China tests Coronavirus vaccines, high tech monitoring system

Asia and Oceania Coronavirus Watch

By the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe

By the end of Saturday, there had been 76,936 confirmed cases.

4,148 were still suspected of being infected with the virus, and there were 2,442 deaths.

A total of 22,888 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

Saturday saw 648 new confirmed cases and 97 deaths (96 were in Hubei Province and one in Guangdong Province). There were also 882 new suspected cases while 2,230 people were discharged from hospital after recovery. 

628,517 close contacts had been traced, among which, 22,128 were discharged from medical observation Saturday, with 106,089 others still under medical observation.

By the end of Saturday, 69 confirmed cases, including one death, had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 10 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 26 in Taiwan.

According to the World Health Organisation’s situation report on February 22, in the previous 24 hours, two new countries (Lebanon and Israel) reported cases of COVID-19. Globally, there had been 77,794 confirmed (559 new) cases, including 1402 confirmed (202 new) cases in 28 countries (two new) and 11 deaths (three new) outside China.

China’s daily number of newly-cured and discharged novel coronavirus patients has surpassed that of new confirmed infections for the fifth consecutive day, according to the National Health Commission Sunday.

Saturday saw 2,230 people walk out of hospital after recovery, much higher than the number of the same day’s new confirmed infections, which was 648. 

21 regions outside Hubei reported zero new cases as of Sunday, while all provinces and municipalities outside Hubei have 18 new infections in total.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday attended a meeting in Beijing to advance the work on coordinating the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic and economic and social development.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered an important speech.

The meeting, in the form of tele-conference, was presided over by Li Keqiang and attended by Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng.

South Korea has raised its alert on the novel coronavirus to the highest “red” level, President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday as the total number of infections jumped to 556 in the country.

The first batch of vaccines against the novel coronavirus has produced antibodies and undergone animal testing, an official of Zhejiang province’s Science and Technology Department in East China said at a news conference on Sunday.

Song Zhiheng, deputy director of the department, said the recombinant adenovirus vaccine has begun cultivating recombinant virus and entered animal trials recently.

Virus filtering in Zhejiang province has stepped into the fourth generation, “but we should be aware that since vaccine development takes a long cycle, we must respect scientific rules and conduct careful and safe research”, Song said.

Westlake University and the provincial biology laboratory successfully resolved the receptor of coronavirus by applying cryo-electron microscopy, a technique performed on cryogenically cooled samples and embedded in an environment of vitreous water.

The scientific breakthrough also was announced at the news conference.

A laboratory under Westlake University, a private university cultivating high-level talent in advanced technology, disclosed the structure of the ACE2 receptor, the channel for novel coronavirus to enter cells, under cryo-electron microscopy in a paper released on Friday.

The results play an important role in finding and optimising the inhibitor that stops viruses from entering cells, the university said. 

A drone-based multi-functional monitoring system has been used to help control the novel coronavirus and offer early warnings, according to its developer.

Developed by a team from the Beijing Institute of Technology and a drone company in Tianjin, the system is mainly composed of drones, broadcasting tools, ground control and an image processing platform.

It has been used in the city of Fuxin, northeast China’s Liaoning Province to find potentially infected persons.

With infrared thermal imaging technology, the drone can automatically monitor the flow of people and spot those with fever without direct contact. The broadcasting tools also help inform people of preventive measures and urge people to stop inappropriate behaviours.

Once the system detects a suspected person, it will record the information in its big data system. It can also be used in those companies which resume operation to prevent and contain the novel coronavirus, according to its developer.

Energy supplies including coal and oil were largely sufficient in China as a majority of mines and refineries resumed operation, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Sunday.

As of Thursday, coal stockpiles at the country’s plants were adequate for 27 days of consumption, while those in Hubei, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, were sufficient for 54 days of use as of Saturday, according to information from a press conference on Sunday.

By Saturday, the coal sector was running at 76.5 percent of capacities, which reached 3.17 billion tonnes. On Saturday alone, output came in at 8.33 million tonnes, doubling the production on February 1.

Stocks of both refined oil and natural gas remained high, with oil stockpiles exceeding 21.1 million tonnes by Friday.

The NDRC pledged to closely monitor supply-demand changes in the energy sector as demand is set to pick up with more business restoring activities.