Thousands of people in northwest China have tested positive for a bacterial disease after a leak from a state-owned biopharmaceutical plant making animal vaccines last year.
Health officials in Lanzhou city said 3,245 people had contracted brucellosis, a disease often caused by close contact with infected animals or animal products that can bring about fevers, joint pain and headaches.
Another 1,401 people tested as an early positive for the disease, and health authorities said there was no evidence of person-to-person transmission so far.
Chinese authorities found a biopharmaceutical plant had used expired disinfectant in its production of Brucella vaccines for animals between July and August last year — meaning the bacteria was not eradicated in its factory exhaust.
Contaminated gas from the China Animal Husbandry Lanzhou Biopharmaceutical Factory in Lanzhou formed aerosols containing the bacteria, and this was then carried by wind to the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, infecting nearly 200 people there as of December last year.
More than 20 students and faculty members of Lanzhou University, some of whom had been to the institute, subsequently tested positive as well, according to Xinhua news agency.
Lanzhou’s health commission said Friday that sheep, cattle and pigs were most commonly involved in the spread of the bacteria.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, person-to-person transmission of brucellosis is “extremely rare” but some symptoms may reoccur or never go away.
These include recurrent fevers, chronic fatigue, swelling of the heart or arthritis.
The factory — which apologised earlier this year — has had its brucellosis vaccine production licence revoked, Lanzhou authorities said.
Compensation for patients would start in batches from October, according to local authorities.
The Runways are Ready Ready for takeoff, commercial flights in Angola which resumed this week following their suspension in early March at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic — with only domestic flights available for booking as of now.
The first highly anticipated roundtrip flight between Luanda and Cabinda on Monday was surrounded by confusion at the airport with more passengers as there were seats.
Nevertheless, domestic flights will continue with a round trip to Soyo, in Zaire province on Wednesday and a two-way connection between the capital city and Huambo on Thursday.
International flights are scheduled to operate next Monday.
National Progress This marks a huge step towards economic recovery that also coincides with a rise in the country’s coronavirus testing capacity as for the first time more than 1,800 tests were carried out in a single day — as reported by officials on Tuesday.
Tests that resulted in the confirmation of 51 new infections which sees the national caseload at nearly 3,500 with 136 deaths since the start of the global coronavirus health crisis.
A situation to which the newly opened Walter Strangway hospital unveiled this week by President João Lourenço, in Cuito, the capital of the province of Bié, will now be able to provide assistance.
Along with several other medical specialities available at this new hospital in the centre of Angola — such as dialysis procedures undergone by the first patients on Monday.
United States President Donald Trump said Tuesday that a coronavirus vaccine may be available within a month — an acceleration of even his own optimistic predictions — but added that the pandemic could go away by itself.
“We’re very close to having a vaccine,” he told a town hall question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania aired on ABC News.
“We’re within weeks of getting it you know — could be three weeks, four weeks,” he said.
Only hours earlier, speaking to Fox News, Trump had said a vaccine could come in “four weeks, it could be eight weeks.”
Democrats have expressed concern that Trump is putting political pressure on government health regulators and scientists to approve a rushed vaccine in time to help turn around his uphill bid for reelection against challenger Joe Biden on November 3.
Experts including top US government infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci say vaccine approval is more likely toward the end of the year.
At the ABC town hall Trump was asked why he’d downplayed the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now killed close to 200,000 people in the US.
Trump replied by saying: “I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action.”
But Trump himself told journalist Bob Woodward during taped interviews for the new book “Rage” — published Tuesday — that he had deliberately decided to “play it down” to avoid alarming Americans.
‘Herd mentality’ Returning to one of his most controversial views on the virus, that has ravaged the economy and which government scientists say will remain a danger for some time, Trump insisted “it is going to disappear.”
“It would go away without the vaccine but it’s going to go away a lot faster with it,” he said.
Challenged about how the virus would go away by itself, he said “you’ll develop like a herd mentality,” apparently meaning the concept of herd immunity, when enough people have developed resistance to the disease to effectively stop transmission.
“It’s going to be herd developed and that’s going to happen. That will all happen but with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly. But I really believe we’re rounding the corner,” he said.
The president, who is rarely seen wearing a mask in public and long refused to push Americans to adopt the habit, said “a lot of people don’t want to wear masks and people don’t think masks are good.”
Asked what people he meant, Trump answered: “Waiters.”
“They come over and they serve you and they have a mask,” he said. “I saw it the other day when they were serving me and they’re playing with the mask. I’m not blaming them. I’m just saying what happens: They’re playing with the mask. So the mask is over, and they’re touching it, and then they’re touching the plate, and that can’t be good.”
Polls show that a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the health crisis.
The latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking poll Tuesday found that 52 percent of adults do not trust Trump’s statements about an upcoming coronavirus vaccine, compared to 26 percent who do.
Chaos and confusion plague thousands of people made shelterless after a fire struck Europe’s largest refugee camp.
Days after a fire reduced Europe’s largest refugee camp to embers, fires are still breaking out around the charred remains of Moria.
Fire engines race back and forth over the Greek hillsides to extinguish the new fires, weaving between families languishing on the roadsides and in olive groves.
The air smells of burned plastic and smoke. The sounds of people shouting and children crying come from all sides.
Thousands are trapped between the smouldering camp they cannot return to and lines of police who block them from entering the nearby city of Mytilene.
Confusion prevails; people wonder why the fire started, how long they will have to remain by the side of the road, and what will happen next.
“We are here and we don’t know anything,” Ahmad Sadiya, a 29-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan, told Noble Reporters Media‘s known Media. “We just have to wait here for some people to help us.”
Sadiya was sleeping in a container with his wife and three small children when the fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday.
They heard people shouting about a fire, but at first, when they tried to flee, they were stopped by police throwing tear gas. As the flames grew they were able to run for the streets.
he Greek government maintains that the fire was started by asylum seekers as a response to continuing coronavirus lockdowns and tests.
Moria refugee camp had been under an extended lockdown since March. Last week, it was put in an even stricter lockdown after 35 residents tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “I recognise the difficult conditions. However, nothing can become an alibi for violent reactions to health checks. And, much more, for riots of this magnitude.”
Pamela Kanda, 28, an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, cannot comprehend why she is stuck on the road between the camp and the city, and why she is not permitted to leave to get food or nappies for her two-year-old child.
“They don’t want anybody to pass,” she said. “They don’t tell us anything.”
Her phone has run out of battery, she has nowhere to charge it, and so she has no source of information from the outside world. She does not know what will happen next.
Nearby in the same olive grove, 16-year-old Tamadur Al Bario’s family also lacks access to food and water. She picks up a baby cousin to show bug bites on the nape of her neck, and a thick white scar from a bomb in Syria. They are running out of formula.
“Where are the organisations to help? No food, nothing? Why?” she asks. “Nobody came to help. We will die, we will stay in the road, for them it’s no problem.”
Amid the heat and hunger, concerns about the coronavirus loom large.
Of the 35 Moria camp residents who were diagnosed with the illness, only eight have been located and quarantined.
Here, people are unable to socially distance, and have no access to running water or sanitary products.
So far, few viable solutions have been proposed for the 13,000 residents of the former Moria.
Notis Mitarakis, the migration minister, said some 3,500 asylum seekers will be accommodated in a commercial passenger ship and two naval barges, and the rest will be provided with tents in different areas on the island.
By Friday afternoon, people were moved from the road beside the former camp to an area beside a field where new tents were being set up.
Unsure where they might be sent next, others who were asked to move to the tent area refused to leave crowds on the roadside.
In the long-term, Mitarakis has remained firm that the government will proceed with the planned construction of a closed detention centre on the island – a move residents and aid organisations have protested against for months.
“We really starkly condemn any move to this kind of closed setting,” Christina Psarra, the general director of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) in Greece, told Media known to Noble Reporters Media.
“We reached this point because of this approach of closing the camp. They cannot build from the ashes, the same thing that caused so much pain.”
Many refugees in Lesbos had never heard of the plan to build a closed camp.
“I don’t know what the government will decide,” said Mohammad Zaher, 42, an asylum seeker from Afghanistan.
“Will they make Moria again or no? Where will we be?”
Zaher has been without food and water for more than two days.
But for now, the worries about his future concern him more than hunger: “Food is not important for us, the future is important for us,” he said, gesturing to his son beside him. “The children’s future is important for us.”
Warnings in place along entire west coast, as high winds fan catastrophic fires in Oregon, Washington and California.
Wildfires raged unchecked across large parts of the western United States on Wednesday in blazes unprecedented in their scale and ferocity, as Oregon warned of many deaths after blazes destroyed at least five small towns.
Winds gusting as high as 80km/h (50mph) fanned dozens of catastrophic fires across a large swathe of Oregon and neighbouring Washington state – places that rarely experience such intense fire activity because of the Pacific Northwest’s cool and wet climate.
Flames ravaged the towns of Detroit, Blue River, Vida, Phoenix and Talent, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said Wednesday.
The blazes, which also forced the evacuation of much of Medford in southern Oregon, could bring “the greatest loss in human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history”, Brown said at a news briefing.
In Washington state, a one year old boy was killed and his parents badly burned as tried to flee a fire, police said.
Nearly 100 fires are raging across the west of the US, with 28 in California, where nearly 930,800 hectares (2.3 million acres) have been burned and three people were on Wednesday confirmed dead. A massive cloud of smoke has enveloped much of the state leaving San Francisco beneath an eerie orange glow.
A 12-year-old boy and his grandmother died in a wildfire about 50 miles south of Portland, KOIN News reported. In Washington state a 1-year-old boy was killed and his parents severely burned as they tried to flee a fire in Okanogan County, police said.
Firefighters retreated from uncontrollable blazes in Oregon as officials gave residents “go now” orders to evacuate, meaning they had only minutes to leave their homes.
“It was like driving through hell,” Jody Evans told local television station NewsChannel21 after a midnight evacuation from Detroit, southwest of Portland.
Officials in the Pacific Northwest said they did not recall ever having to deal with so many destructive fires at once in the areas where they were burning.
Minutes to escape In suburban Clackamas County, home to about 420,000 people who mostly work in nearby Oregon, four major fires were burning, with sheriff’s deputies travelling with chainsaws in patrol cars to remove fallen trees blocking roads.
“These winds are so incredible and are spreading so fast, we don’t have a lot of time,” said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.
Fires were burning in seven Oregon counties, and rural and suburban homes miles away from Portland, Oregon’s largest city, were under preliminary orders to prepare for possible evacuations. Three prisons were evacuated late on Tuesday.
Brown saw no respite to the hot, windy weather and requested a federal emergency declaration for the state.
“Absolutely no area in the state is free from fire,” said Doug Graf, chief of fire protection for the Oregon Department of Forestry.
The Pacific Northwest is no stranger to wildfires, but most of the biggest ones until now have been in the eastern or southern parts of the region – where the weather is considerably hotter and drier and the vegetation more fire-prone than it is on the western side of the region.
Fires in 2017 and 2018 reached the top of the Cascade Mountains – the long spine that divides dry eastern Oregon from the lush western part of the state – but had never before spread into the valleys below, said Doug Grafe, chief of Fire Protection at the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Climate scientists blame global warming for extreme wet and dry seasons in the US West that have caused grasses and scrub to flourish then dry out, leaving abundant fuel for fires.
“We do not have a context for this amount of fire on the landscape,” he said. “Seeing them run down the canyons the way they have – carrying tens of miles in one period of an afternoon and not slowing down in the evening – [there is] absolutely no context for that in this environment.”
Further north in Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee said more than 133,546 hectares (330,000 acres) had burned in a 24-hour period – an area larger than the acreage that normally burns during entire fire seasons that stretch from spring into the autumn.
‘Heartbreaking’ About 80 percent of the small eastern Washington farming town of Malden was levelled by flames from a fast-moving fire on Monday. Among the buildings that burned were the town’s fire station, post office, city hall and library.
“It’s an unprecedented and heartbreaking event,” Inslee told reporters.
In California, more than 14,000 firefighters continue to battle fires and all 18 National Forests have been closed due to “unprecedented and historic fire conditions.”
To the south, the Creek Fire, about 35 miles (56 km) north of Fresno, tore through the Sierra National Forest, destroying more than 360 homes and structures.
“This fire is just burning at an explosive rate,” said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for California’s state fire authority. “You add the winds, the dry conditions, the hot temperatures, it’s the perfect recipe.”
“It’s extraordinary, the challenge that we’ve faced so far this season,” Governor Gavin Newsom said.
Helicopters have been used in recent days to rescue hundreds of people stranded in the burning Sierra National Forest, where a fire has destroyed 365 buildings, including at least 45 homes. About 5,000 buildings were threatened, fire officials said.
In Southern California, fires burned in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. People in foothill communities east of Los Angeles were warned to be ready to flee, but the region’s notorious Santa Ana winds were weaker than predicted.
The Latin American roll-out of a potential COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca could be set back after the biotech company announced a pause in tests, the government of Mexico, which is involved in developing the drug alongside Argentina, said Tuesday.
AstraZeneca, which is working on a vaccine in conjunction with Oxford University, said that a volunteer had developed an undiagnosed illness and that, in line with security protocols, it was delaying further tests until an independent panel had studied the case.
Pausing vaccine trials “is not an unusual occurrence… and as a consequence the vaccine’s arrival may be delayed” across the region, said Hugo Lopez Gatell, Mexico’s undersecretary for health, at a press conference on the latest development.
Gatell asked that people avoid speculation about the safety of the vaccine, especially given that it is considered to be one of the most promising projects under development in the western world.
Mexico and Argentina have signed an agreement to work together with the Swedish-British pharmaceutical company.
Under the plan, some 250 million doses of the vaccine would be sold at cost across Latin America, with the exception of Brazil, which has its own agreements.
Mexico will also work with other labs in Europe, China and Russia in vaccine development projects, although AstraZeneca is the only one that has guaranteed distribution across Latin America.
With a population of almost 129 million people, Mexico had suffered 68,484 fatalities from the virus by Tuesday, with 642,860 cases of Covid-19
The Creek Fire sparked on Friday and quickly spread throughout Saturday, trapping campers near the city of Fresno.
A fast-moving brush fire cut off evacuation routes and trapped about 150 people in the Sierra National Forest in California, prompting a military helicopter rescue, authorities have said.
The Creek Fire consumed more than 14,500 hectares (36,000 acres) and threatened numerous mountain communities after igniting on Friday and exploding on Saturday, authorities said.
Military helicopters rescued at least 63 people from the Mammoth Pool Reservoir, which is about 70km (45 miles) from the city of Fresno. Two people were seriously injured, while 10 had moderate wounds, according to the Fresno Fire Department.
The Madera County Sheriff’s office said about 150 people were initially trapped at the popular camping destination, and were advised to shelter in place.
“Emergency crews from multiple agencies need to focus on the critical task at hand – rescue of the approximately 150 people sheltering-in-place at Mammoth Pool Boat Launch,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook, warning people to avoid the area.
California National Guard was using Chinooks in the rescue operation, National Guard Bureau chief General Daniel Hokanson said, tweeting a picture taken from the cockpit of a helicopter showing it surrounded by blazing trees.
Residents of Huntington Lake, Camp Sierra and Big Creek in central California were ordered to evacuate, and portions of Highway 168 were shut down, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. Shaver Lake was also closed.
Later on Saturday afternoon, evacuation orders were issued for the Kinsman Flat area in North Fork, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies were going door-to-door notifying residents of the danger. The Rock Creek and Fish Creek campgrounds were also being evacuated, officials said.
California has been baking with record-breaking temperatures expected over the Labor Day weekend, bringing dangerous fire weather conditions.
The high temperatures come as the state is recovering from another heatwave in mid-August and devastating wildfires that have burned some 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) in the last three weeks.