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CHINA NEWS
22 March 2020

CHINA SECURITIES WATCHDOG LAUNCHES INDEX SYSTEM FOR STAR BOARD

China's top securities watchdog launched an evaluation index system of science and technology innovation for the country's Nasdaq-style sci-tech innovation board, or the STAR market, to facilitate the innovation-driven economic transformation on Friday.

The launch of the index system aims to better support and encourage enterprises with "hard technology" to be listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange's sci-tech innovation board, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

With a structure including three regular indices and five exception clauses, the system will help speed up the application of the country's scientific and technological achievements in production.

The design of the system is both highly operable and flexible, reflecting the direction of the reform on enhancing the inclusiveness of the capital market to technological innovation enterprises, said the CSRC.



DINERS RETURN GINGERLY TO RESTAURANTS AS CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK EASES

At lunchtime, masked diners have their temperatures checked and hands disinfected before entering a restaurant and sitting at separate tables to fulfill their appetites after being cooped up at home for months.

Zhang Bo, a citizen of Shenyang in northeast China's Liaoning Province, ventured back into a restaurant in a local business hub. "As the novel coronavirus outbreak in China becomes more subdued, I had a satisfying meal in a restaurant the first time in two months," he said.

Around 50 percent of restaurants in Liaoning have resumed normal operation, though the number of restaurant goers only stood at 40 percent of the figure in the same period of normal years, according to the provincial commerce department.

Catering business is among a number of industries hardest hit by the unexpected outbreak, as the efforts to curb the spread of epidemic kept most people across China indoors and forced restaurants to cease dine-in service.

Revenues of the catering sector reached 419.4 billion yuan (around 59 billion U.S. dollars) in the first two months of this year, down 43.1 percent from the same period last year, said the National Bureau of Statistics.

As the situation has improved in China, restaurants are beginning to restore their dine-in service while carrying out strict epidemic prevention measures.

Last week, northwest China's Gansu Province asked its catering enterprises to resume business, while requiring restaurant goers to measure temperatures and maintain a distance of no less than 1 meter in queues and banning dinner party with over 50 guests.

In Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, a total of 1,074 accommodation and catering enterprises had resumed business by Friday, accounting for 92.4 percent of the total, according to the city's commerce bureau.

"We mainly relied on take-out service over the past months, but now all eight of our dumpling restaurants in Shenyang have restored the dine-in service," said a manager who only gave his surname as Sun from a branch of Laobian Dumpling, the popular restaurant chain, in Shenyang.

"Despite fewer restaurant goers and gloomy sales, we feel better day by day and confident that business will return to normal in the near future," Sun said.

To encourage spending, some businesses have embarked on promotions offering discounts or gifts to customers upon reopening, while some provinces are handing out coupons to the public.

Local officials in several provinces and cities have been taking the lead in recent days in patronizing restaurants and shopping malls, hoping to help bring them more customers.

"A wary return to restaurants shows that the public fear of dining out will be gradually eased. It also boosts people's confidence in the worst-hit catering market," said Zhang Wanqiang, an economist with the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

However, Zhang added that it will still take time for the catering business to fully recover as the epidemic is not over.



ACROSS CHINA: CHINESE STUDENTS READY TO GO BACK TO CAMPUS

Students in the final year of senior and junior high schools in southern China's Hainan Province will begin their new semester on April 7 after a prolonged winter holiday.

All schools preparing to resume classes must have sufficient epidemic prevention supplies and emergency response measures, with about 180,000 students to go back to campus, said Li Yanyi, deputy director of the provincial education department at a press conference on Thursday.

When the other students can return to school will depend on the epidemic situation, said Li, adding that online classes for all students will continue until official opening of schools.

"I felt a little worried about changing my own study plans after going back to school, as I have been well adjusted to online learning," said Wu Jiajia, a graduating student of Qiongshan Middle School in Haikou, capital of Hainan Province.

Most schools across the country have postponed school semesters amid the coronavirus outbreak, and Chinese students have resorted to online courses for nearly two months.

Ma Shuochen, a chemical teacher of Haikou Middle School, said they will resolve the problems students encountered while studying at home and organize practice tests as soon as possible to help graduating students better prepare for the college entrance exam, or Gaokao.

"We also prepared something about epidemic prevention for the first class of the semester," said Ma.

As the coronavirus epidemic has basically been curbed in China, more and more students are embracing their new spring semester.

As of Friday, over 10 provinces and regions across the country have announced dates and arrangements for starting the new semester, most of which put graduating middle and high school students at priority.

Among them, Qinghai, Guizhou and Xinjiang have already resumed classes for some students, while the rest have scheduled reopening schools in late March or early April.

For instance, students in the final year of junior and senior high schools in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region will in principle resume classes before March 25.

The Ministry of Education has set three conditions for school resumption, namely, the epidemic is under basic control where the schools are located, schools are capable of epidemic prevention, and safeguarding the health and safety of teachers and students.



BEIJING REPORTS 13 NEW IMPORTED COVID-19 CASES

Beijing reported 13 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from other countries on Saturday, bringing the total number of imported cases in the capital fo 97, local health authority said.

Five of the new cases reported Saturday were from Britain, five from Spain, two from France and one from Austria, according to the Beijing Municipal Health Commission.

No new confirmed reports of indigenous COVID-19 infections were reported Saturday in Beijing, marking the 15th day in a row of zero report.

By Saturday, Beijing had reported a total of 512 confirmed cases. Of them, 398 had been discharged from hospital after recovery. Eight people had died of the disease, according to the commission.



BEIJING STRENGTHS NUCLEIC ACID TESTING OF CORONAVIRUS AT BORDER ENTRY

The Beijing municipal government has required strengthened nucleic acid testing (NAT) of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for people arriving in the city from other countries.

Those with certain symptoms such as fever and cough, travel histories to countries with serious coronavirus outbreaks, or some other conditions worthy of note must undergo the NAT, according to the city's anti-virus office.

A closed-loop management of inbound passengers is stressed as well, with priorities given to the elderly, pregnant, children and disabled, the office said.

The 14-day concentrated observation should also be carried out strictly, the office added.

Beijing reported 13 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 imported from other countries on Saturday, bringing the total number of imported cases in the capital to 97.



CHINESE MEDICAL EXPERTS SHARE COVID-19 TREATMENT EXPERIENCE WITH PEERS ABROAD

Chinese experts in traditional Chinese and western medicines have shared their experience via video call in treating COVID-19 patients with peers from Italy, the United States, Belgium, Japan and the World Health Organization.

"The best experience of China is to admit all patients to hospital," Zhou Ning, a cardiologist at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, said at the video call Friday night.

"As COVID-19 is highly contagious, to have patients with mild symptoms quarantined at home is like spreading fire everywhere, which will finally lead to the infection of a whole family," he said.

"Doing so can also prevent patients with mild symptoms from progressing into severe cases, which therefore decreases the fatality rate," Zhou added.

The opinion was echoed by Li Guangxi, director of the pulmonary division of Beijing's Guang'anmen Hospital, who believed that patients should get early treatment. "We need to focus on the first week of the disease. It is the golden window to prevent disease development from mild to severe."

COVID-19 has a high fatality rate, said Jeffrey Shaman, a U.S. professor of Environmental Health Sciences in Columbia University. "It has a fat tail where there is a portion of the population for which outcomes are quite severe."

For the treatment of severe and critical patients, Zhou said Tongji's experience is using a ventilation system to supply enough oxygen, using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, and curbing the disease's inflammatory storm by blood purification.

"We used steroids very generally. It's very helpful for the patients whose oxygenation index is very low," Zhou said. "But I don't think anti-bacterial is very useful, especially in the early stage, as COVID-19 is a virus disease instead of one caused by bacteria."

Li also highly recommended the use of traditional Chinese medicine. "We use different Chinese herbs for patients and they do get quite good recovery."

About 96.37 percent of the COVID-19 patients outside Hubei, the hardest-hit province, and 91.05 percent in Hubei have received TCM treatment, according to the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

"The nucleic acid testing, the binding on confirmed cases or people who are exposed to those cases and isolating everybody were done very successfully in Wuhan. This is what needs to be done," Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson on COVID-19, said in the video conference.

"We are very thankful for the great work that's been done in China and other Asian countries, because it's demonstrating it is possible to stop this outbreak," Harris added.

The Chinese mainland reported 46 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday, of which 45 were imported from abroad, according to the National Health Commission.



CHINA'S PRODUCTION OF GAS, CRUDE KEEPS GROWING IN FIRST TWO MONTHS

China's production of natural gas and crude oil kept growing in the first two months, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Domestic crude oil output rose 3.7 percent year on year to 32 million tonnes from January to February, while imports increased 5.2 percent from a year earlier to 86.09 million tonnes.

Some 99.19 million tonnes of crude oil were processed during the two months, down 3.8 percent year on year.

The country's natural gas production posted a faster growth, with domestic output rising 8 percent to 31.4 billion cubic meters. Imports hit 17.8 million tonnes, up 2.8 percent year on year.



THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Doing what is right isn't the problem. It is knowing what is right. - Lyndon B Johnson

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