Mass testing in China’s Tianjin as India imposes new restrictions | Coronavirus pandemic News

The more contagious variant of the omicron coronavirus appears to produce less severe disease than the globally prevalent delta strain, but that hasn’t stopped governments from tightening restrictions in an effort to prevent another wave of mass infection.

The United Nations health agency, in its weekly report on the epidemic, said the weekly number was 95,20488 new cases – with 41,178 deaths recorded last week compared to 44,680 the week before.

The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned earlier in the week that although the number of cases appeared to be large relative to previous weeks, the number was certainly an underestimate due to the backlog of testing around the end of the year.

Here is a brief overview of the latest developments:

China

Authorities in the Chinese port city of Tianjin said they have launched a citywide testing campaign for its 14 million residents after a group of 20 children and adults tested positive for COVID-19, including at least two using the Omicron variant.

Among those infected are 15 students, an employee of an after-school center, and four parents. The campaign will end in two days.

Sunday’s announcement comes as China ramped up its zero-tolerance strategy for COVID-19 in the run-up to the Winter Olympics, which are set to begin on February 4 in Beijing.

The Chinese capital is located about 115 kilometers (71 miles) northwest of Tianjin, and is connected by a high-speed railway that takes less than an hour.

The first two cases confirmed in Tianjin are a 10-year-old girl and a 29-year-old woman who work in an after-school centre. Both are infected with the Omicron strain. In the subsequent testing of close contacts, another 18 turned out to be positive and 767 had tested negative as of Saturday night.

India

Indian authorities reported 159,632 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, forcing several states to impose new restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Maharashtra, India’s richest state, said it would close swimming pools and gyms from Monday while schools and colleges were closed until February 15 after daily cases in the state jumped to more than 41,000.

The state government has said that only fully vaccinated people will be allowed into private offices while limiting capacity to 50 percent of the total workforce.

In neighboring Gujarat, authorities extended nighttime curfew hours and canceled vacations for all healthcare workers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation later on Sunday.

The Ministry of Health reported 327 new deaths, bringing the official number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 483,790. The total number of injuries reached 35.52 million.

Israel

Israel, which has begun dealing a fourth blow to the most vulnerable, has announced easier access to home COVID-19 tests to allow people to decide whether to self-quarantine at home amid a shortage of stores and complaints about price hikes.

“We are aware of the public’s distress,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the weekly cabinet meeting, announcing that every child in kindergarten or primary school in Israel would be provided with three free kits in the coming days.

The government is also negotiating price cuts with major drugstore chains, Bennett said, adding: “In any case, costs will come down in the near future because the market will be flooded with millions of sets arriving in Israel.”

Parcels were priced at 25-35 Israeli shekels (from $8 to $11) in stores, and many of them have run out. Nahman Asch, director general of the Health Ministry, told 103 FM Radio that the unit price should not be more than 10 shekels ($3).

With soaring COVID-19 cases and hours-long waiting lists at mandatory testing stations, Israel said last week that PCR and professionally administered antigen tests would only be required for people over 60 or those with a weakened immune system. immunity.

People who have been vaccinated can now rely on home tests, but there has been some skepticism about the effectiveness of those tests.

Africa

Data released on Sunday said Africa has recorded a total of more than 10 million cases of coronavirus.

Statistics from the African Centers for Disease Control showed that there have been 1,028,508 cases reported by the 55 member states of the African Union since the outbreak of the epidemic.

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