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chinadaily.com.cn 2021-12-06 16:29


>China sticks to its epidemic response strategy

A staff member helps a resident to present personal health information at a testing site in Manzhouli, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Nov 29, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

A health official has emphasized the importance of committing to the current strategy in China to clear COVID-19 infections in a timely manner as highly contagious variants of the virus continue to rage around the world. Since mid-October, the latest COVID-19 resurgence in China has spread to more than 20 provincial-level regions. Most regions managed to contain the outbreak within an incubation period of about 14 days, said Ma Xiaowei, head of the National Health Commission, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"We have been thinking, especially during the process of coping with the spread of the Delta variant, how to control the epidemic with more effective measures, lower costs and at faster speeds, to minimize its impact on economic and social development and people's lives," Ma said.

Aiming to contain an outbreak within the incubation period, related agencies have been making full use of the "golden period," the first 24 hours of a discovered case, to find those who were in close contact, isolate potentially infected individuals before the virus spreads, or before the infected person can transmit the virus, Ma said.

He hailed the strategy as an essential procedure for China's fight against COVID-19.


>Greece to fine over-60s who refuse vaccine

Greece will be the first country in the EU to target a specific age group. Photo: AFP

Greece is to make Covid vaccinations mandatory for people aged 60 and over.

Fines of €100 will be imposed at monthly intervals from mid-January on those who refuse, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

The money will go toward the Greek health system, which is struggling with a surge in hospital admissions.

About 63% of Greece's 11 million population is fully vaccinated, but data show more than 520,000 people over 60 are yet to get the jab.

While countries have made vaccines mandatory for health workers and other high-risk workers, Greece will become the first in the EU to target a specific age group.

The virus has claimed more than 18,000 lives in Greece.


>Plans unveiled for '10-minute city' in Seoul

Credit: Courtesy WAX & Virgin Lemon

The idea of a "15-minute city," in which all residents can reach work and leisure facilities within a quarter-hour walk -- or cycle -- of their homes, has gained significant traction among urban planners during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, a group of architects is planning an even more ambitious neighborhood in South Korea's capital, Seoul: a 10-minute city.

Dubbed "Project H1," the development is set to transform an old industrial site into an interconnected "smart" city.

Combining eight residential buildings with co-working offices and study spaces, the 125-acre district is also set to house entertainment venues, fitness centers, swimming pools and even hydroponic urban farms.

Designed by Dutch architecture firm UNStudio and backed by Hyundai Development Company, the neighborhood will also be completely car-free.

A press release for the project claimed that "all the conveniences of the city" will be within a 10-minute walk of people's homes.

The architects also said that clean energy will be generated on site, while systems to capture and store rain are being designed to reduce water use.


>Merriam Webster's 2021 word of the year

A nurse prepares a dose of the of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during the vaccination campaign at the Ridge Hospital in Accra, Ghana, March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko

"Vaccine" is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year.

The word was selected based on lookup data, notable spikes, and year-over-year increases in searches.

On the site, lookups for "vaccine" shot up 601% over 2020, especially toward the latter part of the year, when the first US shot was administered in December.

There was a 1,048% increase in site lookups this year compared to 2019.

And searches have remained stable through late fall, especially with talk about the Omicron variant and the efficacy of vaccines in stopping it.

"This is a word that has kind of two parallel but intersecting stories: one is a medical story, and one is a political story or a cultural story," said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster's editor-at-large.


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