首页 > >
UK's Johnson scraps COVID******
Tourists wearing masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus stand outside Windsor Castle on February 17.
British Prime Minister Boris onMonday said he would end all coronavirus restrictions in Englandincluding mandatory self-isolation for people with COVID-19 andfree testing, drawing skepticism from some scientists andpolitical opponents.
Johnson's "living with COVID" plan has sparked alarm that itis premature and will leave the country vulnerable to new viralvariants, but the government says it has provided more testingthan most other countries, and must now curb the cost.
The plan to ditch the remaining legal restrictions is apriority for many of Johnson's Conservative Party lawmakers,whose discontent over his scandal-ridden leadership hasthreatened his grip on power. Some critics think the plan isalso a bid to divert attention from those scandals.
Britain has reported 160,00 deaths from COVID-19, theseventh-highest death toll in the world.
As Europe retainssocial distancing and vaccine rules, Johnson is moving to repealany pandemic requirements that impinge on personal freedom,saying it is time the public took responsibility.
He will lean even more on the rollout of booster vaccines,with the government offering extra booster doses to the mostvulnerable, as well as other pharmaceuticals interventions suchas antiviral treatments.
"Restrictions pose a heavy toll on our economy, our society,our mental wellbeing and on the life chances of our children,and we do not need to pay that cost any longer," Johnson toldparliament.
"So let us learn to live with this virus and continueprotecting ourselves and others without restricting ourfreedoms."
Johnson said that the legal requirement to self-isolate forpeople who test positive for COVID-19 would be removed on February 24while free universal testing would end on April 1.
The devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and NorthernIreland have set their own COVID-19 restrictions, but the amountof money they have to spend on testing will flow from decisionsmade by the UK government.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was scathing onTwitter, writing: "To allow significant dismantling of thetesting infrastructure built up in last two years would beinexcusable negligence given ongoing risks."
'Scale this back'
Johnson said that some surveillance of the coronavirus wouldremain in place, allowing for a rapid response to new variants,which could be quickly scaled up.
But he cited the much-weakened link between COVID-19 casesand deaths due to vaccines, antivirals and the lower severity ofthe Omicron variant as informing his decision.
"It is only because we know Omicron is less severe, thattesting for Omicron on the colossal scale we have been doing ismuch less important and much less valuable in preventing seriousillness," Johnson said.
"This came at a vast cost... We must now scale this back."
Johnson said that symptomatic testing would remain availablefor at-risk groups and social care staff, and would work withretailers to allow anyone who wants to buy tests.
Britain has been unusual in providing free lateral flowtests to people who want to for months. In contrast, USPresident Joe Biden offered limited free rapid tests tohouseholds for the first time last month.
Leaders in Scotland and Wales had criticized Johnson's plansto reduce the availability of testing ahead of the announcement,while leader of the opposition Keir Starmer also said that theplan was ill-conceived.
"We can't turn off Britain's radar before the war is won.'Ignorance is bliss' is not a responsible approach to a deadlyvirus," Labour Party leader Starmer said.
Economic Watch: China's logistics industry embraces greener, smarter era******
BEIJING, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- In the face of multiple challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, a lower-carbon and smarter logistics industry is emerging in China.。
Liang Dalin, 48, has bid farewell to the traditional energy- and time-consuming workstyle thanks to a mobile app. He now no longer needs to waste time searching for goods and waiting for distribution.。
"The app helps me locate the goods easily. I don't need to drive around looking for them anymore," said Liang, a transport truck driver.。
The app is developed by Full Truck Alliance, also known as Manbang that runs a domestic freight service platform. Using big data, the company helps truck drivers find goods quickly and reduces empty-load rates and fuel consumption, cutting carbon emissions by an estimated 330,000 tonnes in 2020.。
"The global supply chain and logistics industry are facing unprecedented challenges due to deglobalization and other risks," said Hu Yadong, president of the China Communications and Transportation Association.。
China's logistics industry ranked first in the world in freight volume, turnover rate and express delivery volume in 2020, said Wang Jianjun, director of the economic and trade department of the National Development and Reform Commission.。
Wang added that the country's logistics industry has maintained a sound momentum of development in recent years, with low overall costs and growth in transportation volume.。
Xu Yahua, chief engineer with the Ministry of Transport, said developing green logistics is of great significance to the sustainable development of the economy and society since the industry is a major player of energy consumption and carbon emission.。
The application of digitalization and other technologies to road transportation can effectively improve the efficiency of the transportation system, and help reduce vehicle energy consumption and carbon emissions, according to a research jointly conducted by the ministry and Manbang.。
The research results showed that 69.51 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced each year if the empty-load rate is lowered to 25 percent from 45 percent.。
According to data from China's leading logistics companies, their investment in smart equipment exceeded 15 billion yuan (about 2.34 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020, and more than 370 intelligent distribution hubs have been built across the country. Artificial intelligence, big data and other cutting-edge technologies are widely applied to transportation, warehousing and packaging.。
The total size of China's intelligent transportation market increased from 42 billion yuan in 2011 to 165.8 billion yuan in 2020, with an annual growth rate of around 20 percent, showed statistics released by China Intelligent Transportation Systems Association.。
"It is necessary to promote transformation and upgrading of the logistics industry with digital innovations, so as to boost high-quality economic development," Xu said. Enditem。