COVID-19: 'virus will be with us for a long time'WHO; US Pets...

Source: People's Daily, Xinhua, CGTN, China Daily, Global Times, iFeng, Baidu, AP, CNN, Global  News Agencies, Majdi


WHO chief warns 'virus will be with us for a long time' 

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says most of the world's population remains susceptible to the coronavirus, which "will be with us for a long time", he says.

"Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics and some that were affected early in the pandemic are starting to see a resurgence in cases," he told Geneva journalists in a virtual briefing.

"Make no mistake, we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time," he added, while noting progress in Western Europe.

Ryan, the WHO's top emergencies expert, warned against opening up global travel too quickly, saying it would require "careful risk management". 

2 Pet Cats in US Test Positive for COVID-19

Two pet cats in New York state have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This comes after several lions and tigers contracted the disease at the Bronx Zoo earlier this month.

The USDA said these are the first pets in the U.S. to test positive for COVID-19. They had mild respiratory illnesses and are expected to recover. Officials say the cats may have contracted the disease from people in their households or neighborhoods. The pets lived in separate areas in New York, the USDA pointed out.

Meanwhile; Seven additional big cats at New York's Bronx Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the non-profit organization that runs the zoo. That makes a total of eight big cats who contracted coronavirus at the famed zoo in New York City.

In early April, three tigers and three African lions exhibited symptoms when the zoo announced a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, named Nadia, tested positive for the virus. Testing on these six cats now confirm they have Covid-19. One more tiger also tested positive despite showing no symptoms.

The zoo says all eight animals are behaving normally and eating well.  The cats were infected by a staff member, although it is unclear how the infection occurred.

Schools promote traditional greeting, respect social distancing

Photo provided by a local education department shows a teacher and students greeting using "zuoyi."

(ECNS) -- A total 117 schools in Quzhou City of Zhejiang Province has promoted "Zuoyi," an ancient gesture of greeting, to replace shaking hands during a time of social distancing.

In ancient times, Chinese used "Zuoyi", bowing with hands folded in front to signify humility and respect.

Quzhou is a cultural hub of Confucianism in southern China.

Local authorities previously promoted "Zouyi" in 2018, aiming to build Quzhou into a city of etiquette.

However, the new greetings has sparked controversy by requiring officials to use a Chinese traditional greeting gesture during the local plenary sessions. 

Photo: Zhangshang Quzhou app

A Rush of Local News

On Wednesday, the Chinese mainland announced 10 more COVID-19 cases, six imported and four domestic, according to the National Health Commission. 

The commission also reported 27 new asymptomatic patients and no new deaths.

Heilongjiang Province reported 3 new domestic infections and one imported case of COVID19 from Russia on Wednesday, bringing the number of existing cases to 57.

The Chinese aviation industry is on track to make a smooth recovery amid the backdrop of work resumption across the country. As of April 21, average daily passenger transportation in the month by civil aviation had reached 494,400 passengers, an increase of 7.9 percent compared with March. That's around 29 percent of the passenger traffic from the same period last year, Jin Junhao, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Wednesday. In the past week, April 15-21, average daily passenger transportation of civil aviation has recovered to 530,900, an increase of 15.8 percent compared with March, again about 29 percent of the passenger traffic at the same time last year, he said. He added that average daily flight frequency is 6,993, an increase of 7 percent from March.

Beijing Plans to Reopen Sport Venues: 

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports issued a work plan for fitness venues to reopen safely on Tuesday. According to the plan, epidemic prevention and control is the first priority. Beijing requires all venues to adhere to the principle orderly opening, and gradually open starting from low-risk places and sports that are low or no contact. Sports venues with contact and confrontation will open last. According to the requirements for the suspension of the opening of high-risk places, the shower facilities of physical fitness places, swimming venues and fitness places opened by using underground space will not be opened.

A Rush of News

French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday during a visit to north-western France that the government will gradually ease movement restrictions from May 11 in different regions of the country.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an order to temporarily block some immigrants from permanent residence in the United States, saying he was doing so in order to protect American workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The order is set to last for 60 days and then will be reviewed and possibly extended.

The Spanish parliament voted to approve the extension of its state of emergency proclamation for the third time until May 9. The state of emergency was first decreed on March 14, which ordered severe restrictions on movement and business. 

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has tested negative for Covid-19, Dr. Zafar Mirza, his special adviser on health, announced in a tweet Wednesday. The decision to test PM Khan came after Pakistans eminent philanthropist Faisal Edhi announced on Tuesday that he has tested positive for Covid-19. Khan and Edhi met in person six days ago.

India plans to manufacture thousands of wristbands that will monitor the locations and temperatures of coronavirus patients, help perform contact tracing and aid health workers delivering essential services.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said there were "worrying upward trends" in early epidemics in parts of Africa and central and South America, warning that the "virus will be with us for a long time". 

Indonesia's capital Jakarta would extend large-scale social restrictions for an extra month to May 22 and also ensure residents prayed at home during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan which is due to start later this week.

Qatar's health ministry reported 608 new cases of coronavirus, taking its total number of infections to 7141. The ministry also confirmed the recovery of 75 COVID-19 patients and one death over the last 24 hours. 

A total of 69 people who worked for Britain's National Health Service (NHS) have died of COVID-19. 

Ukraine extended strong quarantine measures till May 11. 

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his government plans to begin winding down its coronavirus lockdown measures in the second half of May.

Indonesia has banned all citizens from traveling to their hometowns for Eid al-Fitr celebrations in an effort to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, the countrys President Joko Widodo said Tuesday.

India has ordered a pause in testing for antibodies because of concerns over the accuracy of the results, health officials said Wednesday.

A team of researchers in Switzerland has succeeded in developing a biosensor for not only detecting the novel coronavirus but also monitoring the virus in the environment.

Hard-Hit Countries/Regions Official Announcements

Note: The news under this section are according to official reports in these countries; the numbers might not necessarily correspond to the data in the Global table, at the top of this article, which is calculated based on Beijing 24 hours time zone at around 10:00 AM. 

Russia: Total of 5,326 new cases were reported in past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 57,999 as of Wednesday, official data showed. The death toll in the country now stands at 513. So far, 4,420 patients have recovered.

Spain's death toll climbed by 435 in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said, roughly in line with the two percent increases reported in the past few days. The cumulative death toll now stands at 21,717, while the number of confirmed infections rose by 4,211 to 208,389, according to the ministry. 

Singapore: More than 10,000 people have contracted the novel coronavirus, authorities in the city-state said Wednesday. Singapore confirmed another 1,016 new cases as of 12 p.m. yesterday local time, pushing the total number of infections to 10,141, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Turkey recorded 3,083 new cases, bringing its total number of infections to 98,674, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca. He added that the death toll rose by 117 to 2,376 in the past 24 hours. A total of 16,477 people have recovered from the virus so far, while the number of tests carried out over the past 24 hours stood at 37,535. 

Italy: The death toll climbed by 437 to 25,085, against 534 the previous day, according to the Civil Protection Agency.  Meanwhile infections increased by 3,370 to 187,327.

Canada's death toll rose to 1,871 from 1,728 the previous day, according to official data posted by the public health agency. It said the number of infections climbed to 38,932. 

Britain's daily death toll rose by 763 to 18,100, down from 828 the previous day, according to the health ministry. The number of infections reached 133,495, it added. 

The Netherlands has recorded 708 coronavirus cases, taking its total number of infections to 34,842, health authorities said.  Meanwhile, the death toll rose by 138 to 4,054, the Netherlands Institute for Public Health said.  

Tokyo 'orphanage' for babies reports 8 cases

A residential care facility in Tokyo for babies and toddlers reported eight cases of coronavirus infections, local media said.

One staff member at the institution had tested positive for the virus on April 16, prompting a test of its residents, Kyodo News said.

None of the eight children who tested positive were showing major symptoms such as a fever, Kyodo said.

Germany says it has approved the first clinical vaccine trial

The first clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine has been approved in Germany, the country's Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedical Drugs has said.

The potential vaccine is being developed by biotech company BioNTech in Mainz, Germany.

The trial, only the fourth worldwide of a preventive agent targeting the virus behind the global pandemic, will be conducted on 200 healthy people aged between 18 and 55 in the first stage, and on further people, including those at higher risk from the disease, in a second stage.

An exterior view of biopharmaceutical company BioNTech in Mainz, Germany, pictured on March 18. Ronald Wittek/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

South Korea says patients from relapse coronavirus cases not highly infectious

Patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus after recovering from their first bout of the disease appeared to be far less infectious and transmissible the second time round, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on Wednesday.

KCDC has begun investigating a growing number of people testing positive after recovering. Over 180 such cases have been recorded in the country.

"Although their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were positive, they tested negative after being cultivated in isolation, meaning the viruses from relapse cases have very low or no infectious power," KCDC chief Jeong Eun-kyeong said.

The KCDC said it's still examining why some patients test positive again after recovering as the country saw downward trending of more infections. 

Japan is dealing with another COVID-19 outbreak on a cruise ship

An aerial view shows Italian cruise ship Costa Atlantica, which had confirmed 33 cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection, in Nagasaki, southern Japan April 21, 2020. KYODO/REUTERS

The Costa Atlantica wasn't even supposed to be in Japan. The ship had originally contracted to have repairs done in China, but with the COVID-19 pandemic raging, the ship instead sailed in to dock at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding's Koyagi plant in southwest Japan in late January.

Japanese media said the regional government had asked the ship's 623 crew to stay on board.

The first infection turned up on April 20, and of the 57 crew members who had close contact with the first patient, 33 have now tested positive. All have mild symptoms, and none are Japanese nationals.

The cluster of infections comes two months after 700 people contracted the virus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was docked in Yokohama.  


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