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इंडियन आवाज़     16 Jan 2021 04:53:16      انڈین آواز

WHO team set to arrive in Wuhan amid a spike in daily COVID numbers in China


A World Health Organization team of experts probing the origins of the pandemic is all set to arrive in Wuhan on Thursday amid a spike in new COVID cases in China. The team will undergo quarantine when they reach Wuhan, in central Hubei Province, a National Health Commission (NHC) official said at the press conference on Wednesday.

WHO experts will communicate with Chinese medical experts by video during their quarantine period in Wuhan. China has been sensitive about accusations of a cover-up that delayed its initial response and allowed the virus to spread. Also, China actively pursued to shift the narrative that COVID originated elsewhere, amid allegations on the World Health Organisation’s role, especially in the beginning of the pandemic. Since then, many theories have come about the origins of the coronavirus and much remains to be known. It will be a joint investigation by WHO and Chinese scientists and not much details have been published about the action plan.

NHC said on Wednesday that Chinese mainland on Tuesday reported 115 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, the biggest daily number in months, of whom 107 were locally transmitted. Of the locally transmitted cases, 90 were reported in the hardest hit Hebei Province neighboring Beijing, 16 in Heilongjiang Province and one in Shanxi Province, the commission said in its daily report. In addition, 38 new asymptomatic cases were also reported which China does not classify as confirmed cases. Sunday also saw a high number of cases, with 103 new cases.

The number of new cases reported in recent days are less as compared to last year’s outbreak, however, a recent wave of infections comes ahead of next month’s Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese typically travel to their hometowns. Far fewer people are expected to travel this year, and many provinces have asked migrant workers to stay put during the break. Heilongjiang province on Wednesday declared a COVID-19 emergency. The city of Suihua, which borders the provincial capital Harbin, put its 5.2 million people under lockdown. Hebei province has already put three cities – Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Langfang under lockdown which border Beijing city. Meanwhile, to guard the capital Beijing against the recent outbreaks in neighboring Hebei, Beijing city authorities have stepped up screening and prevention measures to prevent another cluster from developing there.

State media said that the latest outbreak has the hallmark of long-duration, speedy-transmission, and centering in rural regions. Community and multi-generation virus transmission are also spotted. It reported that authorities have warned about weak supervision and control measures in some villages, after the latest wave in Hebei’s villages. Three-level anti-epidemic response mechanisms will be rolled out in China’s vast villages, to improve epidemic control and prevention. Villages are also required to improve monitoring and screening of returnees from other places, and also improve rural clinics’ capability to detect and report suspected infections, it said quoting officials. Meanwhile, more than 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across China with a target of inoculating 50 million ahead of the 2021 Spring Festival in February.

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