China orders regular coronavirus tests at wholesale markets

Areas and objects at the markets that should be tested for the coronavirus include knives used at major stands, workers’ clothes surface, freezers, meats and seafood, sewage, restrooms, garbage trucks, and offices, according to the NHC notice. (File/AFP)
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Updated 30 July 2020

China orders regular coronavirus tests at wholesale markets

  • China’s National Health Commission urged local authorities to strengthen monitoring for the coronavirus at major wholesale markets
  • The guideline come after China’s capital city Beijing reported in early June a cluster of coronavirus infections

BEIJING: China asked local authorities to carry out regular coronavirus tests at wholesale markets, the country’s health authority said on Thursday, part of an all-out effort to control the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.
China’s National Health Commission (NHC) has urged local authorities to strengthen monitoring for the coronavirus at major wholesale markets that can cover extensive neighboring areas, especially those with stands selling frozen and refrigerated meats and seafood, or with moist and closed spaces, according to a notice published on the commission’s website.
The guideline come after China’s capital city Beijing reported in early June a cluster of coronavirus infections that centered around a major wholesale market.
Local working groups in charge of coronavirus control and prevention must collect samples from major wholesale markets, especially those selling meats and seafood, once every week for coronavirus tests. However, smaller wholesale markets can do testing once a month.
Areas and objects at the markets that should be tested for the coronavirus include knives used at major stands, workers’ clothes surface, freezers, meats and seafood, sewage, restrooms, garbage trucks, and offices, according to the NHC notice.
China has already started COVID-19 testing on imported meats and seafood, and at domestic meat processors. It has also banned shipments from a list of meat processing plants overseas.


Sri Lankan leader appoints Cabinet, state ministers

Updated 13 August 2020

Sri Lankan leader appoints Cabinet, state ministers

  • Spotlight on economy, security as 67 officials take oath in palace ceremony

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa administered the oath of office to 28 new Cabinet ministers and 39 state ministers on Wednesday during a swearing-in ceremony at the Kandy Royal Palace, a week after the Aug. 5 general elections.

“The Cabinet has been formed in a pragmatic and a realistic manner to implement the national program. Special attention was paid to national security, economic development, infrastructure, education, health and sports,” a Presidential Secretariat statement said.

While President Rajapaksa retained the defense portfolio, his brother, Namal Rajapaksa — the 34-year-old son of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa — was named minister for youth and sports.

Several senior politicians, including former president Maithripala Sirisena, were left out of the new Cabinet.

The ninth parliament is set to meet on Aug. 20.

Only two members from minority communities, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and Justice Minister Ali Sabry, were appointed from the Tamil and Muslim communities, respectively.

“I’m delighted to get this portfolio in recognition of my services to the nation, particularly to the legal field,” Sabry said.

He is the second Muslim justice minister to assume office after Rauff Hakeem of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party, led by PM Rajapaksa, polled 6,853,690, or 59 percent of votes, and secured a total of 145 seats in parliament, including 17 of the National List seats.

Sabry said government efforts to limit the coronavirus pandemic had “impressed the nation enough to vote them into power.”

Lawyer Razik Zarook said: “It’s a great victory for the Muslim community. The era of mistrust and suspicion is over, and the foundation is laid to build the bridges of friendship and amity.”

However, international political lobbyist Muheed Jeeran told Arab News that though the Cabinet is promising, it is “full of confusion.”

“Sabry’s appointment has disappointed the nationalist group who want to implement one nation, one law,” he said.

“But it is a joyful moment for Muslims who supported the SLPP. However, it will be difficult for Sabry as justice minister. Will he become the wooden handle of the axe to chop the tree of traditional Muslim laws as per the nationalist agenda, or will he stand for Muslim rights?”