Covid-19 isn’t slowing down in China. What it means for India

Even as World Health Organisation (WHO) ensured that ‘the end of COVID is near’, the reality appears to be strikingly different, and the biggest example is China. The country on Thursday reported a record number of infections as well as the first deaths from the virus in months. Owing to the sudden rise, some restrictions have been reimposed in several districts, with shops, schools and restaurants closed.

The National Health Commission reported 31,444 local infections on Thursday, surpassing 29,317 cases recorded on April 13 during the height of the lockdown in Shanghai. 

Why the COVID cases are rising in China?

The Omicron variants that are circulating in China right now are far more infectious than the previous subvariants and this is the reason behind the sudden COVID surge despite the strong measures. 

Liu Xiaofeng, deputy director of the Beijing CDC, stated that the Omicron BF.7 variant imported from a trading town outside Beijing is the main strain in the current outbreak of COVID-19, as per The Global Times report.

He stressed that the variant has resulted in cluster infections in nursing homes, construction sites and schools as the cases of COVID-19 were particularly reported in Chaoyang, Changping, Haidian, Fengtai and Tongzhou.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu of the WHO cited the same as the primary reason for the same. 

“The virus is evolving, changing its behaviour,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu. “With that… changing your measures will be very important.”

Another reason for the spread is the poor vaccination rate in the country. The BBC report cited, only about half of people in China aged 80 and above have received their primary vaccinations, with fewer than 20% of them having secured a booster. Fewer than 60% of the 60-69 age group is fully vaccinated.

Is India likely to see another COVID surge? 

The reason that is worrying for India is that the Omicron BF.7 variant, which is causing the current surge in China and has reached the United States, UK, Australia, and Belgium was detected in India last month. Citing the same, Kerala Health Expert Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan told news agency ANI that even though the country is showing a sharp decrease in cases, the pandemic isn’t over, and precautions still need to be taken.

He said, “What we must realise is that the pandemic is not over. There will be periodic regional surges that especially coincide with festivals and group gatherings. Wearing masks Indoors and preferring outdoor to indoor gatherings are safe options. The vulnerable individuals will need to be specially protected.”

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