DINNER PARTY INTEL...
The topics you have to be able to discuss this week
1. Black Death hits China
China has confirmed a case of bubonic plague in Bayannur, a city in its north. The country has warned of the risks of humanto-human infection and urged citizens to report dead animals, suspected cases and patients running a fever, Bloomberg reports.
Bubonic plague, also called the Black Death, killed 50-million people in the 14th century in Europe and about 12-million globally in the 19th century. It’s the most common type of plague and can be treated with antibiotics. The region reported cases in November while Madagascar has cases nearly every year between September and April.
“Unless we set out a path for reducing the deficit, SA’S access to capital markets will become more limited and more costly. Unless we demonstrate that we can repay our debts, at a point in future we will be unable to raise the amounts we need to tackle the consequences of Covid-19.”
Reserve Bank deputy governor Kuben Naidoo
2. Elephant deaths baffle
Almost 400 elephants have died in Botswana’s Okavango Delta in recent months. Many of the animals appear to have died suddenly and mysteriously — aerial photos show some collapsed chest-first while walking or running. And no tusks were removed, suggesting that poachers may not be to blame. No other animals have been found dead, which may rule out chemical agents such as cyanide.
Now conservationists say the country’s government is not taking the deaths seriously. Samples from dead elephants were collected for testing in May, but the results have not been released yet.
3. Wildlife key to health
Meanwhile, the UN warns that a “steady stream” of animal-borne infectious diseases are unavoidable in the future unless the world tackles the exploitation of wildlife and ecosystem destruction. It blames the rise in diseases such as Covid-19 on demand for animal protein, unsustainable agricultural practices and climate change.
A report released this week lays out strategies to prevent future pandemics by breaking the chain of transmission for diseases which jump from animals to humans.