the 32 million mark, China detected its first local asymptomatic infections in more than a month after two port workers who unloaded frozen seafood tested positive, adding to alarm that contaminated imports could be transmitting the coronavirus.
The two cases, found in Shandong province’s Qingdao city during testing of port workers, were the first symptom-free cases that China has reported since August 20. China hasn’t reported any local symptomatic infections since August 15 either.
The new cases will intensify concern in China over whether imported products are infectious. Traces of the virus have been found on frozen, imported seafood and meat, as well as in the containers in which they were shipped.
Also, China said it plans to produce 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine per year by 2021, and claimed that the World Health Organization (WHO) had backed its emergency use of experimental vaccines on high-risk groups in late June. The National Health commission (NHC) said China’s annual production capacity of vaccines is expected to reach 610 million doses by the end of this year.
China had informed the WHO about inoculating high-risk groups on June 29, Zheng Zhongwei, director-general of the NHC’s development centre for medical science and technology, told reporters on Friday.
China approved the plan on June 24 and authorised emergency use of the vaccines on July 22. “After the approval, on June 29, we made a communication with representatives of the WHO Office in China, and obtained support and understanding from WHO,” Zheng said.
‘London at tipping point’
Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday said London is at a “very worrying tipping point” as officials revealed that the capital city is being placed on the UK-wide “watch list”. Khan said, “London is at a very worrying tipping point right now. We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls (for medical care), hospital admissions and patients in ICU. The near-collapse of test and trace and the resurgence of the virus means new measures to slow its spread were absolutely necessary.”
Meanwhile, Novavax has begun a late-stage trial of its potential vaccine in the UK.