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每日新闻播报(December 21)

chinadaily.com.cn 2021-12-21 17:02


>Localized rules urged for Spring Festival travel

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a woman for COVID-19 nucleic acid test in Dalian, a port city in Northeast China's Liaoning province on Nov 14, 2021. [Photo/IC]

Travel policies for the Spring Festival holiday, which begins on Jan 31, should be devised in accord with COVID-19 risk appraisals in different regions and groups, health officials said on Saturday. "Whether it is necessary for people to stay put during the Spring Festival holiday should be based on risk evaluations and should not be uniform across the country," Liang Wannian, a member of the National Health Commission's expert panel, said during a news briefing.

Liang said increased movement during the Spring Festival travel rush, coupled with diminished resistance against respiratory diseases during winter, will lead to a heightened risk of the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious illnesses. However, China also has several advantages, such as its prompt control of local outbreaks and high rates of COVID-19 vaccination.


>HKSAR's 7th-term LegCo elected

Voters wait to cast ballot at a polling station in Whampoa, Hong Kong, Dec 19, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

All the 90 members of the seventh-term Legislative Council of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have been elected as of Monday morning.

The members were elected by the Election Committee constituency (40 seats), functional constituencies (30 seats), and geographical constituencies (20 seats) after over 1.3 million people voted on Sunday.

The Chief Executive in Council, in accordance with the Legislative Council Ordinance, has specified Jan 1, 2022 as the commencement date of the seventh-term LegCo of the HKSAR. The term of office of the LegCo is four years.


>University unveils microbial gene catalog


A team from Fudan University in Shanghai has launched the world's most comprehensive global microbial gene catalog - a database containing 303 million unigenes that will help researchers better understand the relationship between microorganisms and human health.

A paper about the catalog, "Towards the Biogeography of Prokaryotic Genes", was published in the science journal Nature on Thursday.

To collect all the genes in the global microbiome to create the catalog, a team from Fudan's Institute of Science and Technology for Brain-Inspired Intelligence - Luis Pedro Coelho, Zhao Xingming and Peer Bork created the database based on 13,000 pieces of publicly available data.

The researchers said microbiome research is normally carried out according to different habitats such as human microorganisms and marine microorganisms, but the catalog can analyze microbial metagenomes in different habitats on a global scale.


>Omicron found to grow 70 times faster than Delta

A medical worker treats COVID-19 patients in an ICU of the University Emergency Hospital in Bucharest, Romania, Nov 4, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Omicron COVID variant has been found to multiply about 70 times quicker than the original and Delta versions of coronavirus in tissue samples taken from the bronchus, the main tubes from the windpipe to the lungs, in laboratory experiments that could help explain its rapid transmission.

The study, by a team from the University of Hong Kong, also found the new variant grew 10 times slower in lung tissue, which the authors said could be an indicator of lower disease severity.

Michael Chan Chi-wai, who led the work, said the result needed to be interpreted with caution because severe disease is determined not only by how quickly the virus replicates but also by a person’s immune response and, in particular, whether the immune system goes into overdrive, causing a so-called cytokine storm.


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