The top­ics you have to be able to dis­cuss this week

Financial Mail - - AT HOME & ABROAD -

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.

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