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Concerns in China as Delta Covid outbreak

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A fresh Covid outbreak in China has spread to more locations, raising concerns over the country’s vulnerability to the highly contagious Delta variant.

More than 300 cases have been detected within a span of 10 days.

Chinese media is dominated by news on the outbreak, and the country’s top respiratory diseases specialist has reportedly expressed grave concern.

The government has imposed fresh travel restrictions and is testing millions.

It is unclear how many in China are fully vaccinated, although authorities say more than 1.6 billion doses have been administered so far.

A total of 15 provinces have now confirmed cases. Cases in 12 of the provinces are connected to an outbreak that began in Nanjing in eastern Jiangsu province. Authorities have attributed the spread to the Delta variant and the domestic tourism season.

In Zhuzhou, in central Hunan province, more than a million people have been told not to leave home for three days while mass testing and a vaccination drive is organised. The regional government described the situation there as “grim and complicated”. In other cities entire communities are being placed under emergency lockdown as cases of the Delta variant emerge.

The outbreak is the largest in China for months. The country was largely successful in controlling the virus within its borders last year.

Cases of the variant first emerged in July in Nanjing airport, among workers who had cleaned a plane that arrived from Russia.

Authorities promptly tested 9.2 million residents of Nanjing and imposed lockdown on hundreds of thousands of people.

But over the weekend the spotlight turned to popular tourist destination Zhangjiajie in Hunan province, where many of the latest cases have emerged. Travellers from Nanjing were thought to have visited the city recently.

Health officials have zeroed in on a theatre in Zhangjiajie, and are now trying to track down about 5,000 people who attended performances and then travelled back to their home cities.

One performance alone had hosted about 2,000 people, according to reports.

All attractions in Zhangjiajie have been closed and tourists are being asked to take a Covid test before leaving the city, local media reported.

“Zhangjiajie has now become the new ground zero for China’s epidemic spread,” Zhong Nanshan, China’s leading respiratory disease expert, told reporters.

The new outbreak has reached Beijing too, with the city reporting several locally transmitted infections.

All of Beijing’s air, bus and travel links to areas with positive cases have been cut. All tourists have also been banned from entering the capital, and officials are only allowing “essential travellers” with negative Covid tests to enter.

The virus has also reached Wuhan, in Hubei province, the Chinese city where Covid-19 first emerged, with seven people testing positive for the virus. According to Chinese state media, the city had seen zero locally transmitted infections since June 2020.

China is also battling a rise in cases in Zhengzhou in northern Henan province, which saw devastating floods just last month, as well as Hainan island to the south of the mainland.

The Global Times newspaper has called the outbreak the “most serious since Wuhan”, and in a separate editorial criticised “glaring loopholes” in Covid prevention measures.

“It is absolutely worrying if a single flaw can affect many provinces and regions across the country… it shows that our systematic progress in fighting the epidemic needs to be strengthened,” it said.

The outbreak has raised concerns about vaccines, as it emerged that some of those infected had been vaccinated.

Shao Yiming, a researcher with China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters on Saturday that breakthrough infections in vaccinated people “are expected”.

The Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines – two of the most commonly used jabs in China – have been shown to be 50% to 79% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid infection in clinical trials around the world, but are highly effective in preventing hospitalisations or deaths.

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Ghana wins three medals at Combat Jiu Jitsu World Championship

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It was a huge success for Team Ghana on their debut in the Combat Ju Jitsu world championship in Kiev, Ukraine  after all three representatives won medals in their respective weight categories.

Isaac Dowuona AKA Zongo Fire won silver in the lightweight division whereas Team Ghana captain, Abdul Malik Adjei, grabbed third place in the bantamweight category and Ishmael Lantei Lamptey also secured bronze in the welterweight division at the Combat Jiu Jutsu International Federation (CJJIF) organised event that saw 32 countries compete.

The fourth qualified Ghanaian, Solomon Donne Ametepey, a middleweight unfortunately got injured in training and failed to make the trip.

Ghana, one of only three African countries, along with Uganda and Egypt to take part, wowed the tournament with their impressive displays even though they only arrived in Ukraine on Friday, a day after the competition had started. They had to go straight to the Urban Sports City Arsenal Sports Complex for weigh-in ahead of their respective fights on Saturday.

But that did not distract their focus on the task at hand, which was to do well and win medals. They delivered three medals in the process to further enhance the name of Ghana in the sporting world following the heroics of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games hero, Samuel Takyi.

“The feeling is very great and the other federations of other countries like France, Turkey, UAE, Kazakhstan, Cyprus and Germany are so impressed with our team’s performance. The want to invite us to participate in their various upcoming events.” said Evans Bernie-Johnson, Executive Director, Professional Combat Sports Association of Ghana (PROCSAG).

“The future of Combat Jiu Jitsu in Ghana is very bright as one of the other European countries’ Combat Jiu Jitsu President wanted to partner us to organise Africa and world championship as well in Ghana,” Mr. Bernie-Johnson revealed.

“Another beautiful thing is the road cross sign which our brother Samuel Takyi did at the Olympics. As soon as we appear at the arena the people there show the sign  to welcome us and those supporting us chanted ‘Ghana, Ghana, Ghana’. It was so lovely,” the PROCSAG chief added.

The 3-day competition featured 32 countries and witnessed competition in adults 18+, juniors 16-17 years and cadets 12-15 years divisions.

Ghana, however, was only represented in the adults category mainly because of financial challenges from the  lack of support from government and corporate Ghana.

With the impressive performance exhibited in Ukraine by the three fighters, it is the hope of PROCSAG that Ghanaians realise the huge potential of Combat Sports and will offer the much needed support.

“We have learnt more tactics, techniques and exposure. We need government support to be able to organise and develop the sport and be in all the regions in Ghana to represent Mother Ghana in upcoming international competition,” said Mr. Bernie Johnson.

“We have fighters in all categories both male and female, but the cost of airfare, hotel, food and participation is very expensive. So if we get support from government, individuals and corporate bodies, there is no doubt we will go very far because we can go with more athletes in all categories and win more medals for Ghana,” he continued.

“We would like to thank all Ghanaians for their support, encouragement and advice especially the current Sports Minister Hon. Mustapha Ussif, former Mayor of Accra Hon. Oko Vanderpuije, Hon. Isaac Kwadwo Osei, Madam Shaik Latif, Lucy Latif and Nuumo Kobblah III of Korle We.”

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2022 WCQ: Daniel Laryea gets Tunisia vs Equatorial Guinea tie

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Daniel Laryea from Ghana has been put in charge of next month’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar round two Match day 1 qualifier between Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea.

The 34 year old will be assisted by compatriot Kwasi Brobbey Acheampong (Assistant II), Ayimavo Aymar Ulrich Eric from Benin (Assistant I) and Ligali Adissa Abdul Raphiou from Benin (Fourth referee).

AbedlHamid Essameldin Abdelfattah from Egypt has been given the nod as Referee Assessor with Bahloul Amar from Algeria to work as the Match Commissioner.

The Group B tie comes at the Olympic Stadium in Rades on Friday, September 3, 2021 at 20:00GMT.

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Naomi Osaka to donate her earnings from Western & Southern Open to Haiti earthquake relief support

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Naomi Osaka will donate her earning from the Western & Southern to the relief efforts in Haiti; she said: “I’m about to play a tournament this week and I’ll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors’ blood is strong we’ll keep rising”

Naomi Osaka has pledged to donate her earnings from the Western & Southern Open to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

The four-time Grand Slam champion announced her pledge in response to the 7.2-magnitude quake that struck the impoverished country on Saturday.

The death toll rose to 724 on Sunday as rescue workers scrambled to find survivors buried under buildings as a tropical storm bore down on the Caribbean nation.

Haiti is still clawing its way back from another major temblor 11 years ago and reeling from the assassination of its president Jovenel Moise last month.

“Really hurts to see all the devastation that’s going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really cant catch a break,” Osaka said on Twitter.

“I’m about to play a tournament this week and I’ll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors blood is strong we’ll keep rising.”

Osaka, whose father is Haitian, has used her platform to call attention to the causes she cares about.

She is seeded second at the tournament in Cincinnati, which runs from August 16-22, ahead of the US Open in New York which begins on August 30.

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