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China locks down Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai

China locks down Shanghai Disneyland and tests 34,000 visitors after single Covid case

As fireworks lit up the sky over Shanghai Disney Resort on Sunday, chatter began to spread through the crowds. Qian, a young Chinese woman who’d decided to spend her Halloween at the theme park, saw a Weibo alert from Disney saying the park had closed and rides had stopped. No more guests could enter Disneyland – those already inside, all 34,000 of them, would have to be tested and isolate.

The news filtered through the throngs of parkgoers but, as Qian described, caused no panic, despite the worsening outbreak of Delta across 16 Chinese provinces.

“The tourists around me started discussing this matter, but they all finished watching the first fireworks in peace,” she posted on Weibo.

As they moved towards the exit, the crowd learned no one could leave until all were tested. They were ushered along outdoor trestle tables staffed by PPE-wearing healthworkers for testing, as the second evening fireworks show blasted in the background. The gates were closed and the rail lines shut down.

“I never thought that the longest queue in Disneyland would be for a nucleic acid test,” another visitor wryly noted on social media.

Late in the night more than 200 buses took people home for two days of self-isolation and further testing. Another 100,000 people who visited the park on the weekend will also be tested.

The surreal scenes were prompted by the discovery of one case, a Saturday visitor Shanghai who was later found to be positive. Reports were conflicted on whether she had even gone to Disneyland. Disney’s initial alert had only attributed the closure to a need to “cooperate with the pandemic investigation in other provinces and cities”.

Regardless, the park and Disneytown – its retail hub – shut until Wednesday.

On Monday, China reported another 54 cases in a stubborn outbreak of Delta which, while dwarfed by numbers around the world, is threatening China’s commitment to remaining free from Covid.

So far about 500 people have been diagnosed across at least 16 provinces, initially centred around Inner Mongolia but now mostly in Heilongjiang. Throughout the pandemic authorities have responded swiftly and strongly to outbreaks, with sudden lockdowns, transport restrictions and mass testing drives. But the high transmissibility of the Delta variant has seen a rise in more creative attempts to curb its spread.

Communities are largely complying – in Heilongjiang an official bragged of the 35,000 people who rushed to the testing stations, queueing under umbrellas. But tolerance is beginning to wane, especially when it involves so few cases.

In Jiangxi authorities turned all traffic lights red to halt movement after a single case was identified – its first in almost two years. The move was reversed after public outcry. In Beijing some residents complained of glitchy health apps recording their location in the wrong place, and leaving them stranded. On Monday Beijing’s health commission asked people to avoid leaving or returning if possible.

In Ruili, a small town on the border between China’s Yunnan and Myanmar, repeated lockdowns and waves of outbreaks have driven people away. Local media reported that one baby in the city who had been tested 74 times since September.

In late October, someone who claimed to be a Ruili student posted on Weibo that he and his family were unable to return home. Local officials told Chinese media that since 2020 the number of residents had reduced from half a million to 200,000. “Impacted by the epidemic for a long time, many people found life hard to cope with,” one said. The mayor has made an extraordinary plea for help from Beijing.

China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are among the last global jurisdictions still clinging to elimination strategies for the virus. For all three it involves the continuation of strict border closures and quarantine systems.

Some have begun to question the sustainability of the strategy, as the rest of the world begins reopening and accepting life with the virus, mitigated by high rates of vaccination and less intrusive health measures. Others note that the strategy has worked – all three places are largely Covid free, having seen few of the world’s five million recorded deaths.

In Shanghai, Qian praised the response at Disneyland.

“One can really believe in Shanghai for ever. The response speed and the measures to deal with the epidemic are really fast and reasonable,” she said. “This Halloween will be unforgettable, a happy, beautiful, and wonderful journey with no dangers. I hope the epidemic gets better soon and everyone is safe and sound.”

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Health

Group hails IG as mother accused Hospital of stealing Placenta

The Inspector General of Police, (IG) Kayode Egbetokun has received praises for the prompt arrest of suspects accused of stealing the placenta of a new born baby in privated hospital located in Kwara State. The suspects were taken from Ilofa to Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Thursday.
In a statement signed by NHRC’s official, Mr Taiwo Adeleye said the arrest of the suspects was an important step towards securing justice for the families of Mr Rotimi Williams whose wife accused health officials at a private hospital of stealing the placenta of her new born baby.
The Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC),a coalition of 130 civil society groups spread across Nigeria on Thursday expressed delight at the arrest of the suspects by the police.
The group said it was aware of plots by some powerful individuals to clog the wheel of justice but was delighted that the IG has brought hope to the despairing family. It called for full investigation that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of all culprits.
Few days ago, Mrs Williams accused the management of Cottage hospital, Ilofa, Kwara State of failing to account for the placenta of her new born baby. In complaints lodged with the NHRC, Mrs Williams said a nurse, Mrs Alabi took the delivery, one nurse Adeloye cleaned up the baby while one Mrs Toyin, a ward attendant claimed she mistakenly threw away the placenta.
“In Nigerian agelong tradition, the placenta is linked to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of a new born baby. There is a customary and agelong way of burying placenta of which every medical staff is aware.The disappearance of a baby’s placenta is a source of eternal trauma for the parents and a prelude to impugn the future of the child based on timeless tradition and beliefs,” the NHRC said.
The Coalition said the placenta could be stolen for rituals, adding that stealing a placenta is like killing the child or using the child for ritual by other means The group said it would follow-up the case “day and night” to ensure justice is done. The NHRC said Mrs Toyin brought out the mother’s bags from the labour room but failed to take the placenta along.
The rights group said one Mrs Ayoni Awolusi in the course of the delivery, claimed she was to be on duty but was absent. The medical personnel expected to be on dury was Dr. Ajibola. NHRC said Mrs Williams put to bed around 7pm on Sunday May 12 but discovered the missing placenta very early on Monday 13th, May.
The group called on the IG to intensify the probe and ensure every one connected with the gory episode is brought to justice

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AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccines from market as demand reduces

Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca on Wednesday said it was withdrawing Covid vaccine Vaxzevria, one of the first produced in the deadly pandemic, citing “commercial reasons” following a slump in demand.

“As multiple, variant Covid-19 vaccines have since been developed there is a surplus of available updated vaccines. This has led to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson added in a statement.

“We will now work with regulators and our partners to align on a clear path forward to conclude this chapter and significant contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

AstraZeneca rapidly developed the successful Covid-19 jab during the coronavirus pandemic which erupted in the first half of 2020.

Vaxzevria, developed alongside Oxford University, was at first offered at cost but Astra decided in late 2021 to sell it for profit.

But the world pivoted towards mRNA vaccines, particularly the one produced by US drugs giant Pfizer and German peer BioNTech, after rare blood-clot problems with Astra’s jab increased public hesitancy about taking it.

Sales collapsed further as global Covid restrictions were fully lifted worldwide and the world emerged from the global health crisis.

The AstraZeneca spokesperson said the group had begun the process from taking it off the market in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA) region.

The company will work with other regulators globally to start market authorisation withdrawals for the Vaxzevria “where no future commercial demand for the vaccine is expected”.

The spokesperson said that, according to independent estimates, “over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of use alone” and more than three billion doses were supplied globally.

“We are incredibly proud of the role Vaxzevria played in ending the global pandemic,” the spokesperson said.

“Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic. ”

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Health

NMA lauds Police for arresting fake doctor in Lagos

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has commended the Nigerian Police Force for arresting an alleged fake medical doctor.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, Chairman, NMA Lagos, said the arrest will strengthen the association’s fight against quackery in the medical profession.

Olowojebutu explained that medical quackery was a dangerous practice that posed a threat to the well-being of citizens and the delivery of quality healthcare in the state, and country.

“The arrest is a welcome development for the health sector; we would expose these quacks and ensure that Lagos does not suffer further morbidity and mortality from their nefarious activities.

“We are glad that our work on anti-quackery has started yielding progress as we are determined to weed out quacks from the medical profession,” he said.

The chairman pledged that NMA Lagos, with the support of the Ministry of Health, Health Monitoring and Accreditation Agency, HEFAMAA, and police, would eradicate quacks from the state.

According to him, the association would hold an anti-quackery summit soon, after which it would present a white paper to the Lagos State Government on anti-quackery.

Olowojebutu warned hospitals to refrain from employing staff whose certificates and licences had not been verified by the MDCN to safeguard the health of the populace.

The 37-year-old medical practitioner with suspected forged certificates was arrested by police at Skylink Medical Centre, Elepe-Ikorodu.

The police said they arrested the suspect, who claimed to be the managing director of the health facility, based on intelligence gathered by the command through members of the Elepe community concerning the activities of the suspect.

The police recovered two suspected forged certificates of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, after searching for the facility.

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