每日新闻播报(April 16)

Technicians conduct sample tests at a "Huo-Yan laboratory" established by genomics sequencing company BGI Group in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, on Feb 6, 2020. [Photo/Asia News Photo]

>Vaccines in clinical trials

China has approved three vaccines, two inactivated and one vector, for clinical trials in China against COVID-19, officials from the Ministry of Science and Technology said on Tuesday.

The vector vaccine has begun phase two of clinical trials, while the inactivated ones have entered phase one.

The adenovirus vector vaccine, spearheaded by noted preventive medicine expert Chen Wei, is the world's first vaccine against COVID-19 to enter the second phase of clinical trials, said Wu Yuan’bin, director of the ministry's bureau for social development.

By the end of March, health workers had finished administering the vector vaccine to volunteers during its phase one trial. It began recruiting volunteers for the next phase on April 9, Wu said.


A notice is seen on the window of a Forever 21 shop on Oxford Street as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in London, Britain, April 15, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

>Global economy contracts sharply

The global economy is on track to contract "sharply" by 3% in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, much worse than during the 2008-09 financial crisis, according to a World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday.

"The world has changed dramatically in the three months since our last update of World Economic Outlook in January," IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said at a virtual press conference, noting that the latest projection is 6.3 percentage points lower than the previous estimation.

Calling it the "deepest recession" since the Great Depression of the 1930s, Gopinath said the cumulative global output loss across 2020 and 2021 is expected to reach about $9 trillion, greater than the economies of Japan and Germany combined.


US President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus task force briefing in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, US, April 15, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

>Trump halts funding to WHO

US President Donald Trump announced Tuesday a suspension of US funding to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Trump said at a news conference in the White House Rose Garden that his administration is withholding the US contribution of $400 million to WHO and will conduct a review of the global organization's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns about whether America's generosity has been put to the best use possible," Trump told reporters, also claiming that "WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet, and share information in a timely and transparent fashion."

The announcement came as Trump is aggressively defending his own handling of the COVID-19 crisis after his administration has been increasingly scrutinized for downplaying the threat from the coronavirus early on and is being faulted for delays in testing.


An employee readies a bed at a homestay in Chongqing on Jan 30. [Photo/Xinhua]

>Hotel industry to pick up

Business for China's hotel industry is starting to pick up, as the COVID-19 pandemic has been brought under control to a situation of stability in the country.

Hotel reservations in China from March 30 to April 6 increased by 24% week-on-week. Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hangzhou saw the most bookings; while Zhengzhou, Chongqing and Hangzhou registered the fastest growth, according to data from the online travel service platform Qunar.

First quarter data this year revealed the country's average price of a hotel room amounted to 374 yuan per night in January, 306 yuan in February, and 255 yuan in March.

The number of people choosing star-rated hotels with better service and higher safety standards showed a V shape in the first quarter.

In February, hotels of four stars or above were hit by an 87% plunge in guests, while the number of guests in March was 2.16 times higher than the previous month thanks to the market recovery.

Gou Zhipeng, vice-president of Qunar, said that many "price-sensitive" consumers are becoming "safety-sensitive" because of the disease, and safety has become the top concern for travelers.


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