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Shanghai marathon draws 9K runners amid virus threat

Around 9,000 runners­­—some wearing face masks—took part in the Shanghai International Marathon Sunday, Chinese media said, a rare mass event in a year when coronavirus laid waste to most such sport.

Runners take part in the 2020 Shanghai marathon in Shanghai on November 29, 2020. STR / AFP
Before the race, officials touted the marathon as an opportunity to show how China —where the virus emerged late last year before unleashing a pandemic—is moving ahead despite the continuing global health crisis.

The prestigious New York, Berlin, Boston and Chicago marathons all fell victim to coronavirus this year, while London and Tokyo were open only to elite runners.

Bucking that trend, the Shanghai marathon went ahead under sunny skies following several days of rain, and with virus prevention measures in place to thwart infections.

Shanghai is on edge following a scattering of recent local cases, but China has largely got to grips with the epidemic thanks to strict lockdowns and aggressive mass testing.

Pfizer seeks US FDA nod

US biotech giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech sought approval Friday to roll out their coronavirus vaccine early, a first step towards relief as surging infections prompt a return to shutdowns that traumatized nations and the global economy earlier this year.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said its vaccines committee would meet on Dec. 10 to discuss the request for emergency use authorization.

"The FDA recognizes that transparency and dialogue are critical for the public to have confidence in COVID-19 vaccines," the organization's head Stephen Hahn said in a statement.

"I want to assure the American people that the FDA's process and evaluation of the data for a potential Covid-19 vaccine will be as open and transparent as possible."

He said he could not predict how long the review would take, but the federal government said earlier the final green light would probably come in December.

Topics: Shanghai International Marathon Sunday , China , Pfizer , US Food and Drug Administration , COVID-19
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