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News from China
Lecturer identified as virus super spreader in Jilin Province, linked to at least 140 cases
17th February 2021

 A super spreader was linked to at least 140 coronavirus cases in a northeastern Chinese city, according to a report released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

 
The outbreak in Tonghua, Jilin Province, has been linked to a 44-year-old salesman identified as "Mr L."
 
He arrived in Tonghua on January 9 and gave three lectures the following two days, each lasting two and a half hours. A total of 97 people, most of them retirees, attended the lectures, and more than three-quarters tested positive, triggering a lockdown of the entire city.
 
Mr L directly infected 81 close contacts and indirectly infected at least 60 close contacts of those contacts in Tonghua's Dongchang District.
 
Because the participants were elderly with a median age of 72 years, leading to a high proportion of severe and critical cases. By the end of January, 47 severe or critical cases were reported, accounting for 15.2 percent of the total cases, including one death of an 87-year-old on January 25.
 
While giving the lectures, Mr L was in the early stages of COVID-19, which is when it is most infectious. The site of the lectures was small and crowded, there was no social distancing and few people wore masks.
 
As of January 31, a total of 310 cases had been reported in Tonghua, all in the Dongchang District.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 17, 2021
The Chinese mainland on Monday reported 16 new COVID-19 cases, all imported, the National Health Com
16th February 2021

 No suspected cases or deaths related to COVID-19 were newly reported, the commission said in its daily report.

 
Also on Monday, 48 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals following their recovery.
 
By the end of Monday, a total of 4,885 imported cases had been reported on the mainland. Among them, 4,651 had been discharged from hospitals following recovery, and 234 remained hospitalized. No deaths had been reported among the imported cases.
 
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 89,788 by Monday, including 605 patients still receiving treatment, 10 of whom were in severe conditions.
 
A total of 84,547 patients had been discharged following recovery on the mainland, and 4,636 had died as a result of the virus.
 
There was one suspected COVID-19 case on the mainland by the end of Monday, and 9,643 close contacts remained under medical observation.
 
Monday also saw 11 asymptomatic cases newly reported, all arriving from outside the mainland. On the same day, two asymptomatic cases were re-categorized as confirmed cases.
 
A total of 387 asymptomatic cases were under medical observation, of whom 286 arrived from outside the mainland.
 
By the end of Monday, 10,788 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 193 deaths, had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 48 cases had been reported in the Macau SAR, and 937 cases, including nine deaths, had been reported in Taiwan.
 
A total of 10,207 COVID-19 patients in the Hong Kong SAR had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, 46 had been discharged in the Macau SAR, and 859 had been discharged in Taiwan.
 
The Chinese mainland on Monday reported 16 new COVID-19 cases, all imported, the National Health Commission said Tuesday.
 
No suspected cases or deaths related to COVID-19 were newly reported, the commission said in its daily report.
 
Also on Monday, 48 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals following their recovery.
 
By the end of Monday, a total of 4,885 imported cases had been reported on the mainland. Among them, 4,651 had been discharged from hospitals following recovery, and 234 remained hospitalized. No deaths had been reported among the imported cases.
 
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 89,788 by Monday, including 605 patients still receiving treatment, 10 of whom were in severe conditions.
 
A total of 84,547 patients had been discharged following recovery on the mainland, and 4,636 had died as a result of the virus.
 
There was one suspected COVID-19 case on the mainland by the end of Monday, and 9,643 close contacts remained under medical observation.
 
Monday also saw 11 asymptomatic cases newly reported, all arriving from outside the mainland. On the same day, two asymptomatic cases were re-categorized as confirmed cases.
 
A total of 387 asymptomatic cases were under medical observation, of whom 286 arrived from outside the mainland.
 
By the end of Monday, 10,788 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 193 deaths, had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 48 cases had been reported in the Macau SAR, and 937 cases, including nine deaths, had been reported in Taiwan.
 
A total of 10,207 COVID-19 patients in the Hong Kong SAR had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, 46 had been discharged in the Macau SAR, and 859 had been discharged in Taiwan.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 16, 2021
Strong quake off Japan's Fukushima causes limited damage due to focal depth, seismic-resistant build
15th February 2021

 Over 150 people were injured but no death was reported as of Sunday after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Japan Saturday, as experts attributed the limited casualties and damage to the quake's depth of epicenter and the seismic standards of Japanese buildings.

 
The temblor struck off Fukushima Prefecture at around 11:07 pm local time (1407 GMT) Saturday, with its epicenter at a latitude of 37.7 degrees north and a longitude of 141.8 degrees east, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
 
The quake was preliminarily measured at a magnitude of 7.1 and was later revised up to 7.3, while its depth was placed at 55 km, a revise from the initial 60 km, said the JMA.
 
While the magnitude of an earthquake is measured in one certain figure, the seismic intensity scale varies from place to place, depending on the hypocentral distance and focal depth.
 
The JMA puts the seismic intensity scale into 10 degrees, namely 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, Lower 5, Upper 5, Lower 6, Upper 6 and 7. Saturday's quake was measured Upper 6 in some parts of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures.
 
On Sunday morning, some shops and metro stations were closed in Soma, where the earthquake was strongly felt. Some sections of the Joban Expressway were closed due to landslides. Other than that, not much visible damage was seen in the downtown area, with the city mainly operating in an orderly manner.
 
Wang Yuchen, a researcher at Earthquake Research Institute of the University of Tokyo, said that although Saturday's quake fell into the category of a shallow-focus one, its focal depth was relatively deep, which was "close to the range of medium-focus earthquake." Therefore, though the magnitude of the quake was high, it caused few casualties.
 
In comparison, the focal depth of the devastating earthquake in 2011 that killed more than 15,000 people in the same area was only about 24 km, while about 90 percent of the victims were killed by the following tsunami, a secondary disaster of the powerful 9.0-magnitude quake.
 
According to Wang, shallow-focus earthquakes occur at depths less than 60 km, medium-focus ones at depths between 60 km and 300 km, while deep-focus earthquakes happen at depths of above 300 km.
 
As a country with frequent earthquakes, Japan attaches great importance to the seismic resistance of buildings. The 7.3-magnitude quake did not cause a large number of buildings to collapse in places close to the epicenter, including Fukushima Prefecture.
 
The country has laws that require buildings to be earthquake-resistant, so that buildings that meet seismic standards are less likely to collapse during an earthquake. Meanwhile, most old and run-down houses had already been damaged in previous earthquakes.
 
In Japan, houses are mostly made of wood to make them anti-seismic, but such houses are poor in terms of fire proof and sound insulation. In the 2011 earthquake, while some 600 people died due to collapsed houses, many more houses were swept away by the ensuing tsunami.
 
By contrast, Saturday's quake did not trigger a tsunami, so there was little damage to buildings. According to local media, only about 240 people left their homes for shelters after the quake.
 
The JMA believed the latest quake was an aftershock of the devastating 2011 quake and urged the public to stay alert over the coming week or so, citing the likelihood of more tremors of a 
scale similar to that of Saturday's quake.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 15, 2021
China pulls BBC World News off the air for serious content violation
12th February 2021

 China's broadcasting regulator on Thursday made an announcement on pulling BBC World News off the air in the country for serious content violation.

 
The National Radio and Television Administration said BBC World News was found to have seriously violated regulations on radio and television management 
and on overseas satellite television channel management in its China-related reports, which went against the requirements that news reporting must be true and impartial,
 and undermined China's national interests and ethnic solidarity.
 
"As the channel fails to meet the requirements to broadcast in China as an overseas channel, BBC World News is not allowed to continue its service within Chinese territory. 
The NRTA will not accept the channel's broadcast application for the new year," the regulator said in a statement.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 12, 2021

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