COVID fears mount after India issued an urgent warning over possible new variants of China’s “thermonuclear” outbreak.
India’s health minister has warned the public to take precautions against the deadly virus as the country remains alert to possible mutations emerging from the current wave of infections from neighboring China.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya told parliament that India will start randomly testing 2 percent of international travelers arriving at the country’s airports, after asking regional authorities to send positive samples to laboratories that monitor for new Covid strains.
Mandaviya said: “States have been instructed to make people aware of mask-wearing (the need), use of hand sanitizer, maintain respiratory hygiene and social distancing.”
Speaking Wednesday at a meeting to review the country’s Covid situation amid rising cases in several Asian countries, Mandaviya said, “Covid is not over yet. I have instructed all involved to be vigilant and to increase surveillance.”
India relaxed its mask-wearing rules earlier this year after a sharp drop in coronavirus cases.
It has reported the most Covid-19 cases worldwide since the pandemic began, but confirmed infections have fallen sharply in recent months.
There are currently about 3,400 active coronavirus cases in India, according to the Ministry of Health.
The rise in cases in China has also prompted Indian health experts to offer advice to the public on wearing face masks and getting booster doses.
On Thursday, India’s top medical association, the Indian Medical Association, also appealed to people to wear masks and receive vaccination boosters in all public places.
It urged people to avoid public gatherings such as weddings, political and social gatherings, and international travel.
“At the moment the situation is not alarming and therefore there is no need to panic. Prevention is better than cure,” it said in a statement.
India, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, has administered more than 2.2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine but only 27 percent of the population has received a third booster.
Last year, India was devastated by a second wave of Covid, killing tens of thousands and overwhelming the country’s healthcare system.
According to the Health Ministry, India has seen a “steady decline” in cases, with the country averaging about 150 infections per day as of March 19.
India’s warning comes as China struggles to get a grip on its outbreak, which was sparked by a rush to dismantle its zero-Covid strategy earlier this month.
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concern on Wednesday at the rising number of cases in the communist country, stressing he was concerned about “increasing reports of serious illnesses”.
He told a news conference: “In order to make a comprehensive risk assessment of the situation on the ground, the WHO needs more detailed information on the severity of the disease, hospital admissions and ICU support requirements.”
A study released last week by three Hong Kong University professors estimated China’s current surge could result in nearly a million deaths in the country.
It warned that the surge in infections would likely overwhelm many local health systems.
The serious problems facing China were made clear earlier this week when footage emerged showing hearses in long lines outside crematoria and bodies piling up in hospitals.
CHINA’S THERMONUCLEAR BREAKOUT
Vehicles were seen in video queuing outside a crematorium in Beijing, which is reportedly overwhelmed with a 20-day backlog as the “thermonuclear” outbreak devastates China
Other footage claims to show bodies in yellow body bags filling the floor of a funeral home.
Another shows corpses stacked on shelves and boxes in a hospital storage room as space was running out amid mounting deaths.
Official figures show just two new Covid deaths and 4,666 new daily cases.
Footage of the hearses was shared by epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, who said the situation is now “thermonuclear bad”.
“Employees at Beijing’s largest funeral home, Babaoshan, confirmed that all of its incinerators were working but were still unable to meet demand, resulting in a 20-day backlog,” he tweeted.
dr Feigl-Ding is the head of the Covid Task Force at the New England Complex Systems Institute and one of the first scientists to warn about the spread of Covid when he was working at Harvard.
Despite the official figures, even reports in tightly controlled official media say that in one city alone, Guangzhou, 50,000 people are reporting symptoms.
In Beijing, authorities have increased the number of so-called “fever clinics” from 94 to 1,263 to cope with the surge in patients.
Some Chinese experts are warning that the worst could be yet to come.
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said last week that China will be hit by the first of three expected waves of infections this winter.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6974503/covid-fears-rise-india-warning-mutations-china/ Covid fears mount as India now issues urgent warning of feared mutations from China’s ‘thermonuclear’ outbreak