Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2019 11:11:52 +0200

Beijing, April 1, 2019 (AFP) - At least 24 people died after firefighters were sent to combat a forest blaze in remote mountains in southwest China at the weekend, state media said Monday.   Hundreds of firefighters were deployed to battle the fire, which broke out on Saturday evening on steep terrain at an altitude of around 3,800 metres (12,500 feet), local officials said.   Authorities in Liangshan Autonomous Prefecture said they lost contact with 30 firefighters on Sunday afternoon after a sudden change in wind direction ignited a larger blaze.   Officials were able to speak to two firefighters who confirmed that 24 had died, according to a newspaper group affiliated with the People's Liberation Army.
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2019 05:29:11 +0200

Beijing, April 1, 2019 (AFP) - A dust tornado sent an inflatable bounce house flying into the air in central China, killing two children and injuring 18 others, officials said Monday.   The large bouncy castle twisted around the tornado at a fairground as people ran away, some holding children in their arms during Sunday's incident in Tianmiao Town, Henan province, according to images posted on Twitter by state broadcaster CGTN.   In addition to the two fatalities, one child was seriously injured while 17 others were slightly hurt, according to the Shang Qiu city government. Two adults were also slightly injured.
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2019 07:39:41 +0100

Shanghai, Feb 18, 2019 (AFP) - A major Chinese food producer said Monday that traces of the African swine fever virus had been found in its frozen dumplings.   China, the world's biggest consumer and producer of pork, has struggled to contain an outbreak of the virus since the first cases were detected last August.

Officials have said hundreds of thousands of pigs were culled in a bid to stop its spread -- an effort that has also seen restrictions placed on moving pigs from affected areas.   Sanquan Food, based in central Henan province, issued a public statement confirming media reports published in recent days that contaminated pork dumplings were detected in two provinces that do not share a border.   The company said suspect batches of dumplings had reached grocery stores, but that it was sealing affected products and cooperating with authorities.   The statement did not mention a broader recall.

Unconfirmed Chinese media reports have said that products manufactured by several other companies also contained traces of the virus.   African swine fever is not harmful to humans but can be fatal to pigs, raising fears for the country's giant pork industry.    But the media reports prompted anger online from Chinese consumers who vented over the latest in a recurring series of product scandals, despite repeated government promises to ensure safety.   Sanquan Food's share price dropped as much as 2.25 percent in Monday morning trading on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2019 12:46:21 +0100

Beijing, Feb 13, 2019 (AFP) - Dozens of tourists celebrating the lunar new year at an upmarket ski resort in north-eastern China have been struck down by novovirus, the winter vomiting bug, the tour operator admitted.    French luxury holiday group Club Med expressed its regret, saying it took the outbreak -- which saw guests suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea -- "very seriously".   "We plan to offer all customers who have been affected by the virus compensation equivalent to three times the price they spent," Club Med said in a statement.

The company has said 42 people reported abnormal symptoms, eight of whom were seen by a doctor, although none required hospital treatment.    However, the China Daily newspaper quoted tourists on Wednesday as saying "more than 200" people had been affected, and there were accusations on Chinese social media the company had underestimated the number of people involved.

The hotel at the Yabuli ski resort in Heilongjiang province is being disinfected, according to the company, but the origin of the infection has not yet been identified.    Chinese conglomerate Fosun bought Club Med in 2015 for more than $1 billion.   China is now Club Med's biggest market outside France, with six resorts in operation and four others planned to open by the end 2020.   Fosun Group is one of China's "grey rhino" companies -- along with Wanda, HNA and Anbang -- that have come under scrutiny from mainland authorities wanting to crack down on debt-fuelled foreign acquisitions.
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2019 16:00:40 +0100

Shanghai, Jan 11, 2019 (AFP) - At least 145 children were administered expired polio vaccines in eastern China, state media reported, despite the government promising to prevent such lapses in the industry following a major scandal last year.   Thirteen county-level health officials in Jiangsu province have been dismissed since the case came to light earlier this week -- the latest to raise public health concerns -- Jinhu county government said late Friday according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Three other county-level health officials are under investigation and a case has been established against a local official, the broadcaster said.   A parent discovered earlier this week that a batch of orally administered polio vaccines were being given to children at a county-run health facility nearly one month after their December 11 expiration date, CCTV reported on Thursday.   The local government has since found 145 children received the vaccines between December 11 and January 7, CCTV said, quoting a government source.

Local health officials have said the expired vaccines would have decreased efficacy but should not cause adverse health effects.   The World Health Organization's website says that people given such vaccines that have expired are "unlikely to get sick as a reaction to receiving the vaccine" but warns that they might not be adequately immunised.

CCTV said some parents reported adverse reactions among children, including vomiting and drowsiness, but it was unclear if this was just a normal allergic reaction to the medicine.   Beijing announced a nationwide clean-up of the country's vaccine industry last year after it emerged that a major Chinese manufacturer of rabies vaccines had fabricated records. 

Authorities maintain that affected rabies vaccines did not enter the market, but the case triggered public outrage over frequent safety scares involving sub-par or toxic food, drugs and other products despite repeated government crackdowns.   The vaccines have been ordered sealed and the county has launched inspections of all health-related departments.   The polio vaccine is provided free by the government for children between two months and four years old.   AFP calls to the Jinhu government went unanswered.
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