>Top legislature sets goals
China's top legislature said Monday it will prioritize legislation on public health this year. In its annual work report, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) said it plans to revise the Wildlife Protection Law, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law, and the Emergency Response Law. The report was delivered by Li Zhanshu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, to the ongoing third session of the 13th NPC for deliberations.
China currently has over 30 laws on public health, which have generally withstood the test of the COVID-19 epidemic and played a positive role, said Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the third session of the 13th NPC, at a press conference last week. Zhang, however, noted that there are still some weak links and shortcomings in the legal framework, and the NPC Standing Committee will further strengthen China's public health legislation.
>Virus testing going mobile
A vehicle-mounted coronavirus detection lab that is expected to enter service in July will speed up testing and avoid potential infections from manual sampling, a deputy to the National People's Congress said in a recent media interview.
Cheng Jing, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said his scientific research group developed a new chip that can test for common respiratory pathogens within 50 minutes.
The chips can be used in vehicles, which is important for border ports and communities.
The enclosed transparent chip is a lightweight disk with a diameter of less than 10 centimeters.
It is China's first fully integrated rapid detection chip for coronavirus tests, Cheng said.
Once samples are put in, the chip is sealed off to complete the necessary biochemical reactions automatically. It poses no safety risks to people, Cheng said.
Part of the vehicle-mounted lab has been completed, with the rest to follow by the end of June, including a robot that can take samples using oral and nasal swabs.
>US blacklists Chinese firms
The US government's decision to add 33 Chinese technology companies and institutions to its "Entity List" will impede international technology cooperation, experts said.
The US Department of Commerce placed the companies and institutions, including cybersecurity company Qi'hoo 360 Technology, artificial intelligence startup Cloud-Walk Technology, and Beijing Computational Science Research Center, on a list barring them from buying components from US companies without government approval.
Raymond Wang, a partner at consultancy Roland Berger, said the new blacklist shows that the US government is introducing a wider attack on Chinese technology companies and institutions, which may lead to the decoupling of Chinese and US technologies.
"On one hand, China is the biggest market for US technology providers; on the other hand, China also has leading technologies that the US needs. So decoupling does no good to the two countries, as well as to the rest of the world," Wang said.
Only cooperation and competition in a fair market can bring the best to people around the world, he said.
>Japan lifts state of emergency
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday declared an end to the state of emergency imposed to control the novel coronavirus outbreak in the greater Tokyo area and Hokkaido.
With the decision covering Tokyo, the prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama, as well as Hokkaido in the north, Japan has now lifted the emergency imposed across the whole country, allowing citizens to go out freely and businesses to resume operations.
"We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met those criteria," Abe said.
However, the prime minister also called for people to alter their lifestyles by wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing and trying to work from home.
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