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First known US Omicron case found in fully vaccinated overseas traveler******
The United States on Wednesdayidentified its first known COVID case caused by the Omicronvariant, discovered in a fully vaccinated patient who traveledto South Africa, as scientists continue to study the risks thenew version could pose.。
Public health officials said the infected person, who hadmild and improving symptoms, returned to the United States fromSouth Africa on November 22 and tested positive seven days later.。
That patient was fully vaccinated but did not have a boostershot, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectiousdisease official, who briefed reporters at the White House.。
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks about the Omicron coronavirus variant case, which was detected in California, during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, on December 1, 2021.。
The person is in self-quarantine and all of the patient'sclose contacts have tested negative, he said.。
Key questions remain about the new variant, which mutated inways that health experts think could improve its ability to bothspread and evade some of the defenses provided by vaccines. Workis underway to update those vaccines, if necessary.。
Omicron has been found in two dozen countries and territories, includingseveral in Europe plus Canada, Australia, Japan, China's Hong Kong andIsrael.。
The United States has not yet detected communitytransmission of Omicron. Across much of the country, COVIDtransmission remains high but new cases have held fairly steadyover the last two weeks, according to a Reuters tally.Three-quarters of all COVID samples in South Africa are now Omicron.。
"The critical thing is, over the next week or so, will wesee any community transmission from that case," said AndyPekosz, virologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ofPublic Health. "That's a critical thing that we want to keep aneye on."
Pekosz said the variant could make the relatively new set ofantiviral pills from Merck and Pfizer moreimportant by helping to reduce the severity of infections.。
Fauci said it could take two weeks or more to gain insightinto how easily the variant spreads from person to person, howsevere is the disease it causes and whether it can bypass theprotections provided by vaccines currently available.。
The Biden administration has asked fully vaccinated peopleto seek booster shots after their initial doses. Sixty percentof Americans are fully vaccinated andabout a fifth of those people took boosters, according to theUS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.。
For days, US health officials have said the new variant– first detected in southern Africa and announced on November 25 – was likely already in the United States as dozens of othercountries also detected its presence.。
Travelers wear protective face masks at Denver International Airport on November 30, 2021 in Denver, Colorado as concern grows worldwide over the Omicron coronavirus variant.。
"This new variant is a cause for concern but not a cause forpanic," Biden said on Wednesday before the Omicron case wasannounced. A spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said he the president hadbeen briefed by his team on the first known US case.。
Benchmark US stock indexes turned negative on the news.The S&P 500 fell by more than 1 percent, extending to nearly 4 percentits loss in price terms over the past week. The World HealthOrganization named the variant as one of concern on Friday.。
The United States has barred nearly all foreigners who havebeen in one of eight southern African countries. On Tuesday, theCDC directed airlines to disclose names and other information of passengers who have been to thosecountries.。
China to offer Ukraine more humanitarian aid supplies******
China has decided to provide more humanitarian aid supplies to Ukraine worth 10 million yuan (US$1.57 million), a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Monday.
Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily press briefing that this additional offer was based on the development of the situation and the actual needs of Ukraine. The Red Cross Society of China had earlier provided 5 million yuan worth of humanitarian aid supplies to the Ukrainian side.
"China pays close attention to the civilian casualties in the Russia-Ukraine conflict," Wang said, noting that the top priority for the international community now is to deal with the possible large-scale humanitarian crisis.
Wang said China has put forward a six-point initiative on alleviating the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and has taken concrete actions, including providing humanitarian aid supplies.
"China will continue to play a constructive role in easing the situation in Ukraine and stands ready to make its own efforts to overcome the humanitarian crisis," said Wang.
China mining conference opens in Tianjin******
TIANJIN, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- The 23rd China Mining Conference and Exhibition opened in north China's Tianjin Municipality on Thursday, attracting 230 exhibitors and visitors from 30 countries and regions.
The three-day event, themed "multilateral cooperation for the development and prosperity of the post-pandemic era," held both online and offline, aims to build a new pattern of international mining cooperation.
Several sub-forums will take place with topics including geothermal energy industry development, the mining capital market, intelligent mine construction, uranium ore, and the development and utilization of mineral water.
China will deepen cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road on geology and mineral resources, to promote mining investment facilitation and trade liberalization and create a new pattern for the opening-up of the industry, said Ling Yueming, vice minister of natural resources.
South African Ambassador to China Siyabonga Cwele said that the two countries boast cordial, broad and deepening cooperation in the mining and minerals sector. Up to 85 percent of South Africa's exports to China are precious metals and minerals, according to the ambassador.
He added that the scope for further cooperation with South Africa lies in the exploration of new areas of metals and other high-quality mining resources, as well as cooperation in mineral production, including processing and value addition. Enditem