CCP Virus Pandemic Resurges in Countries Across Globe
A resurgence of the deadly CCP virus is happening across the globe, spanning from European nations to countries like Canada, China, Africa, and Japan, with the United States also reporting a record-breaking daily death count of 4,300 on Jan. 12.
The new waves of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus are being fought with a litany of measures such as lockdowns, curfews, and school closures, while some countries are starting to roll out vaccines. But it also comes as an increasing number of countries are reporting new variants of the virus that could affect how the disease is transmitted.
The CCP virus—which originated in Wuhan, China, back in December 2019—is struggling to be contained by Chinese authorities throughout Northern China, despite enacting stringent lockdown measures. Hebei Province is the hardest-hit, with two cities, Shijiazhuang and Xingtai, seeing the biggest surges in new infections.
Areas of Hebei, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Henan, and Ningxia provinces, as well as Inner Mongolia and Beijing, announced that they entered “wartime” mode over the weekend due to surges in CCP virus cases. “Wartime” mode typically means that restrictions are placed on when residents can leave their homes, and almost all public facilities, such as schools, stores, stadiums, and parks, are closed.
A spokesperson for the Beijing city government Xu Hejian said at a press conference on Jan. 8: “At present, diagnosed patients and cluster outbreaks are happening all around the country.”
It has been widely reported that China underreported cases of the virus in a bid to safeguard its image both nationally and internationally.
The central government advised against travel for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, which falls on Feb. 12 this year. Millions usually make trips to their hometowns to reunite with their families.
Over the weekend, city governments across the country also announced a new rule requiring those who wish to travel during the holiday to get prior approval from their employers.
Professor Chris Whitty said the country must “double down” on lockdown measures before the vaccine roll-out begins to have an impact on the spread of the disease. Witty blamed the grave situation on a new variant of the CCP virus, which the government said has a 50 to 70 percent faster rate of transmission.
“This new variant is really pushing things in a way that the old variant, which was already very bad, was not able to,” he told the BBC’s “Breakfast” program.
Data published by the Office for National Statistics show that on average, 1 in 50 people have the CCP virus in England, with around 1 in 30 for London, where infections have been rising the fastest.
Across the UK, countries like England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are all under lockdown, meaning that people are not allowed to leave their homes unless they have a “reasonable excuse” which can range from shopping for essentials, religious worship, and medical appointments. Police are issuing fines for those that leave their homes without a valid reason.
The UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Jan. 11 that the government needs to assess the impact of the vaccines before they can say more about when to ease the restrictions to curb the CCP virus.
The government plans to vaccinate everyone in the four groups that have the highest death rate from the CCP virus—care home residents and their caregivers, everyone over the age of 70, all frontline health and social care workers, and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable—with the first dose by mid-February.
On Jan. 12, Ontario declared an emergency after the latest modeling put Canada’s most populous province on track to have more than 20,000 new CCP virus cases per day by the middle of February, a nearly ten-fold increase from the current count.
Ontario, which is battling a coronavirus surge that has swamped its hospitals and triggered a province-wide lockdown, could also see roughly 1,500 more deaths in its long-term care homes through mid-February under a worst-case scenario, according to modeling from experts advising the government.
New restrictions that take effect on Jan. 14 mandate that residents must stay at home except for essential activity, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people and non-essential construction work will be restricted.
“I know the stay at home order is a drastic measure, one we don’t take lightly. Everyone must stay home to stay lives,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford at a media briefing. “Enforcement and inspections will increase.”
Ontario, the country’s economic engine, has been under lockdown since Dec. 26, with non-essential businesses shuttered and schools closed for in-person learning.
The daily number of CCP virus cases has spiked above 3,500 on average over the past seven days, government data showed. On Tuesday, Ontario reported 2,903 new CCP virus cases.
Under the worst-case scenario with 7 percent case growth, there would be 40,000 new cases daily by mid-February, while the best-case scenario with 1 percent growth would result in 5,000 new cases every day, Ontario’s data showed. Case growth has recently been over 7 percent on the worst days, the data showed.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Jan. 13 that seven additional prefectures would be declared a state of emergency, according to Kyodo News. The 7 prefectures are Osaka, Aichi Tochigi, Gifu, Hyogo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka.
The announcement came as Japan’s total number of virus cases topped 300,000 amid a recent spike in infections.
The total passed 200,000 in late December, but despite the recent and rapid increase, Yasutoshi Nishimura the minister in charge of Japan’s coronavirus response, expressed reluctance to expand the emergency nationwide, the outlet reported.
Japan continues to be in a “very serious situation” when it comes to infections, Health minister Norihisa Tamura told an expert panel.
It comes as a new variant of the CCP virus, which is distinct from the ones found in the United Kingdom and South Africa was detected in Japan, health officials announced on Jan. 10. According to Takaji Wakita, the Director-General of Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), the variant was found in four people who arrived from Brazil.
The nation’s overall death toll from the CCP virus has eclipsed 380,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed infections have topped 22.8 million in the United States.
The United States recorded 4,327 deaths on Jan. 12 by Johns Hopkins’ count. Arizona and California have been among the hardest-hit states.
The daily figure is subject to revision, but deaths have been rising sharply over the past 2 and a half months, and the country is now in the most lethal phase of the outbreak yet, even as the vaccine is being rolled out. New cases are running at nearly a quarter-million per day on average.
Nicole Hao, Alexander Zhang, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.