China tests millions after coronavirus flare-ups in 3 cities

Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week

As temperatures drop, large-scale measures are being enacted in the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli, despite the low number of new cases compared to the United States and other countries that are seeing new waves of infections.

Many experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater during the cold weather. Recent flare-ups have shown that there is still a risk of the virus returning, despite being largely controlled within China.

On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday. China has recorded 86,442 total cases and 4,634 deaths since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

The two latest cases confirmed in Shanghai were close contacts of another airport worker who was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in November. On Sunday night, the city’s Pudong International airport decided to test its workers, collecting 17,719 samples through the early hours of Monday morning. Plans call for testing others in surrounding communities if further cases are detected.

Videos on social media purportedly from workers showed what appeared to be chaotic scenes at the airport as they were given last-minute orders to get tested. In the videos, people are seen standing in large groups pushing back and forth against officials in hazmat suits.

Shanghai has been more selective with mass testing, targeting people associated with a particular place, such as the airport or the hospital where someone who has tested positive had worked, rather than an entire district.

China has resorted to its heavy, top-down approach each time new cases of local transmission are found — shutting down schools and hospitals, locking down residential communities and entire neighborhoods, and testing millions.

Tianjin authorities shut down a kindergarten and moved all the teachers, family and students to a centralized quarantine space. They also sealed the residential compound where the five cases were found.

A worker for UPS at Pudong airport said one of those who tested positive earlier in the month

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China tests millions after coronavirus flareups in 3 cities

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week.

As temperatures drop, widescale measures are being enacted in Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli, even though the number of new cases remains low compared to the United States and other countries that are seeing new waves of infections.

Experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater in cold weather. Recent flareups have shown that there is still a risk of the virus returning, despite being largely controlled within China.


On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday. China has recorded 86,442 cases overall and 4,634 deaths since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

The two latest cases confirmed in Shanghai were close contacts of another airport worker who was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in November. On Sunday night, the city’s Pudong International airport decided to test its workers, collecting 17,719 samples through the early hours of Monday morning. Plans call for testing others in surrounding communities if further cases are detected.

Videos on social media purportedly from workers showed what appeared to be chaotic scenes at the airport as they were given last-minute orders to get tested. In the videos, people are seen standing in large groups pushing back and forth against officials in hazmat suits.

Shanghai has been more selective with mass testing, targeting people associated with a particular place, such as the airport or the hospital where someone who has tested positive had worked, rather than an entire district.

In Tianjin, health workers have collected more than 2.2 million samples for testing from residents in the Binhai new district, after five locally transmitted cases were discovered there last week.

In Manzhouli, a city of more than 200,000 people, local health authorities are testing all residents after two cases were reported on Saturday. They also shut down all schools and public venues and banned public gatherings such as banquets.

China has resorted to its heavy, top-down approach each time new cases of local transmission are found — shutting down schools and hospitals, locking down residential communities and entire neighborhoods, and testing millions.

Tianjin authorities shut down a kindergarten and moved all the teachers, family and students to a centralized quarantine space. They also sealed the residential compound where the five cases were found.

China’s approach to controlling the pandemic has been criticized for being draconian. It locked down the city of Wuhan, where cases were first reported, for more than two months to contain the virus, with the local government shutting down all traffic and confining residents to their homes. Domestically, however, China has called its strategy “clear to zero” and has boasted of its success.

“In the entire world, only China has

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San Antonio among the worst cities for allergies, report says

A recent report from an air filter brand listed San Antonio as one of the worst cities in the country to live in for allergy sufferers.

In a report last week, Filterbuy ranked the Alamo City as the seventh-worst city for allergies out the top 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. On a 100-point scale in which a higher score will land a city among the worst, San Antonio received a score of 87.21.

Researchers ranked the cities based on three key factors: pollen counts, allergy medicine use, and the number of allergists in the area. In the report, the data also ranked which city had the worst allergy season during the spring and fall.


READ ALSO: Can this graphic help you determine if you have coronavirus, a cold or allergies?

According to the report, San Antonio is the fourth-worst city for allergies during the fall and the 12th-worst for spring.

Overall, the report listed Richmond, Virginia as the worst city in the country for people with allergies. Scranton, Pennsylvania followed in second, Springfield, Massachusetts claimed the third spot and Hartford, Connecticut was No. 4. McAllen in the Rio Grande Valley and New Haven, Connecticut, were No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.

Filterbuy used data from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s 2020 Allergy Capitals report, which also listed San Antonio as the seventh-worst city for allergies in March. Researchers also used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the report.

For more information on the report, visit filterbuy.com.

Priscilla Aguirre is a general assignment reporter for MySA.com | [email protected] | @CillaAguirre

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Virus pushes twin cities El Paso and Juarez to the brink

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A record surge in coronavirus cases is pushing hospitals to the brink in the border cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, confronting health officials in Texas and Mexico with twin disasters in the closely knit metropolitan area of 3 million people.

Health officials are blaming the spike on family gatherings, multiple generations living in the same household and younger people going out to shop or conduct business.

The crisis — part of a deadly comeback by the virus across nearly the entire U.S. — has created one of the most desperate hot spots in North America and underscored how intricately connected the two cities are economically, geographically and culturally, with lots of people routinely going back and forth across the border to shop or visit with family.

“We are like Siamese cities,” said Juarez resident Roberto Melgoza Ramos, whose son recovered from a bout of COVID-19 after taking a cocktail of homemade remedies and prescription drugs. “You can’t cut El Paso without cutting Juarez, and you can’t cut Juarez without cutting El Paso.”


In El Paso, authorities have instructed residents to stay home for two weeks and imposed a 10 p.m. curfew, and they are setting up dozens of hospital beds at a convention center. Also, the University Medical Center of El Paso erected heated isolation tents to treat coronavirus patients. As of Tuesday, Ryan Mielke, director of public affairs, said the hospital had 195 COVID-19 patients, compared with fewer than three dozen less than a month ago, and “it continues to grow by the day, by the hour.”

In Juarez, the Mexican government is sending mobile hospitals, ventilators and doctors, nurses and respiratory specialists. A hospital is being set up inside the gymnasium of the local university to help with the overflow.

Juarez has reported more than 12,000 infections and over 1,100 deaths, but the real numbers are believed to be far higher, because COVID-19 testing is extremely limited. El Paso County recorded about 1,400 new cases Tuesday, just short of the previous day’s record of 1,443. The county had 853 patients hospitalized for the virus on Monday, up from 786 a day earlier.

Last week, Chihuahua, which includes Juarez, became the only state in Mexico to return to its highest level health alert, or red, under which most nonessential services are shut down and people are encouraged to stay home.

A curfew is also in effect in Juarez, but it has proved difficult to enforce in the sprawling city that is home to hundreds of factories that manufacture appliances, auto parts and other products around the clock.

The U.S. and Mexico agreed months ago to restrict cross-border traffic to essential activity, but there has been little evidence Mexico has blocked anyone from entering. Other Mexican border cities have complained about people entering from U.S. cities that are suffering from virus outbreaks.

Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the city and county health authority in El Paso, said the heavily Latino city’s family-based culture has been a

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European Cities Plead for More Flu Shots as Winter Looms, Pandemic Rages | Top News

By Alicja Ptak, Emilio Parodi and Francois Murphy

WARSAW/MILAN/VIENNA (Reuters) – A surge in demand for vaccines to ward off the winter flu has led to shortages in some European cities, raising the risk of a potentially lethal “twindemic” as COVID-19 cases spike.

Many governments boosted vaccine orders this year and launched campaigns to encourage citizens to get shots.

The aim was to inoculate earlier than usual and cover a bigger portion of the continent’s 450 million population to reduce the burden on health services.

Top manufacturers such as GlaxoSmithKline

, Sanofi

, Abbott

and Seqirus have boosted supplies to the region by an average of 30% in anticipation of higher demand. But they are operating at full capacity and cannot meet all the late extra demand, Vaccines Europe, which represents the producers, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Interviews with at least 10 city and government officials, as well as medical experts, also show systems in major cities such as Warsaw are struggling with the strong early demand, causing delays and temporary shortages.

“This year, patients come all the time and ask about vaccines, more than 10 people every day,” said Grazyna Lenkowska-Mielniczuk, manager at Apteka Non Stop pharmacy in Warsaw’s Wola district.

“The wholesalers tell us the same thing as we tell patients: that there are no vaccines and we have to wait.”

Europe’s flu season begins in October and infections typically pick up between mid-November and the start of December, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Seasonal flu viruses cause between 4 and 50 million infections each year and up to 70,000 Europeans die each year of causes linked to flu, particularly among older adults and at-risk groups.

Precautionary measures to curb COVID-19 transmission such as social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing may help curb infections this season.

There was “very limited” flu transmission in the southern hemisphere this year for that reason, Sylvie Briand, director of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness at the World Health Organization said in a briefing last week.

Even so, surging coronavirus infections across the continent prompted EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to warn last month of the risk of a “twindemic of COVID-19 and the flu”.

Medical experts are urging more people get inoculated to prevent a deeper crisis.

“There is a need to prevent a double wave of influenza plus COVID-19,” said Clemens Wendtner, chief physician of infectiology and tropical medicine at the Munich Schwabing Clinic, who recommends people younger than 60 get the jab this year.

Poland’s Ministry of Health said it bought 3 million doses this year and will buy more if needed – as of Tuesday it had received 1.6 million shots.

But Mylan’s Influvac Tetra and Sanofi’s Vaxigrip Tetra vaccines are available in only 1% of pharmacies in Poland, according to gdziepolek.pl, a Polish website that helps patients find the nearest pharmacy with a drug they are seeking.

GSK’s Fluarix Tetra is not available and AstraZeneca’s

Fluenz Tetra is available

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The Latest: Curfew comes into force in French cities

PARIS — French restaurants, cinemas and theaters are trying to figure out how to survive a new curfew aimed at stemming the flow of record new virus infections.

France registered more than 30,000 virus cases Thursday, its highest single-day jump since the pandemic began, and nearly 200 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.

Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot told Le Parisien newspaper she is negotiating for exceptions to a monthlong curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. across the Paris region and eight other metropolitan areas. The curfew comes into effect Friday at midnight, and France is deploying 12,000 extra police to enforce it.

“The French culture world isn’t invincible, it needs help,” author and filmmaker Yoann Sfar, who has a new movie coming out, said Friday on RTL radio.

One movie theater chain will start opening at 8 a.m. in hopes of making up evening losses. Since Paris restaurants generally open at 7 or 7:30 p.m. for dinner, some might close altogether because it no longer makes financial sense to stay open for such a short shift.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Europe, U.S. reel as virus infections surge at record pace, prompt new restrictions

— White House puts political operatives at CDC to try to control virus information

— Thousands arrive in Hawaii on first day pre-travel testing allowing no quarantine

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— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

BUDAPEST, Hungary — The number of deaths in Hungary caused by the coronavirus hit a new record on Friday, for the second day in a row as the epidemic is gaining momentum.

Hungarian health authorities reported 33 deaths over the past 24 hours, up from 29 a day earlier. The total number of confirmed infections since the outbreak of the pandemic stood at 41,732, including 1,085 deaths. The number of patients needing hospital treatment was 1,642, of whom 171 were on ventilators.

The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has implemented less severe measures than in other neighboring countries during the second wave of the contagion.

Hungarians are required to wear masks on public transportation, shops, malls and entertainment venues, as well state-run health care institutions. Restaurants and clubs close at 11 pm and visitors are banned from hospitals and nursing homes. Policy makers have repeatedly stressed that shielding the economy from the fallout caused by the pandemic is a critical priority for the government.

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GENEVA — Europe is at a “turning point” in the fight against the coronavirus, the head of Switzerland’s biggest hospital complex says, acknowledging growing public fatigue over anti-COVID measures but insisting people must buckle down as the country grapples with record daily case counts.

CEO Bertrand Levrat of Geneva University Hospitals, which counts 12,000 personnel, spoke to The Associated Press at a time when Switzerland — like many other European countries — is fighting a second wave of coronavirus cases that grew in large part out of a

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