How convenient when a bureaucratic body has the power to switch COVID standards at the drop of a hat in order to allow it to continue moving forward and not shut down as the rest of us have been forced to do. COVID Standards around testing and quarantine rules are going from asinine and impossible to achieve to almost gone in the blink of an eye. Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week he was doing away with all COVID precautions from vaccine mandates to mask wearing, and instead, would rely on the judgement of its citizens to protect themselves.
Now, the Beijing Olympics organizers and Chinese authorities are lowering the threshold for athletes to participate in the upcoming games. Likely, they realize that just like all other aspects of the world, the mandates and expectations are shutting down businesses and industries left and right.
Specifically, China has lowered the threshold for producing a negative COVID-19 test for participants as they arrive for the Winter Games which will begin next week on February 4th. In a statement, organizers said:
“In order to adapt to the reality of the current environment and further support of Games participants, Beijing 2022 and the Chinese authorities, in consultation with medical experts and IOC, refined countermeasures with the following changes effective 23 January 2022.”
The concern was that athletes could test negative in their home countries after recovering from COVID-19 but still test positive upon their arrival in China, reported the Wall Street Journal. That’s because their testing standards were “tougher than those used by many sports leagues in the U.S. and Europe.”
The CBC reports the communication was sent out by Beijing 2022 on Sunday explaining it was dropping the cycle threshold (Ct) value from 40 to 35. Anyone with a PCR result of less than 35 will be considered positive. The higher the Ct value, the less infectious a person with COVID-19 is. The CBC also reports:
Further changes include that if a positive participant spends 10 days or more in isolation, then that person will be released to their Games time accommodation if they are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms and if their PCR results have a Ct value greater than or equal to 35 for the past three consecutive days.
Another change is reducing the time in which a person is deemed a close contact, dropping from two weeks to seven days.
“During that period, testing will be carried out twice daily. The close contact will be able to choose whether their PCR test sample is collected as a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab,” the communication explained.
All of these changes will be applied immediately and will also apply retrospectively.
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Human Infection of H3N8 Bird Flu Reported in China
Will it ever end? On Tuesday this week China’s health authority recorded its first human infection of the H3N8 strain of avian influenza. The variant was identified in a 4-year-old boy from Henan province.
According to a statement from the National Health Commission (NHC) the child raises chickens and crows in his home city of Zhumadian. On April 5 he showed fever and other symptoms, then was admitted to a medical institution five days later for treatment.
The statement indicated while it has been found in horses, dogs, birds and seals around the world, no human cases have ever been reported. Fox News reports the commission “warned the public to avoid contact with sick and dead poultry, as well as live poultry, and pay attention to hygiene.”
In March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses had been detected in 13 states among commercial and backyard poultry, as well as in wild birds of 14 states.
Fortunately, the agency said H5N1 bird flu poses a low risk to the public.
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