Beijing/New Delhi: The fresh outbreak of Covid-19 cases in mainland China and Hong Kong has triggered concerns about a possible fourth wave hitting India sooner or later. It may be noted that China’s new Covid-19 cases more than doubled on Tuesday from the previous day as it now faces by far its biggest outbreak since the early days of the pandemic.
China’s National Health Commission said that 3,507 new locally spread cases had been identified in the latest 24-hour period, up from 1,337 a day earlier. A fast-spreading variant known as ‘stealth omicron’ is testing China’s zero-tolerance strategy, which has previously kept the virus at bay after a deadly initial outbreak in early 2020.
Most of the new cases were in northeast China’s Jilin province, where 2,601 were reported. Smaller outbreaks have broken out around the country, including in the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
The Chinese authorities on Tuesday tightened anti-virus controls at ports, raising the risk of trade disruptions after some auto and electronics factories shut down as the government fights coronavirus outbreaks.
China’s new Covid cases are low as compared with other major countries or Hong Kong. But authorities are enforcing a ‘zero tolerance’ strategy that aims to keep the virus out of the country.
It has temporarily shut down major cities to find every infected person. The restrictions come at a time when the global economy is under pressure from Russia’s war on Ukraine, surging oil prices and weak consumer demand.
With China reporting a surge in coronavirus infections, Dr NK Arora, chairman of India`s Covid-19 Working Group of NTAGI, has said that Indians should not take the disease “for granted” because new variants can occur at all times in
“Any kind of complacency at this time will not be good just because Omicron wave has subsided so early. We cannot take it for granted and presume that nothing will happen in the future. New variants can occur at all times,” Dr Arora said.
Dr Arora also said that INSACOG is expected to expand its surveillance. “The surveillance of INSACOG is already taking place at high intensity. Now there is a proposal to expand the INSACOG surveillance to sewage surveillance just like polio and that sewage material will also be undergoing analysis for COVID viruses,” he said.
Speaking about whether the outbreak of COVID-19 cases in China can affect India, he said, “We are waiting for further information about the Chinese outbreak whether it is because one of the already circulating variants or there are its sub-lineages or any new variant which has come in.
“Further, the health official advised people to be watchful about Covid-19 all the time. “One has to be vigilant at all times. Till all the countries across the world are in a stage where we say now the pandemic has come to a halt. But at the moment, it will be premature to do any of those things,” he added.
China has also imposed various rules to keep the Covid-19 cases away from the country since the deadly initial outbreak in the city of Wuhan in early 2020 but the fast-spreading variant known as “stealth omicron” is testing China`s zero-tolerance strategy.