As cities across China scrambled to install hospital beds and build fever-screening clinics on Tuesday, the country officially reported five more deaths.
Amid the upsurge in China, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya has called a review meet later today. States have been directed to send positive samples for sequencing. The Wednesday meet has also been called in light of the sudden spurt of cases in US, Japan, South Korea and Brazil.
Now, as the virus sweeps through China, there is growing concern about possible deaths, virus mutations and the impact on the economy and trade.
China this month began dismantling its stringent “zero-Covid” regime of lockdowns and testing after protests against curbs that had kept the virus at bay for three years but at a big cost to society and its economy.
“Every new epidemic wave in another country brings the risk of new variants. The current wave in China is shaping up to be big,” said Alex Cook, vice-dean for research at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. He added, that inevitably China has to go through a large wave of Covid-19 if it is to reach an endemic state.
Meanwhile, epidemiologist predicts 60% of China and 10% of world population to be infected by Covid in next three months. Deaths will run into millions once again.
India is witnessing 1,200 cases, while 35 lakh cases are being recorded the world over on a weekly basis.
The minister advised a ramp up of genome sequencing through Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG). “Such an exercise will enable timely detection of newer variants, if any circulating in the country and will facilitate undertaking of requisite public health measures for the same,” read his letter to the states.
States have been reminded of operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy in context of Covid-19 issued in June this year and said it called for early detection, isolation, testing and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases to detect and contain outbreaks of new SARS-CoV 2 variants.
The US observed China’s Covid outbreak might spawn mutations in the virus. “When it comes to the current outbreak in China, we want to see this addressed,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday, expressing worry.