CHINA is experiencing a full-scale coronavirus outbreak at Shanghai’s Pudong airport where authorities have rushed to lockdown the site by cancelling flights and putting thousands of people into immediate quarantine.
Half of the flights scheduled to arrive at Shanghai have been redirected to other airports. The outbreak has also affected nearby Tianjin airport, with over half of inbound flights there also being redirected. Response to the outbreak from authorities came on Sunday when cargo workers tested positive for the deadly pathogen.
This led to authorities corralling thousands of people into the basement area of a section of the airport to have immediate anti-body tests.
An estimated 17,000 people at the airport have already been swabbed in the race to halt the spread of the pathogen.
Workers that had previously left the airport were ordered back to the site via taxi for testing.
Thousands of people have been ordered into quarantine and up to 500 flights have been cancelled.
The news coming from Shanghai has come as a blow to China’s president Xi Jinping who has been praised across the nation for the draconian rules he implemented to bring the virus under control.
However, confidence in the leader has now been shaken as China is struggling to contain a number of domestic outbreaks in different cities.
The outbreak in Shanghai has led to rumours that workers will be given an experimental vaccination that China has not fully tested through the usual three stages of medicine development.
Speaking about the scenes of panic and confusion at the airport ABC China correspondent Bill Birtles tweeted: “Wild scenes at Shanghai Pudong airport.
“There are now multiple videos going around of what appears to be a sudden decision by authorities to test all staff for COVID19.
“This comes after two positive cases were detected.
“Reports say authorities ultimately relented as things were getting out of hand.”
Another Twitter user describing videos that show the alarming scenes at the airport said: “Some workers at Shanghai Pudong International Airport tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Authorities then tried to force thousands of people into the parking garage for mandatory testing.
“The people weren’t happy about it.
Alarmingly, many of the videos showing the scenes of panic at the airport have now disappeared from Chinese online platforms, suggesting that authorities are trying to hide the situation.
Courtesy of express.co.uk
A THIRD wave of the coronavirus could hit Europe early next year if government leaders fail to take action to stem the invisible killer disease, a World Health Organisation (WHO) special COVID-19 envoy has predicted.
The WHO’s David Nabarro issued the gloomy warning, saying a third wave of the coronavirus, which has killed 1.39 million people worldwide, could strike again if governments repeat what he said was a failure to do what was needed to prevent the second wave of infections. He said Europe had “missed an opportunity” to get the first wave and then the second wave under control due to an “incomplete” response to the disease.
In an interview with Swiss newspapers, he said: “They missed building up the necessary infrastructure during the summer months after they brought the first wave under the control.
“Now we have the second wave. If they don’t build the necessary infrastructure, we’ll have a third wave early next year.”
Europe briefly enjoyed sinking infection rates that are now surging again with countries, including the UK, in nationwide lockdowns to stem the virus.
Germany and France on Saturday saw cases rise by 33,000 combined, Switzerland and Austria have thousands of cases daily, while Turkey reported a record 5,532 new infections.
Mr Nabarro singled out Switzerland’s move to allow skiing – with masks required in gondolas – as other Alpine nations like Austria have shuttered resorts.
He warned Switzerland could reach a “very high level of sicknesses and deaths”.
The WHO expert told the Solothurner Zeitung: “Once the infection rates sink, and they will sink, then we can be as free as we want.
”But right now? Should ski resorts open? Under what conditions?”
Mr Nabarro also lauded the response of Asian countries like South Korea, where infections are now relatively low, adding: “People are fully engaged, they take on behaviours that make it difficult for the virus.
“They keep their distance, wear masks, isolate when they’re sick, wash hands and surfaces. They protect the most endangered groups.”
He said Asia did not relax restrictions prematurely.
Mr Nabarro added: ”You must wait until case numbers are low and stay low. Europe’s reaction was incomplete.”
His shocking warning comes despite hopes for life to go back to normal following news of two new vaccines.
Britain is on track to make COVID-19 vaccines widely available by next spring after the shot developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca was up to 90 percent effective in trials.
Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford University vaccine group that developed the drug, hailed an “exciting day” and added: “This means we have a vaccine for the world”.
The vaccine was 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 when it was administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least a month later, according to data from late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil. No serious safety events were confirmed, the company said.
Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration has signalled it is likely to approve in mid-December the distribution of the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech.
Courtesy of express.co.uk