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Health

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

(Reuters) - Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

FILE PHOTO: A couple wearing protective masks is seen as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Beijing market suspends sales, storage of frozen products

Beijing’s Xinfadi market, which was linked to a coronavirus outbreak in June, has suspended sales and storage of cold-chain and aquatic products, state-backed Beijing News reported. Several infections in recent months in Qingdao and Tianjin cities involved handlers of imported frozen food.

Workers in a particular environment who repeatedly come into contact with cold-chain products polluted by the coronavirus might be infected without proper protection, a Chinese official said earlier on Wednesday.

However, officials cautioned that the risk to consumers of catching the virus from cold chain food products was “very low”. China has ramped up testing of frozen foods after saying it has repeatedly discovered the coronavirus on imported products and their packaging, triggering mass scale testing, suspension of some imports and disruptions to trade flows.

S.Korea reports biggest COVID-19 spike since March

South Korea reported 583 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest since March, as it grapples with a third wave of infections that appears to be worsening despite tough new social distancing measures.

The government had eased restrictions for a month following the second wave of infections, but some experts now say it relaxed those rules too soon.

Infections among young people, many of whom show no symptoms, prompted the government to urge students to stop attending cram schools and private lessons ahead of college entrance exams slated for Dec. 3.

COVID-19 may hurt male fertility

Evidence of testes damage from COVID-19 has been accumulating in a series of small autopsy studies, suggesting that the new coronavirus could have an impact on male fertility.

Researchers from the University of Miami in Florida compared testis tissues from six men who died of COVID-19 and three who died of other causes. Three of the COVID-19 patients had testis damage that would impair their ability to produce sperm.

A Chinese research team made similar observations earlier this year and also found that some COVID-19 patients’ immune systems “attacked” the testes, causing severe inflammation, or orchitis. A separate Chinese team found “significant damage” to the basic cellular tissue of the testicles in 12 men who died of COVID-19.

WHO experts would like to go back to Wuhan

Researchers led by the World Health Organization would like to go back to a wholesale food market in Wuhan in China to follow up initial cases of COVID-19 which emerged in the city and investigate how the virus probably first spread from bats.

Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO expert in animal diseases, said the team would like to re-interview early COVID-19 cases and find infected workers who may have “important information” on where they may have picked up the new coronavirus.

Investigations would look into “everything that went in and out of that market at that time and try to find out where these animals and food products came from,” he said. They would look for commonalities among market workers who got severely ill in December, and whether they were infected in the countryside or a farming environment in southern China or “perhaps even outside China”, he said.

Compiled by Karishma Singh; editing by Richard Pullin

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