed deaths
(AP Photo/Shafiqur Rahman, File)BEIJING China has gone a month without announcing any new deaths from the coronavirus and has lessthan 100 patients in treatment for COVID-19. In total, China has reported 4,633 deaths among 82,933 cases since the virus was first detected late last year in the central city of Wuhan. Residential compounds are testing inhabitants for the virus as Wuhan attempts to test all its 11 million people in 10 days. The city ordered local communities to test everyone after six new cases surfaced last weekend, the first infections there in more than a month. The army announced the decision Friday after authorities were satisfied that no new virus cases were emerging from the villages.
Iran leader refuses US help, citing virus conspiracy theory
In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses the nation on a televised speech, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 22, 2020. Iran's supreme leader Sunday refused U.S. assistance to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus could be man-made by America. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)DUBAI – Iran's supreme leader refused U.S. assistance Sunday to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus could be man-made by America. Even a U.S. senator from Arkansas has trafficked in the unfounded conspiracy theory it was a man-made Chinese bioweapon. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, some publicly doubted al-Qaida's role and state TV promoting the unfounded conspiracy theory that the Americans blew up the building themselves.
10 Things to Know for Today
The makeshift hospital converted from a sports venue was officially closed on Sunday after its last batch of cured COVID-19 patients were discharged. (Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua via AP)Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:1. XI VISITS VIRUS' EPICENTER AS RECESSION FEARS GRIP WORLD China’s president visits Wuhan, the center of the global virus outbreak, as Italy begins a nationwide travel ban and people worldwide brace for the possibility of recession. VIRUS PUSHES ITALY TO BRINK Italian doctors celebrate one small victory against the virus after Patient No. PEARL JAM POSTPONES FIRST LEG OF TOUR The Seattle-based band puts off the North American dates of its Gigaton world tour this spring because of concerns over the new coronavirus.
Unknowns of the new virus make global quarantines a struggle
The country has banned entry to all foreigners who traveled to China’s Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, after Jan. 21. ___AUSTRALIAAustralia has been criticized over its decision to quarantine about 300 Wuhan evacuees on a remote island used in the past to banish asylum seekers and convicts. Officials say 518 evacuees have been placed under a 14-day quarantine at a hotel and three government facilities near Tokyo. The ship was refused entry at Kaohsiung port after three passengers on an earlier voyage later tested positive for the virus. Evacuees were screened in a six-hour process at the airport in Wuhan before boarding with none showing definitive signs of the virus.
U.S. health officials urge against travel to China due to new coronavirus
“This is due to the spread of the novel coronavirus throughout China and the [World Health Organization] determinations that the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter. Many governments have warned against unnecessary travel to China, as efforts to contain a new and deadly coronavirus virus intensify. Travelers are already feeling the effects of public health measures. Miami International Airport screening for coronavirus at quarantine stationItaly suspended all China flights, and North Korea, Mongolia and Russia banned crossings to and from China. The Florida Health Department is working with the CDC and local public health authorities to investigate, confirm, contain and report any suspected cases.
1st US person-to-person coronavirus transmission reported
CHICAGO – The first case of human-to-human coronavirus transmission in the U.S. has been confirmed, in a patient in Illinois, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. The wife, a woman in her 60s, had traveled Wuhan, China, and had been diagnosed with the virus last week. The transmission marks the sixth case of coronavirus in the U.S. The World Health Organization is set to decide Thursday whether to declare the new coronavirus, which has sickened thousands and sparked concern around the world, a public health emergency of international concern. This week, the U.S. government chartered a flight to evacuate 196 Americans from Wuhan, China.
Sen. Rick Scott fears threat of deadly Wuhan coronavirus
With one confirmed travel-related case in Washington state, Scott asked Redfield for more information. Health Officials in hazmat suits check body temperatures of passengers arriving from the city of Wuhan Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, at the airport in Beijing, China. A notice explaining precautions to be taken by people traveling to Wuhan, China, is seen at a terminal of Rome's International Fiumicino airport, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Hospital staff stand outside the emergency entrance of Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The number of cases of a new coronavirus from Wuhan has risen to over 400 in China health authorities said Wednesday.
China reports 1st death from new type of coronavirus
The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said seven other people were in critical condition among a total of 41 who were suffering from pneumonia caused by a "preliminarily determined new type of coronavirus” as of Friday. The patient who died was identified as a 61-year-old man who had been hospitalized after suffering shortness of breath and severe pneumonia. Possible cases of the same illness have been reported in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan involving recent travelers to Wuhan. Health authorities elsewhere in China have yet to announce similar cases, despite the high population density around Wuhan and its role as a travel hub for central China. "So we have to take every measure and closely monitor the situation,” Yuen said, according to Radio Television Hong Kong.
Chinese team disqualified for cheating at Military World Games
The Chinese orienteering team has been disqualified for cheating at the World Military Games in Wuhan. WUHAN, China - A Chinese team has been kicked out of its own Military World Games after other countries alerted judges to "extensive cheating" by the hosts. This included onlookers placing markings and preparing special paths in the terrain for Chinese athletes, which only those competitors were aware of. The Chinese team was banned from taking part in the long-distance orienteering competition, according to the IOF. Like the Olympics, the Military World Games are held every four years.
China's biggest Wall Street IPO in 2019: Streaming video game startup?
So-called eSports have enjoyed a huge growth curve in recent years, with revenues in the billions of dollars. A popular video streaming platform is gearing up for what could be the year's biggest Wall Street debut by a Chinese company. DouYu, a live-streaming platform for gamers backed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, will go public on the Nasdaq on Wednesday at $11.50 per share. That would break the record set in May, when Starbucks rival Luckin Coffee went public, raising about $645 million, according to Refinitiv. Its Wall Street debut comes a week after Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch InBev canceled a listing of its Asia unit on the Hong Kong stock exchange, which would have eclipsed Uber as the biggest IPO of this year.
Chinese city introduces hotel sheets that reveal last wash
A laundry service in Wuhan, central China, will implant microchips into bed sheets, towels and quilts, which can be read by guests' cell phones to reveal the date of their last clean. Wuhan has a population of more than 10 million and is popular with tourists because of its significant role in Chinese history. The innovation is the latest in a wave of technological advancements sweeping through Chinese hotels. Last year, InterContinental Hotels Group teamed up with Baidu, a Chinese tech company specializing in Internet search services and artificial intelligence, to introduce artificial intelligence-supported Smart Rooms in China. Elsewhere, the Hangzhou Marriott Hotel Qianjiang and Sanya Marriott Hotel Dadonghai Bay have become the first of Marriott's international properties to introduce facial recognition technology for check-in.