World Newsletter

27 January 2020


Entrusted by President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang arrived on Monday in Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, to instruct on epidemic control and prevention.

Li, who is the head of a leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coping with the novel coronavirus, a pneumonia-causing virus, will visit and express regards to patients and medical workers.



The World Health Organization is working closely with China and various countries to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus that caused an outbreak in central Chinese city Wuhan.

"We are working 24/7 to support China and its people during this difficult time and remain in close contact with affected countries, with our regional and country offices deeply involved," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted on Sunday.

WHO is updating all countries on the situation and providing specific guidance on what to do to respond he said.

Noting he is on his way to Beijing, Ghebreyesus said that he and his colleagues will meet with the Chinese government and health experts to understand the latest development and strengthen partnership with China in providing further protection against the outbreak.

Building on experience and systems already in place for related pathogens, the WHO has activated global networks of experts, quickly developed advice for countries everywhere, and is working with them to activate their response systems, he said.

Also, on Sunday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates, said that the UAE is ready to provide support to China and collaborate with the international community to fight the virus.

"We're closely following the Chinese government's efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. We're confident in their ability to overcome this crisis. The UAE is ready to provide all support to China and cooperate with the international community to tackle this virus," he tweeted.

Pope Francis praised China's "great commitment" to contain the coronavirus outbreak on Sunday and said he was praying for the dead, the sick, and families of victims, Reuters reported.



The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Sunday announced that it is immediately committing $5 million in emergency funds and corresponding technical support to help front-line responders in China accelerate their efforts to contain the spread of 2019-nCoV.

The foundation is already working with a range of Chinese public and private sector partners to accelerate national and international cooperation in areas of critical need, including efforts to identify and confirm cases, safely isolate and care for patients, and accelerate the development of treatments and vaccines.

Partners include the National Health Commission and Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and various research institutes affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen University and Sinopharm China National Biotec Group.

"We are deeply concerned about the development of the current epidemic and express our high respect to those who are fighting on the front lines," said Yinuo Li, director of the Gates Foundation China.

"It has always been our focus to improve the level of infectious disease prevention and control, as well as to strengthen global health and safety. We look forward to working with our partners to meet the challenges."

The foundation is also immediately committing $5 million to assist the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in scaling up public health measures against 2019-nCoV among African Union member states. These measures will include technical support to implement the screening and treatment of suspected cases, laboratory confirmation of 2019-nCoV diagnoses and the safe isolation and care of identified cases.

Based in Seattle, Washington State, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr, under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.



Chinese internet search giant Baidu Inc announced on Sunday it has established a special fund of 300 million yuan ($43.2 million) for epidemic prevention and public health security, in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus-related pneumonia.

The fund will be used to support the selection, research and development of drugs targeting the novel coronavirus and a string of works to fight against the epidemic, as well as popularize and disseminate health security information for the long term.

Baidu said it will provide technological support in artificial intelligence to help the centers for disease control, scientific research institutes and other research organizations to accelerate R&D efforts. It will also offer big data analysis technology to support the timely detection, rapid response and scientific management of the epidemic.

The tech heavyweight will give full play to its responsibility as an information and knowledge platform, link public health agencies and cooperate with media to actively disseminate public health-related knowledge, and improve the public awareness and knowledge of public health and food safety.



No trading, no killing.

This time it's not only about the lives of wild animals but also humans.

Illegal wildlife trade in a Wuhan seafood wholesale market has opened up a pandora's box, killed 56 people and nearly triggered a WHO global warning in less than three months.

We should make every effort to prevent and control the plague. But at the same time, we need to go back to the source of the tragedy and fundamentally break the vicious circle from wildlife to deadly plague.

Because preliminary research shows that the chrysanthemum head bat may be the most likely culprit in Wuhan, which is the same as SARS in 2003. Both of the viruses were transmitted by bat to wild animals and then to human beings.

Previously, it was the Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences that first revealed in 2013 that the source of the SARS virus was the chrysanthemum head bat. This kind of bat can be found in Southeast China and Southwest China.

Paradoxically, it is less than 15 kilometers from the Wuhan seafood wholesale market to the Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is one of nation's most advanced virus research institutes in China.

A researcher from the Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences warned in 2018 that "although SARS has not made a comeback for so many years, in nature, viruses similar to SARS still exist. If we humans do not pay attention to such a potential threat, the next viral infection may come and infect humans through other animals. It is just around the corner."

In less than one year, her words came true.

In fact, the past decade saw an increase in new infectious diseases around the world including the bird flu, Ebola and MERS. These new infectious diseases are all related to animals. And research shows that more than 70 percent of new infectious diseases come from wildlife.

The capture, transportation, trade and slaughter of wild animals all may contribute to the occurrence of plague. What should be blamed are wildlife markets, restaurants and gluttonous individuals, but not bats.

Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

More serious epidemics will be waiting for us at the next turn if we can't ban the trade of wild animals permanently and comprehensively.



More than 5 million people have left Wuhan due to the Spring Festival and epidemic, and about 9 million people are still in the city, Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang said on Sunday night.

He said the lockdown of the city has inconvenienced local residents, and the government has been making the utmost efforts to help those who have difficulties in daily life.



China's State Council on Monday announced plans to extend the Lunar New Year holiday to Feb 2 as a key measure to control the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Lunar New Year holiday, which started Jan 24, was originally set to end on Jan 30.

The holiday will be extended to Feb 2, the ninth day of the first lunar month of the lunar calendar.

The decision was made to strengthen the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak, effectively reduce meetings and mass gatherings, curb the spread of the epidemic, and better protect the lives and health of the people,

According to the State Council notice, the start of the spring semester for all colleges, schools and kindergartens across the country will be suspended. The Education Department will issue separate notices about starting times.

Employees who cannot take vacation due to epidemic prevention and control duties, shall arrange compensatory leave in accordance with the provisions of China's labor law.

Wages and salaries for unused holidays shall be guaranteed in accordance with relevant policies.



The shortage of protective medical equipment, such as masks and protective suits remains the most pressing problem in the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak, Hubei Governor Wang Xiaodong said on Sunday night.

He said support from the central government, other provincial-level governments, the military and the public have poured into Hubei. So far, 50,000 protective suits, 3 million masks, and 40,000 packages of disinfectant have been sent to Hubei by central government. An additional 10,000 protective suits and disinfection supplies from the military are expected to arrive soon.

By Monday, 15,000 protective suits will have been allocated to local cities in Hubei to help fight the disease, Wang said.

As of midnight Saturday, two official charity groups in Hubei had received 120 million yuan ($17.28 million) of donations from the public and businesses and 1.8 million pieces of protection equipment, according to government figures.



Hong Kong will deny entry to residents of Hubei province and those who have been to the province in the past 14 days indefinitely starting from Jan 27, the Hong Kong government announced late Sunday night.

Hong Kong residents will be exempted from the new arrangement.

The measure was announced in response to the escalation of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, in Central China's Hubei province.

On Saturday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor raised the government's response level to outbreak to "emergency" and revealed a package of measures.

Meanwhile, according to reports from local media, it was reported that two more patients earlier the same day were infected following initial checkups.

If the cases are confirmed, the number of infected patients in the city will reach eight.

As of Sunday, more than 2,000 cases of coronavirus infection have been reported in China, with more than 50 fatalities.



China's Ministry of Education has issued curriculum standards for five basic courses in secondary vocational schools, aiming at clarifying the academic quality requirements and highlighting the characteristics of vocational education.

The new standards involve five courses, including mathematics, information technology, physical education and health, physics and chemistry.

They define the core values and curriculum objectives of the courses and clarify their content, the ministry said in a statement.

Compared with previous syllabus, the new curriculum standards focus on improving students' capability to solve problems and provide basis for phased evaluation and academic examination.



China's software and information technology sector is increasingly driven by technology innovation, an industrial survey showed.

The index tracking the sector's overall development has continued to rise in recent years, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The 2019 index rose by 8.6 points over one year ago, with technology innovation as one of the sub-indice posting the fastest growth.

The tech innovation sub-index contributed 52.6 percent to the rise of the sector's overall development.

The total revenue of the software sector amounted to 6.46 trillion yuan (about $931.3 billion) in the first 11 months of 2019, up 15.5 percent from a year earlier, MIIT data showed.



China's 5G commercial service has seen a good start last year with breakthroughs in various sectors, a senior official has said.

China had built 130,000 5G base stations by the end of last year, and shipments of 5G smartphones had topped 13.77 million, Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, has said.

The country officially kicked off 5G commercial use in 2019. Telecom carriers have invested a lot to build a 5G network, while mobile phone producers have scrambled to introduce 5G smartphones.

In addition to interpersonal communication, the vast majority of applications will be used in areas such as the Internet of Vehicles and industrial Internet, said Miao.

This year, China will continue to push for increased investment in the building of the 5G network, improve 5G services to meet various needs and remain committed to opening up and international cooperation to drive the development of 5G sector, Miao said.



Share Your Thoughts