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News from China
Wuhan in all-out efforts to cure elderly COVID-19 patients
13th April 2020

 China's Wuhan will strengthen medical treatment for severely ill and elderly COVID-19 patients, the latest signal from the city hard hit by the novel coronavirus but now in a steady recovery.

Jiao Yahui, an official with the National Health Commission, said Saturday that patients at the Huoshenshan and Leishenshan hospitals, built from scratch to help the then-overloaded local hospitals treat severely ill COVID-19 patients, will be transferred to four large hospitals in Wuhan by April 15.
"We hope to secure the patients the most effective treatment by placing them at the four hospitals with high-quality medical resources in the city," Jiao said, adding that the treatment of the severe and critical cases remained difficult.
The official also said elderly patients, who made up the vast majority of the severe and critical cases, have been placed in "better hospitals," while demanding residential communities care for those who could not be attended to by their families after being discharged from hospital.
"Those aged above 65 and usually with underlying diseases must be treated in hospitals with better resources," said Jiao. "It is more difficult to treat the elderly and it requires greater input of medical resources. However, all patients regardless of wealth and age are important to us."
The announcement was made after Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the capital, saw its number of COVID-19 patients in severe and critical condition, most of whom are located in Wuhan, drop to 93 on Saturday from a peak of more than 10,000 in February.
The overall cure rate of COVID-19 in Wuhan has been improved to 94 percent, with that of patients aged above 80 nearing 70 percent. The cure rate of patients in severe condition exceeded 89 percent, according to the latest official figures.
"This is a hard-won achievement," Jiao said, pointing to the fact that the total number of COVID-19 patients aged above 80 exceeded 3,000 in Wuhan, and around 40 percent of them had been in severe condition.
It was announced Saturday that seven of the eight centenarian COVID-19 patients in Wuhan had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, with the oldest aged 108.
Meanwhile, medical experts continued to stress the difficulty in the treatment of the severely ill and elderly COVID-19 patients.
"Over 90 percent of the old-age patients have underlying diseases and some of those in severe condition had been hospitalized for 50 to 60 days," said Jiao.
Du Bin, ICU director of Peking Union Medical College Hospital and member of a national medical team sent to Wuhan, said elderly COVID-19 patients generally have cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and lung diseases, as well as compromised organ functions, thus requiring organ support therapies.
Yuan Yufeng, vice president of Wuhan Leishenshan Hospital, said most of the severe patients in Wuhan hospitals have turned negative in nucleic acid testing, which means the anti-virus treatment is no longer the focus.
"Their main problems include severe organ damage caused by the disease, thus requiring advanced life support, and pre-existing health problems such as cerebral infarction, coronary disease and diabetes, which keep them in hospitals. Many of them are elderly patients and their treatment remains difficult," he said.
Vice Premier Sun Chunlan previously demanded targeted treatment and better nursing for severe COVID-19 patients and the "utmost efforts" to improve their cure rate. She also ordered medical teams from other parts of China to retain high-level intensive care groups in Hubei.
"Every life deserves respect," she said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 13, 2020
Mexico delays deal reached by OPEC+ to cut oil output
10th April 2020

 Mexico suspended the agreement reached by all OPEC+ group members at Thursday's meeting to reduce oil production by about 10 million barrels per day, Kuwait's oil minister Khaled al-Fadhel tweeted on Friday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, kicked off an extraordinary video conference on Thursday to discuss oil production cuts.
"Kuwait held marathon talks in the past days and during the meeting to create a state of consensus between the member states in the hope of rebalancing the oil markets," said the minister.
Mexican Energy Secretary Rocio Nahle, who also attended the teleconference, tweeted early Friday that Mexico is ready to reduce the national oil production by only 100,000 barrels per day in May and June.
"From 1.781 mbd (million barrels per day) of production that we reported in March 2020, we will decrease to 1.681 mbd," Nahle said, adding that Mexico agreed to stabilize the price of oil at the OPEC Secretariat meeting.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 10, 2020
World trade to fall by up to 32% in 2020: WTO
9th April 2020

 World trade is expected to fall by between 13 percent and 32 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world, the World Trade Organization said Wednesday in its latest report.

"The wide range of possibilities for the predicted decline is explained by the unprecedented nature of this health crisis and the uncertainty around its precise economic impact," said the WTO, while releasing its annual Trade Statistics and Outlook Report, adding that the decline would likely exceed the trade slump brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008-09.
While all regions of the world are expected to suffer double-digit declines in their trade, North America and Asia are expected to suffer the most, said the report.
Exports are also likely to decline more sharply in sectors with complex value chains, particularly in electronics and automobiles.
The WTO recalled that 2019 ended on a gloomy note, with a 0.1 percent drop in trade, compounded by trade tensions and a slowing global economy.
It estimated that a recovery in world trade of between 21 percent and 24 percent could take place in 2021, but only if the pandemic is brought under control.
The report underlined that estimates of the expected recovery in 2021 are equally uncertain, with outcomes depending largely on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses.
"The immediate goal is to bring the pandemic under control and mitigate the economic damage to people, companies and countries. But policymakers must start planning for the aftermath of the pandemic," said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo.
Estimating that "a rapid, vigorous rebound is possible," Azevedo underlined that "if countries work together, we will see a much faster recovery than if each country acts alone." 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 9, 2020
Chinese mainland reports 62 new confirmed COVID-19 cases
8th April 2020

 Chinese health authority said Wednesday it received reports of 62 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Tuesday, of which 59 were imported.

Three new domestic cases were reported, including two in Shandong Province and one in Guangdong Province, the National Health Commission said.
Two deaths were reported Tuesday, with one in Shanghai and the other in Hubei Province. A total of 12 new suspected cases, 11 imported ones and one in Guangdong, were reported on the mainland.
According to the commission, 112 people were discharged from hospitals after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by 22 to 189.
As of Tuesday, the mainland had reported a total of 1,042 imported cases. Of the cases, 328 had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 714 were being treated with 23 in severe condition, said the commission.
The overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 81,802 by Tuesday, including 1,190 patients who were still being treated, 77,279 patients who had been discharged after recovery, and 3,333 people who died of the disease.
The commission said that 83 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus.
It added that 13,334 close contacts were still under medical observation. On Tuesday, 2,295 people were discharged from medical observation.
Also on Tuesday, 137 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were reported on the mainland, including 102 imported ones. A total of 11 asymptomatic cases, all imported ones, were re-categorized as confirmed infections, and 64 were discharged from medical observation including eight imported cases, according to the commission.
The commission said 1,095 asymptomatic cases were still under medical observation, including 358 from abroad.
By Tuesday, 935 confirmed cases including four deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 44 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 376 in Taiwan including five deaths.
A total of 236 patients in Hong Kong, 10 in Macao and 61 in Taiwan had been discharged from hospitals after recovery.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 8, 2020

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