Half a million people in lockdown as Beijing fights new COVID-19 cluster
BEIJING: China imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people in Hebei province to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster on Sunday (Jun 28). After China largely brought the coronavirus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighbouring Hebei province in recent weeks.
Health officials said Sunday that Anxin county - about 150km from Beijing - will be fully enclosed and controlled, the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year.
Only one person from each family will be allowed to go out once a day to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, the county's epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.
The move comes after another 14 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, taking the total to 311 since mid-June and spurring the testing of millions of residents.
The outbreak was first detected in Beijing's sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market, which supplies much of the city's fresh produce, sparking concerns over the safety of the food supply chain. Nearly a third of the cases so far have been linked to one beef and mutton section in the market, where workers are being made to quarantine for a month. Businesses in Anxin county had supplied freshwater fish to the Xinfadi market, state news agency Xinhua reported. Some 12 cases of the novel coronavirus were found in the county - including 11 linked to Xinfadi. The new cases in Beijing have prompted fears of a resurgence of the virus in China.
The capital has mass-tested wholesale market workers, restaurant workers, residents of medium and high-risk neighbourhoods and delivery couriers over the past two weeks.
CHINESE FIRM SAYS COVID-19 VACCINE CANDIDATE SHOWS PROMISE IN HUMAN TEST
BEIJING: China National Biotec Group (CNBG) said on Sunday (Jun 28) that early human test results for a coronavirus vaccine candidate suggested it could be safe and effective, the second vaccine candidate from the firm to show encouraging results in a clinical trial.
The experimental shot, developed by a Beijing-based unit of CNBG, has induced high-level antibodies in all the inoculated participants in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial involving 1,120 healthy people, according to preliminary data of the trial, CNBG said in a posting on the social media platform WeChat, without disclosing specific readings.
Chinese companies and researchers have been allowed to test eight vaccine candidates in humans at home and abroad, making China a major front-runner in the race to develop a shot against the virus that has killed nearly 500,000 people globally.
CNBG, affiliated to the state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), said earlier this month that another vaccine candidate produced by its Wuhan-based unit also triggered high-level antibodies safely in clinical trial participants based on preliminary results.
A vaccine has to prove its effectiveness in the "Phase 3" human test where thousands of participants are recruited in order to be cleared for sale.
CNBG said on Tuesday it will run a Phase 3 for its vaccine candidate in the United Arab Emirates, without specifying which shot will be tested.
ALL ACTIVESG INDOOR SPORT HALLS TO CLOSE FOR ‘TIME-OUT’ AFTER COVID-19 CASE PLAYED BADMINTON WITH LARGE GROUP AT JURONG FACILITY
All ActiveSG indoor sport halls will be closed for a “time-out” on Sunday (Jun 28) after safe management measures were breached by a group of badminton players that included a positive COVID-19 case on 22 June. The group had between them booked up to six badminton courts from 9am to noon, SportSG said. During the badminton sessions, there was cross-mixing of players across multiple courts, despite the physical partitions and clear rules that badminton is restricted to four players to a court and that mingling with players on other courts is not allowed. As a precaution, this branch will be closed from Jun 27 to Jun 28 for thorough disinfection and cleaning, and a review of the safe management measures in place. All other ActiveSG indoor sport halls will be closed on Jun 28 to ensure that all users of ActiveSG’s Indoor Sport Halls understand the rules and spirit of the SMM (safe management measures). New measures will also be in place to reinforce adherence to the rules at all its indoor sport facilities, SportSG said. This includes coloured wrist bands that are to be worn by players to identify different groups for each badminton court and remind players to act responsibly. SportSG will be also be scrutinising badminton social groups who plan to gather as a large congregation at any venue .
TOP US VIRUS EXPERT WARNS OF 'SERIOUS PROBLEM' AS COVID-19 CASES SURGE
HOUSTON: America's top infectious diseases expert has warned the United States is facing a resurgence in coronavirus cases as the illness puts the brakes on reopening two of the country's largest states.
Texas and Florida closed bars and reimposed other curbs on Friday (Jun 26) as the number of infections in the US hit a single-day record with increases in 16 states, mostly in the south and west.
The US is recording more than 30,000 cases daily. With nearly 125,000 lives lost, it has by far the highest confirmed death toll in the world.
Texas had been among the most aggressive states in easing curbs but its strategy has backfired, with the nation's second most populous state seeing several daily records in the number of new infections.
SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA AGREE TO ALLOW CROSS-BORDER TRAVEL FOR SOME RESIDENTS AND BUSINESS TRAVELLERS
SINGAPORE: Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to allow cross-border travel for certain groups of people, including residents who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes.
Both sides agreed to establish a Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and a Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) for different groups of travellers. The RGL will facilitate cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes. Travellers would have to adhere to a set of COVID-19 prevention and public health measures mutually agreed upon by both countries.
The PCA, on the other hand, will allow Singapore and Malaysia residents who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to periodically return to their home countries for short-term home leave. They will be able to return home for leave after spending at least three consecutive months in their country of work, and they will be allowed to re-enter their country of work after their home leave.
COVID-19 TESTING FOR ALL ABOVE 13 WHO SHOW UP AT CLINICS WITH INFECTION SIGNS
From July 1, all those aged 13 and above who show up at clinics with signs of acute respiratory infection will be tested for Covid-19, in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease as Singapore reopens its economy.
The testing criteria are also being expanded as Singapore works towards the Ministry of Health's (MOH) goal of testing everyone who has an acute respiratory infection, when it has enough capacity to do so.
Children below 13 years old who have symptoms of such an illness will still be assessed to see if a test is required, as there may be different clinical considerations for them.
UPDATE ON CONDITION OF CONFIRMED CASES ON 28 June 2020
As of 28 June 2020, 12pm, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed and verified an additional 213 cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore. The breakdown is as follows:
Imported cases: 0
There are no imported cases today.
Cases in the community: 11 (6 Singaporeans, 2 Work Pass holders, 3 Work Permit holders)
Of the 11 cases in the community, 8 had been picked up as a result of proactive surveillance and screening, and 1 had already been placed on quarantine earlier.
Amongst the 6 Singaporean cases, 1 (Case 43297) was tested as part of our proactive screening of school students who are diagnosed with acute respiratory infection (ARI) at first presentation to a doctor. She is a student at East Spring Secondary School, but had not gone to school since onset of symptoms. Another case (Case 43315) had been identified as a contact of a previously confirmed case, and had already been quarantined earlier. He was swabbed during quarantine to verify his status. 2 cases (Cases 43316 and 43317) were detected due to our proactive surveillance of persons working at dormitories or deployed to frontline COVID-19 operations, even though they are asymptomatic. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing for the remaining 2 cases (Cases 43429 and 43483).
All 5 Work Pass/ Work Permit holders (Cases 43426, 43484, 43485, 43486 and 43487) were detected from proactive screening of workers in essential services, even though they are asymptomatic.
Overall, the number of new cases in the community has increased, from an average of 4 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 6 per day in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased, from an average of 2 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 4 per day in the past week.
Cases residing in dormitories: 202
Cases are still be picked up amongst Work Permit holders residing in dormitories, including in factory-converted dormitories, because of extensive testing in these premises, as part of our process to verify and test the status of all workers.
Of the new cases, 93% are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.
MOH has been monitoring existing clusters for any further transmission.
As there have been no more cases linked to the dormitories at 15A Senoko Way and 65 & 67 Tuas View Walk 2 for the past two incubation periods (ie. 28 days), the clusters have now been closed.