The Beijing quarantine
We have finally an update on 14 day quarantine in Beijing. As of today some compounds in Beijing still “do not know about the changes” and refuse to believe the news.
Beijing Government on 21 February finally made an official announcement about the 14 day quarantine. See the details:
21 February 2020
Overseas Returnees, Six Other Types Exempted from Mandatory Quarantine, Says City
Michael Wester – The Beijinger
The city government this afternoon announced seven types of individuals that are exempt from last week’s proclamation that all returnees would be required to observe a 14-day quarantine at home upon arrival.
They are as follows:
- Those who have not been in China for the past 14 days, and who are returning via the city’s two main airports in Shunyi and Daxing;
- Short-term visitors (such as tourists and business travelers) coming from parts of China other than Hubei, as long as they obey policies set by their hotel and their Beijing host company or office (if they have one);
- Persons returning to Beijing to go back to jobs at companies that have safe “closed management” environments (most likely this is aimed at factory workers who live on site in dormitories);
- Those that live in the commuter-heavy suburbs of Langfang, Sanhe, Xianghe and Daguang (aka Beisanxian), who are now permitted to go in and out of the city to work as normal, but must accept temperature checks when coming in and out of Beijing;
- Flight and railway crews who go back and forth between cities frequently, as long as they live in quarters separate from the general population;
- Central government officials that are going back and forth from any areas with high infection rates, under the condition that they live and work in quarters separate from the general population;
- Pregnant women and people with medical conditions that require doctor’s care.
Note that these regulations are new as of today and administration and enforcement may differ on a community-by-community basis.
Additionally, it is unclear if these directives apply to students, teachers and faculty returning to school environments, as the Beijing Education Commission has made it clear that everyone returning to a school campus should first undergo a 14-day self-quarantine in Beijing.Today’s announcement could be interpreted as implicit acknowledgement that Beijing’s quarantine methods so far have for the most part controlled the rapid spread of the virus and may have in fact been slightly too conservative, hindering the return of the city to a normal pace of life.
Regardless, it pays to be conservative in these times. Since no one can guarantee that they have not been exposed to the virus during travel, we recommend that even those exempt from the policy do their best to minimize contact with crowds for at least 14 days upon arrival.
The original Chinese announcement can be found here:
More details of Covid-19.
China releases largest study on Covid-19 outbreak. The following provides more details of Covid-19.
Coronavirus: Largest study suggests elderly and sick are most at risk
18 February 2020
Health officials in China have published the first details of more than 44,000 cases of Covid-19, in the biggest study since the outbreak began.
Data from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) finds that more than 80% of the cases have been mild, with the sick and elderly most at risk.
How coronavirus affects patients
In a new report, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 44,672 confirmed COVID-19 cases and found that 80.9% of patients had mild symptoms, 13.8% experienced severe illness, and 4.7% were critically ill.
Of those in critical condition, nearly half died.
The virus to stay around?
With a series of often unexplained new infections around the world, with no clear link to China, more and more specialists believe it will be difficult if not impossible to stop the virus spreading around. The WHO also expressed its concern. One example is Italy…
I have read similar comments as below from foreign medical specialists. As long as there is no reliable vaccine and efficient medication… And all indicates there is little real progress.
The Pandora box has been opened.
Also people point out that millions of migrants are still to return to the cities in China. Once this happens, there could be a new wave of infections despite all the preventive measures. It is a major worry for many of my Chinese friends.
From SCMP 20 Feb 2020:
Wang Chen, president of the China Academy of Medical Science, said that despite the recent drop in the rate of new cases and fatalities on the mainland, the world should be prepared for the possibility that Covid-19 – the official name of the illness caused by the coronavirus – was here to stay.
Wang said the new coronavirus was different from the virus which caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which was both contagious and fatal. “This new coronavirus may become a long-term disease that coexists with humans, just like flu,” he told state broadcaster CCTV on Wednesday.
It was up to scientists, he said, to be prepared to study the coronavirus for the long term, and help to devise clinical strategies. “The key to containing the virus should be in scientific research,” he said.
On another note, China’s National Health Commission issued its national treatment and diagnosis plan for the novel coronavirus on 19 February, which confirmed that the virus was mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets and close contact with infected people.
However, it added that aerosolization was possible through exposure to high concentrations of aerosols – small particle droplets – in a relatively closed environment for long periods.
That, in my opinion, makes sense.
3D atomic scale map
US scientists announced that they had created the first 3D atomic scale map of the part of the novel coronavirus that attaches to and infects human cells, a critical step toward developing a vaccine and treatments.
The team from the University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) first studied the genetic code of the virus made publicly available by Chinese researchers and used it to develop a stabilized sample of a key part called the spike protein.
They then imaged the spike protein using cutting-edge technology known as cryogenic electron microscopy, publishing their findings in the journal Science.
“The spike is really the antigen that we want to introduce into humans to prime their immune response to make antibodies against this, so that when they then see the actual virus, their immune systems are ready and loaded to attack,” said University of Texas scientist Jason McLellan, who led the research.
He added that he and his colleagues had already spent many years studying other members of the coronavirus family including SARS and MERS, which helped them develop the engineering methods required to keep the spike protein stable.
Their engineered spike protein is itself being tested as a potential vaccine by the NIH.
Source: 20 Feb 2020 – SCMP