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Britain Grants China’s Huawei Limited Role in 5G Network Rollout

Britain will allow China’s Huawei Technologies Co. to help build the country’s next-generation cellular network, dealing a blow to a U.S. campaign to launch a worldwide boycott of the telecom equipment giant.The British government said Tuesday it would permit Huawei to build less critical parts of the country’s new high-speed 5G wireless network.The U.S. has campaigned against Huawei for more than a year, noting concerns about national security and the Chinese firm’s relations with the country’s Communist Party. On Tuesday, the White House said U.S. President Donald Trump discussed “critical regional and bilateral issues, including telecommunications security,” during a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.”The United States is disappointed by the U.K.’s decision,” said a senior Trump administration official Tuesday. “There is no safe option for untrusted vendors to control any part of a 5G network.”The U.S. official said the U.S. is willing to work with Britain to exclude “untrusted vendor components from 5G networks.”Mobile network phone masts are visible in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London, Jan. 28, 2020. The Chinese tech firm Huawei will be given the opportunity to build non-core elements of Britain’s 5G network, the government announced.Without mentioning any companies, Britain said it would exclude “high-risk” companies from providing “core” components of the new network. It also said it would permit high-risk suppliers to supply up to 35-percent of the new network’s less risky parts of its infrastructure.Britain’s announcement comes a day before U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to meet in London with Johnson. The announcement puts Johnson in an awkward position, as he needs the Trump administration to quickly reach a trade agreement after Brexit.The 5G rollout is particularly critical for Britain, as it leaves the European Union with hopes of positioning its economy as a beneficiary of technological innovation.  U.S. officials have also voiced frustration with decisions by some European nations to grant Huawei some access in the rollout of their 5G network.Under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, the U.S. defense secretary should brief Congressional defense committees by March 15 on the implementation of plans for fifth-generation information and communications technologies, including steps to work with U.S. allies and partners to protect critical networks and supply chains.VOA’s Steve Herman contributed to this report.

Australia Increases Border, Biosecurity Measures as Coronavirus Cases Spread

At least five people in Australia have tested positive for the coronavirus.  The latest is a young Chinese student diagnosed in Sydney.  Australia is increasing its border and biosecurity measures. Medical authorities are warning it is likely there will be more confirmed cases in Australia of the potentially deadly coronavirus.  School children in New South Wales state have been told to stay away from class for two weeks if they have been in contact with a confirmed case of the disease.  Symptoms of the virus include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing.Children, wearing face masks, wait for their mother after arriving in Sydney, Jan. 23, 2020, from a flight from Wuhan, China.The coronavirus causes severe respiratory infection and there is no cure or vaccine.  Most of the deaths have been of those with pre-existing respiratory problems, or the elderly.Doctors in Australia are being urged to wear protective face masks when seeing patients who potentially carry the coronavirus.  It is thought to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the capital of  Hubei province.Australia’s chief health officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, says, “We are starting to look at people who have come from parts of China other than Hubei as potentially at risk, although our focus still remains on that Hubei province of China, which is the epicenter and which is the only place where human to human transmission has been identified,” said Professor Brendan Murphy, Australia’s chief health officer.FILE – Tourists take photographs with their mobile phones in front of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, in Sydney, Australia, Oct. 13, 2018.Australia is also bracing for a slump in visitors from China, its biggest international tourist market, because of restrictions put in place to try to stop the spread of the disease.  The Australian government does not know how many of its citizens are caught in the vast quarantine lock-down area imposed by authorities in China.  Reports have suggested that 100 Australians, including children, could be unable to leave.Coronavirus cases have also been confirmed in several countries including Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Canada.

Thai Tourism Industry on Alert to Stop Spread of Coronavirus

Thailand has announced the 10th case of the coronavirus as government authorities say the outbreak is still under control. Meanwhile, Asian airlines such as Chinese Eastern Airline are still taking passengers home to China’s epicenter in Wuhan, despite a ban on outgoing flights from the epicenter. Steve Sandford speaks to Asian tourism workers and government officials about the evolving crisis in southern Thailand in the midst of celebrations of the Chinese New Year. 

Death Toll in China Coronavirus Outbreak Now Over 100

The United States, Japan and other countries are sending planes to evacuate their citizens out of the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak that has now killed 106 people.Japan is sending a chartered jet to Wuhan Tuesday to evacuate about 200 of the 650 Japanese nationals in the city.  The United States is preparing to fly staff from its consulate in Wuhan, along with some American citizens, sometime this week.  France and other nations have also announced plans to evacuate their citizens out of Wuhan.  Chinese health authorities announced an additional 25 deaths on Tuesday, including the first fatality reported in the capital city of Beijing.  The total number of confirmed cases in China now stands at well over 4,500.  Authorities have imposed a virtual quarantine on Wuhan, banning people from traveling in and out of the city, while several other cities in Hubei province are facing heavy restrictions on movement.  Authorities in Wuhan are racing to complete two new field hospitals to treat the growing number of patients.  Cases have also been reported in Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Nepal, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. The World Health Organization says most of those are people who had a travel history in Wuhan, with several others having contact with someone who traveled there.There have been no reported deaths linked to the virus outside of China.Students line up to sanitize their hands to avoid the contact of coronavirus before their morning class at a hight school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.U.S. President Donald Trump has offered China any help needed to combat the deadly coronavirus.  In a Monday tweet, Trump said, “We are in very close communication with China concerning the virus,” adding, “We have offered China and President Xi (Jinping) any help that is necessary. Our experts are extraordinary!”Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the city of Wuhan on Monday to meet with health officials and examine the response to the outbreak.  The head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, arrived Monday in Beijing, where he is expected to meet senior Chinese officials to discuss the outbreak. The agency said there is still a chance to get ahead of the virus if there is strong cooperation.Separately, in an effort to stop the virus from spreading, Mongolia closed its vast border with China, while Hong Kong and Malaysia announced they would ban entry to visitors from Wuhan.Global stock markets plunged Monday as investors feared the economic impact from the coronavirus.The virus hit China just as it was beginning celebrations to mark the Lunar New Year, resulting in the canceling or the scaling back of festivities for tens of millions of Chinese.Chinese officials took an extra step Sunday to extend the Lunar New Year holiday three extra days to cut down on group gatherings.Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wearing a mask talks with staff members as he visits the construction site where the new hospital is being built to treat patients of a new coronavirus, on the outskirts of Wuhan, China, January 27, 2020.The head of the respiratory disease office at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nancy Messonnier, said Sunday there were five confirmed cases in the United States, and that all five people had direct contact with others in Wuhan.The patients are isolated in hospitals as doctors and health officials try to learn more about the virus. The CDC says it is investigating about 100 suspected cases in 26 states.Chinese National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei said Sunday little is known about the virus. But doctors do know it has an incubation period that can range from one to 14 days. Ma said the virus is infectious during the incubation period, when no signs or symptoms of the disease are present.President Xi Jinping said China is facing a “grave situation” and experts and other resources would be concentrated at specific hospitals to treat severe cases.The virus is believed to have emerged late last year at a Wuhan seafood market illegally selling wildlife. Chinese authorities have imposed a temporary ban on the selling of wildlife.Tourist destinations are closed and school closings have been extended in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Public transportation has been severely restricted. Many businesses have closed or asked employees to work from home.The WHO recommends several steps to help protect people against acute respiratory infections. They include avoiding close contact with those already infected, frequent hand-washing and avoiding unprotected contact with farm animals and wild animals.

With Equal Care, African American and White Men Have Same Prostate Cancer Survival

When it comes to prostate cancer, African American men have similar survival rates to white counterparts if they have equal access to health care, a new study suggests.Earlier research has found African Americans are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as whites, and the reasons may include diagnosis when the disease is more advanced as well as differences in medical care.But the new study, which followed more than 60,000 men with prostate cancer getting care from the U.S. Veterans Administration Health System, found African American men did not have more advanced disease at diagnosis and did not die earlier than white men, researchers reported in Cancer.”Throughout the U.S. population, African Americans usually have worse outcomes with prostate cancer,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Brent Rose of the University of California, San Diego. “The hypothesis has been that the disease is just biologically more aggressive in African American men.””Our study suggests that is not a foregone conclusion,” Rose said. “There’s something about the way the VA medical system reduces disparities seen in normal health care that suggests that equal outcomes could be created with smart policy decisions.”That doesn’t mean there are no biological differences between blacks and whites when it comes to prostate cancer, Rose said. “African Americans are more likely to get prostate cancer than whites: one in eight versus one in twelve. And they tend to get it three to four years younger for reasons we have no idea about.”Nevertheless, Rose said, when African Americans get good access to care and prompt treatment, disparities in survival disappear.Details of studyTo determine whether access to health care might play a role in the disparity in survival between blacks and whites, Rose and his team analyzed information on more than 20 million veterans who receive care through the San Diego VA’s health care system.They focused on 60,035 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2000 and 2015, 30.3% of whom were African American and 69.7% were non-Hispanic white. Half of the men were followed for nearly six years, and some were followed for as long as 10 years.Overall, there were 3,067 deaths from prostate cancer in the group, 848 among African American men and 2,219 in non-Hispanic white men.Contrary to the situation in the general population, African American men in the VA were not diagnosed with later-stage cancer than their white counterparts, although they did get diagnosed at a younger average age: 63 versus 66 years old.The rate of prostate cancer death over a 10-year span among black men was slightly lower than the rate among whites: 4.4% versus 5.1%.Issue of diagnosisThe new results are very good news, said Dr. Ashutosh Tewari, chairman of urology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “When you find the cancer at the same stage, you can have the same survival outcome,” Tewari said. “This is important news.”Nevertheless, it doesn’t solve the problem in the general population, Tewari said. “Many more African Americans are still dying from prostate cancer,” he said.Researchers need to find a way to diagnose prostate cancer earlier in African American men in the general population, Tewari said.

Countries Evacuating Nationals From China Virus Areas

Countries around the world are planning to evacuate diplomatic staff and private citizens from Chinese areas hit by the new coronavirus, which is spreading quickly.Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in the Chinese province of Hubei, is the epicentre of the outbreak. Wuhan is in virtual lockdown and much of Hubei, home to nearly 60 million people, is
under some kind of travel curb.
Following are some countries’ evacuation plans, and how they are planning to manage the health risk from those who are returning.
* France expects to repatriate up to a few hundred of its 800 citizens living in the Wuhan area. Evacuees will have to spend 14 days in quarantine to avoid spreading the virus in France.
* Japan is expected to arrange charter flights as early as Tuesday for any of its citizens who wish to return from Wuhan, two sources familiar with the matter said. Foreign Minister
Toshimitsu Motegi said about 430 Japanese nationals have been confirmed to be in Hubei province.
* Spain’s government is working with China and the European Union to repatriate Spanish nationals from the Wuhan area, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said.
* The U.S. State Department said it will evacuate personnel from its Wuhan consulate to the United States and will offer a limited number of seats to private U.S. citizens on a flight.
Some private citizens will be able to board the “single flight” leaving Wuhan on Jan. 28 bound for San Francisco, it said.
* Britain is talking to international partners to find solutions to help British and other foreign nationals leave Wuhan, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
* Russia has been in talks with China about evacuating its nationals from Wuhan and Hubei province, Russia’s Embassy in China said.
* The Dutch government is assessing ways to evacuate 20 Dutch citizens from Wuhan, press agency ANP reported.
* Authorities in Myanmar said they had cancelled a planned evacuation of 60 students from Mandalay who were studying in Wuhan. Kyaw Yin Myint, a spokesman for the Mandalay municipal government, told Reuters that a “final decision” had been made to send them back after 14 days, once the virus’ incubation period had passed.

Countries Evaluate Evacuation of Citizens in Virus Epicenter

Countries with citizens in the central Chinese city that’s the epicenter of a viral outbreak are planning evacuations as the number of illnesses grow and China takes drastic measures to try to stop the spread of the virus.A look at steps being taken:
— CHINA: The government cut transportation links to and from the city of Wuhan on Jan. 22 and has since expanded those controls to several nearby cities. Anyone traveling from Wuhan is required to register and quarantine themselves for 14 days — the virus’ maximum incubation period. Hong Kong barred entry to travelers from Hubei province and told Hong Kong residents returning from the area to quarantine themselves at home.FILE – Pedestrians wear protective masks in Tokyo, Jan. 16, 2020.— JAPAN: Chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said 560 Japanese citizens are confirmed in Hubei and chartered evacuation flights are being prepared to leave “as soon as possible.”
The Japanese Embassy in Beijing said the initial evacuation is limited to those in Wuhan. Evacuees are expected to include employees of Honda Motor Co., Tokyo Electron, Aeon Co. and other Japanese companies operating in Wuhan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his Cabinet will designate the new coronavirus as an infectious disease subject to forced hospitalization and isolation. Such preventative measures appear to be preparation for the evacuation.
— UNITED STATES: The U.S. Consulate in Wuhan plans a charter flight Tuesday to evacuate its personnel and some other Americans. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said the limited capacity on the flight to San Francisco meant priority will be given to to individuals at greater risk from coronavirus.”
— FRANCE: Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said French citizens who want to leave Wuhan will be taken on a direct flight to France in the middle of the week, and then held in quarantine for 14 days. French automaker PSA, which produces Peugeot and Citroen cars, said it was evacuating its expatriate employees and their families from Wuhan and quarantining them in another city. It didn’t elaborate.
— SRI LANKA: The embassy in Beijing has applied for a Sri Lankan Airlines plan to be allowed to land at the Wuhan airport to airlift home 32 Sri Lankan students and their family members. The Foreign Ministry also said it was working to bring back all other Sri Lankan students throughout China. About 860 Sri Lankan students are in China.
— AUSTRALIA: Foreign Minister Marise Payne said her government is “exploring all opportunities” to help with evacuation of a number of Australians reportedly in Wuhan. She didn’t elaborate. Australia doesn’t have a consular presence in Wuhan.
— GERMANY: Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that his country is considering evacuating its citizens from Wuhan, with a government crisis response committee meeting soon with medical experts to evaluate the situation. He said the number of German citizens in Wuhan is in the double digits. The Foreign Ministry currently advises Germans to refrain from or postpone “non-essential travel” to China.
— THAILAND: Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said his country’s Defense Ministry was ready to evacuate its citizens from affected areas in China, but hadn’t yet received permission from the Chinese government. The Thai Foreign Ministry, which is handling the issue, announced that there are 64 Thais in Wuhan, and 18 others elsewhere in Hubei province.  

Expert: Second-Generation Coronavirus Could be More Deadly

An expert in China warns that the new strain of virus originating from the Chinese city of Wuhan could be gaining strength and increasing its ability to transfer from one person to another. The coronavirus that is causing respiratory problems similar to pneumonia has sickened close to 3,000 people worldwide and killed at least 56 in China, prompting governments to come up with measures to protect their citizens. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports.