>E-tickets for normal-speed trains
Passengers traveling on normal-speed trains will be able to purchase e-tickets for their journeys starting on Saturday, with over 1,300 railway stations included in the new arrangement, China's railway operator said Wednesday.
Normally limited to high-speed, inter-city trains, e-tickets are now being made available for travel on normal-speed trains, bringing the total number of railway stations using e-tickets to more than 2,400, according to the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. More than 95% of railway passengers across the country will benefit from the move.
Passengers using the e-ticket system will be able to pass ticket checks with their ID cards and facial recognition instead of collecting tickets at the stations.
The system also reduces waiting time and eliminates the risk of losing tickets or being sold fake tickets.
>Genetically modified mosquitoes
A British biotech company called Oxitec has permission to release genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida and Texas.
Oxitec claims its Aedes aegypti mosquito can drastically reduce the spread of Zika, as well as dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
The male mosquito with a special gene prevents female offspring from surviving to adulthood.
The new males grow up, mate with more females and over time the number of Aedes Aegypti declines.
In Brazil, which suffered a Zika outbreak in 2015 and 2016, the company claims its "friendly" mosquitoes reduced the population of Aedes Aegypti by 89% to 96%.
>Beijing bolsters testing capacity
The demand and capacity for nucleic acid testing in Beijing have surged while the capital has reported newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases for seven consecutive days as of Wednesday.
Since Saturday, Beijing has given 356,000 residents nucleic acid tests, Zhang Qiang, a member of the city's epidemic-control office who oversees nucleic acid testing, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
They are high-risk people linked to local markets and confirmed cases, including those at Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market, residents near the market and people who had contact with COVID-19 patients, Zhang added.
To conduct extensive COVID-19 screening, Beijing had increased its daily testing capacity to over 90,000 samples as of Saturday, with 98 institutions across the city designated for this task, according to the Beijing Health Commission.
According to Zhang, these institutions can collect 400,000 samples for testing each day, and this capacity will increase over the next few days.
>New outbreak at slaughterhouse
Regional officials in western Germany said Wednesday that the number of new COVID-19 cases linked to a large meatpacking plant has risen to 657.
Health officials in Guetersloh said they have received a total of 983 test results from workers at the Toennies slaughterhouse. Of those, 326 tests were negative.
The infection rate in the country declined sharply after authorities imposed nationwide social distancing rules in March and the daily case increase has averaged between 300-400 in June.
The company said the outbreak at the slaughterhouse may have been linked to workers taking the opportunity to visit their families in eastern European countries as border controls were relaxed.
Local officials ordered the closure of the slaughterhouse, as well as isolation and tests for everyone else who had worked at the Toennies site - putting about 7,000 people under quarantine.
They also decided to close schools and child care centers across the county from Thursday.
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