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Coronavirus Updates

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Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Womens’ Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK’s Heart Care Foundation of India    04 February 2023

Global Covid-19 situation

 

In the preceding 28 days, counting from 2nd January to 29th January, worldwide there were 20 million new cases and over 114,000 deaths, as per the WHO’s latest Weekly Epidemiological Update #128. A large number of them were mainly reported from China, which reported the highest number of new 28-day infections with 11,354,058 new cases and also new 28-day deaths at 62,759 new deaths. Japan had the next highest number of new infections (3 207 097) followed by the United States (1,513,538), the Republic of Korea (1,032,801 and Brazil (459,986). The US also recorded the second highest number of deaths (14 625), followed by Japan (10,122), UK (3137) and Brazil (2889)…(Source: WHO, Feb. 1, 2023).

 

Covid-19 is still a global public health emergency, says WHO

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Covid-19 remains a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Even though the morbidity and mortality is declining due to high immunity levels, the virus will persist as “a permanently established pathogen in humans and animals for the foreseeable future”. This underscores the need for constant vigil.…(Source: WHO, Jan. 30, 2023).

 

Germany relaxes its mask wearing rules on public transport

 

Germany has eased its mask wearing rules on public transport much ahead of the scheduled date in April due to the declining number of infections in the country. Now masks in public transport like trams, buses, trains are no longer mandatory in Germany. However, the health minister has recommended that people continue to voluntarily wear masks to check spread of the infection. However, people visiting the care homes, hospitals, or dentist clinics are still required to wear FFP2 (~N95) masks till the 7th of April…(Source: ABS-CBN News, Feb. 3, 2023).

 

Covid wave in China is nearing its end 

 

The humongous upsurge in cases in China that occurred after the stringent zero-Covid measures were relaxed is nearing its end, according to the health authorities in China. No new variants of the coronavirus have been detected. The anticipated rebound in new infections following the Lunar New Year holidays has not occurred… (Source: BBC, Jan. 31, 2023). 

 

Cross border travel between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China to fully open from Monday

 

From Monday, China will fully reopen cross border travel between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. The mandatory Covid-19 test prior to travel has been done away with. All custom checkpoints will now reopen. The quota system restricting the number of travelers has also been eased…(Source: Times of India, Feb. 3, 2023).

 

Italy relaxes mandatory airport testing for Chinese travelers 

 

Travelers from China to Italy will now be randomly subjected to swab tests at the airport. Earlier all Chinese travelers were mandatorily tested upon their arrival. However, they are still required to furnish a negative test result within 48 hours of their departure. These rules will remain in force till the end of this month. However, France has extended the mandatory Covid tests for travelers from China till 15th of February…(Source: Medscape, Feb. 1, 2023).

 

Study finds SARS-CoV-2 spreading in wild deer

 

A study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has reported detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in large number of White-Tailed Deer across Iowa in the United States indicating virus spillover from humans to animals. Out of the 283 retropharyngeal lymph node samples examined 94 (33.2%) tested positive for the virus RNA on RT PCR. Twelve SARS-CoV-2 lineages were identified with B.1.2 and B.1.311 together making up nearly 75% of the infections. Eighty (82.5%) of the 97 samples collected over 7 weeks after the hunting season were positive…(Source: PNAS, Feb. 1, 2023).

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