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China issues bubonic plague alert, forbids eating risky animals

The bacteria responsible for the bubonic plague which is primarily carried on fleas on rats. Photo: Getty

Chinese authorities have issued a warning about the bubonic plague and forbidden eating certain animals after a suspected case was reported at a Mongolian hospital.

Known as the Black Death of the Middle Ages, the disease is highly infectious and often spread by the fleas on rodents.

The warning in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia comes a day after a hospital reported a patient suspected to have fallen ill with the potentially fatal disease.

The health committee of the city of Bayan Nur issued the third-level alert, the second lowest in a four-level system.

The alert forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry plague.

The public is also asked to report any suspected cases of plague or fever with no clear causes, and to report any sick or dead marmots.

The bubonic plague epidemic in the mid-1300s devastated Europe and Asia. Photo: Getty

The warning on Sunday (local time) follows four reported cases of plague in people from Inner Mongolia last November, including two of pneumonic plague, a deadlier variant of plague.

Plague cases are not uncommon in China but outbreaks have become increasingly rare.

From 2009 to 2018, China reported 26 cases and 11 deaths.

Record coronavirus daily infections – again

Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues its spread, with nearly 11.3 million people infected and more than 531,000 dead.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said more than 212,000 cases were reported globally on Saturday, the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.

Outbreaks are surging in India, South Africa, Pakistan, Brazil and several other Latin American countries and, in a first, South Africa on Sunday reported more than 10,000 new confirmed cases in a single day.

The WHO said more than 60 per cent of the confirmed cases reports it received were in the Americas.

In north-east Spain, authorities have ordered the local lockdown of A Marina, a Galicia county with a population of 71,000, amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak.

The decision comes one day after regional authorities in northeast Catalonia locked down an area with more than 200,000 inhabitants.

Both lockdowns only allow people to leave the areas for work and other extenuating circumstances.

Spain ended a state of emergency that enabled the government to lockdown the entire country and prohibit travel between provinces or certain areas two weeks ago.

Spain has registered 205,545 coronavirus cases and 28,385 deaths according to health ministry data, making it one of Europe’s worst-affected countries.

Drunk people can’t social distance

But as COVID cases rise, many countries continue to ease lockdowns.

In Britain, pubs and barbers reopened on Saturday (local time) for the first time in months.

It did not overwhelm emergency services as many had feared, but one senior police officer said it was “crystal clear” that drunk people struggled, or ignored, social distancing rules.

Police and politicians have raised concerns that the reopening of pubs, in particular, could encourage people to ignore social distancing rules and lead to spikes in infections.

Customers drink from of plastic glasses outside re-opened bars in Soho. Photo: Getty

Rafal Liszewski, a store manager in central London, voiced concerns about the swelling crowds on Saturday.

“Quickly everything got out of control and by 8-9pm it was a proper street party with people dancing and drinking,” he said.

“Barely anyone was wearing masks and nobody respected social distancing… to be honest, with that many people on one street, it was physically impossible.”

Prince William enjoyed a pint of cider at the Rose and Crown pub in the Norfolk village of Snettisham, near his Anmer Hall country estate.

“I’m a cider man,” the Duke of Cambridge said as the media’s cameras rolled for his special visit.

After ordering he sat outside in the pub’s garden terrace.

He was also filmed rubbing his hands with sanitiser.

Prince William is served a cider in the garden of a pub in Snettisham. Photo: Getty

Like some other pubs, the Rose and Crown has been open for several weeks to sell takeaway drinks.

William’s visit was a show of support for struggling bars and restaurants and comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government urges people to go out and spend money to revive the economy.

Northern Ireland has allowed hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes to reopen.

Similar venues in Scotland and Wales are expected to follow suit in the coming week.

-with AAP