- China locks down parts 1.7MM in Beijing as mutant strain discovered
- US cases, deaths continue to slow from holiday peaks
- Dutch gov’t proposes first national lockdown since WW2
- Japan reports 5,532 new COVID-19 cases
- Turkey administers 1MM doses
- Israel’s vaccination effort is currently the most advanced in the world in terms
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While Joe Biden is inaugurated, the US is reeling from passing the 400K mark in COVID deaths, which it did officially Tuesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins’ count, as we reported yesterday.
But in China, CCP authorities are racing to stop a resurgence of the virus in the area surrounding the Chinese capital before it takes hold i Beijing, as an outbreak in Hebei Province, which surrounds Beijing in China’s northeast., has continued to intensify.
After locking down some 30MM people already in recent weeks in Hebei, mostly in the capital city of Shijiazhuang, authorities are again ordering lockdowns within Beijing itself, as they did late last year, and over the summer and spring as well.
Bloomberg reports that 1.7MM people in part of the Chinese capital are now on lockdown amid reports that the mutated virus strain first identified in the UK may have finally arrived there. 2 of the most recent batch of COVID cases reported in Beijing’s Daxing district on Jan. 17 are believed to be due to the COVID “variant” first identified in the UK, according to Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Even though CCP officials insist that the cases aren’t locally linked (citing food packaging, a favorite Beijing boogeyman, as an excuse), they are locking down Daxing district in southern Beijing, where the new airport is located, has been sealed off from the rest of the country after six infections were found there. The total number of cases in Beijing now stands at 15, while over a thousand infections have been found nationwide since early January, mostly in China’s vast rural northern provinces.
As lockdowns continue to intensify in Europe, The Dutch government on Wednesday proposed the first nationwide curfew since World War Two and a ban on flights from South Africa and Britain, part of what Reuters described as “its toughest moves yet” to combat the virus. However, Dutch PM Mark Rutte said the curfew must be approved by parliament, which is set to debate the new measures on Thursday.
In the US, COVID cases and deaths continued to decline on Tuesday, with hospitalizations taking a slight dip.
The number of total hospitalizations in January has fallen on more days than it has risen.
Here’s some more COVID news from Wednesday morning and overnight:
- Japan reports 5,532 new COVID-19 cases as of 8 p.m., a slight increase from the previous day’s tally (Source: Nikkei).
- India begins export of COVID-19 vaccines to “neighboring and key partner countries” by dispatching the first consignments to Bhutan and the Maldives.
- Turkey’s online vaccination tracker shows the country has surpassed 1MM doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine, putting it among the world’s fastest inoculation programs.
- Encouraging new lab results show the Pfizer vaccine likely works on the more infectious coronavirus variant first found in the U.K., Reuters reports, backing up promising findings from last week (Source: Nikkei).
- India begins export of COVID-19 vaccines to “neighboring and key partner countries” by dispatching the first consignments to Bhutan and the Maldives (Source: Nikkei).
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Israel’s vaccination effort is currently the most advanced in the world in terms of percentage vaccinated (more than 30%), followed by the UK, which is the leader in the West. And as one might expect, Israel is already finding that the Pfizer vaccine doses aren’t nearly as effective as the 90%+ efficacy numbers reported in the trial data.