GBA Briefs: 5/18/2020

Testing surges: As of a week ago (May 11), Guangdong had conducted 10.41 million coronavirus nucleic acid tests. That compares to the UK, which has had 2 million tests done so far, and the US, which was had 9.72 million tests done so far. SCN.

Hamsters proof: Hong Kong scientists conducting research on hamsters have offered the first proof of what many residents have believed all along – that wearing surgical masks can significantly reduce the rate of airborne Covid-19 transmission. SCMP.

HK stays cautious: Hong Kong is expected to keep in place most social-distancing measures, including limiting public gatherings to eight people, for another two weeks given the risk posed by a cluster of local coronavirus infections from unknown sources. But authorities may allow some minor rule relaxations, such as larger gatherings for religious purposes or karaoke lounges to reopen, provided enough precautions are taken. Schools would also resume classes in phases beginning next week as scheduled. SCMP.

Museums ramp up: Guangdong’s cultural attractions are gradually ramping up again, after being closed in recent months due to the coronavirus outbreak. Museums are among the most popular, with data from last year showing the province’s 338 museums attracted more than 75 million visitors. SCN.

Guangzhou prepares: Guangzhou, home to the country’s leading epidemiologist, Zhong Nanshan, is undertaking a series of major reforms to its healthcare and related systems. These include elevating the role of the Centers for Disease Control, fortifying the supply chain for medical equipment, strengthening the legal system related to healthcare management, and ensuring the healthcare system has sufficient resources to cope with future outbreaks. SCN.

Daya Bay projects: Huizhou’s Daya Bay petrochemical zone has received two major investments recently: On April 22, ExxonMobil opened a new phase of its US$10 billion ethylene project, and on May 17, a joint venture between China Shipping and Shell announced a new phase for its US$5.6 billion ethylene project. These are two of the largest single foreign-investment projects in the country. SCN.

Facial security: Guangzhou has opened what is believed to be the first public-housing complex operated by facial-recognition security systems. Residents do not need access cards, and the system solves the problem of illegal sub-letting, too. DY.

Job outlook dims: The number of job vacancies for university graduates in Hong Kong has been more than halved, and the average salary could be slashed by up to 20 per cent, according to analysts and the latest figures from major employment platforms. SCMP.

Biotech options: Shanghai and Shenzhen are shaping up as viable destinations for biotech researchers to raise capital, after they drafted or enacted new rules that match Hong Kong’s overture to pre-revenue pharmaceutical and health care start-ups, bankers said. SCMP.

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