A resurgence of the deadly CCP virus is occurring across the globe, spanning European and African nations to countries such as Canada, China, and Japan, while the United States reported a record-breaking daily death toll on Jan. 12 of 4,300.
A litany of measures such as lockdowns, curfews, and school closures have been put in place in an attempt to stem the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, while some countries are starting to roll out vaccines. Meanwhile, an increasing number of countries are reporting new variants of the virus, which could affect how it’s transmitted.
Chinese authorities throughout Northern China have struggled to contain the CCP virus—which originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019—despite enacting stringent lockdown measures. Hebei Province is the hardest-hit, with two cities, Shijiazhuang and Xingtai, seeing the biggest surges in new infections.
Areas of Hebei, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Henan, and Ningxia provinces, as well as Inner Mongolia and Beijing, announced that they entered “wartime” mode over the weekend as a result of surges in CCP virus cases. “Wartime” mode typically means that draconian restrictions are placed on when residents can leave their homes, and almost all public facilities, such as schools, stores, stadiums, and parks, are closed.
“At present, diagnosed patients and cluster outbreaks are happening all around the country,” Xu Hejian, a spokesperson for the Beijing city government, said at a press conference on Jan. 8.
It’s been widely reported that China has underreported cases of the virus in a bid to safeguard its image both nationally and internationally.
The central government advised against travel for the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls on Feb. 12 this year. Millions usually make trips to their hometowns to reunite with their families.
Over the weekend, city governments across the country also announced a new rule requiring those who wish to travel during the holiday to receive prior approval from their employers.
Professor Chris Whitty said the country must “double down” on lockdown measures before the vaccine rollout begins to have an impact on the spread of the disease. Witty blamed the grave situation on a new variant of the CCP virus, which the government said has a 50 to 70 percent faster rate of transmission.
“This new variant is really pushing things in a way that the old variant, which was already very bad, was not able to,” he told the BBC’s “Breakfast” program.
Data published by the Office for National Statistics show that on average, one in 50 people have the CCP virus in England, with around 1 in 30 for London, where infections have been rising the fastest.
Across the UK, countries such as England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are all under lockdown, meaning that people aren’t allowed to leave their homes unless they have a “reasonable excuse” which can range from shopping for essentials, religious worship, and medical appointments. Police are issuing fines for those that leave their homes without a valid reason.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Jan. 11 that the government needs to assess the impact of the vaccines before they can say more about when to ease the restrictions to curb the CCP virus.
The government plans to vaccinate everyone in the four groups that have the highest death rate from the CCP virus—care home residents and their caregivers, everyone over the age of 70, all front-line health and social care workers, and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable—with the first dose by mid-February.
On Jan. 12, Ontario declared an emergency after the latest modeling put Canada’s most populous province on track to have more than 20,000 new CCP virus cases per day by the middle of February, a nearly tenfold increase from the current count.
Ontario, which is battling a coronavirus surge that has swamped its hospitals and triggered a province-wide lockdown, could also see roughly 1,500 more deaths in its long-term care homes through mid-February under a worst-case scenario, according to modeling from experts advising the government.
New restrictions that take effect on Jan. 14 mandate that residents must stay at home except for essential activity, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people and non-essential construction work will be restricted.
“I know the stay at home order is a drastic measure, one we don’t take lightly. Everyone must stay home to stay lives,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at a media briefing. “Enforcement and inspections will increase.”
Ontario, the country’s economic engine, has been under lockdown since Dec. 26, with non-essential businesses shuttered and schools closed for in-person learning.
The daily number of CCP virus cases has spiked above 3,500 on average over the past seven days, government data showed. On Jan. 12, Ontario reported 2,903 new CCP virus cases.
Under the worst-case scenario with 7 percent case growth, there would be 40,000 new cases daily by mid-February, while the best-case scenario with 1 percent growth would result in 5,000 new cases every day, Ontario’s data showed. Case growth has recently been over 7 percent on the worst days, the data showed.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Jan. 13 that seven additional prefectures would be placed under a state of emergency, according to Kyodo News. The prefectures are Osaka, Aichi Tochigi, Gifu, Hyogo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka.
The announcement came as Japan’s total number of virus cases topped 300,000 amid a recent spike in infections.
The total passed 200,000 in late December, but despite the recent and rapid increase, Yasutoshi Nishimura the minister in charge of Japan’s coronavirus response, expressed reluctance to expand the emergency nationwide, the outlet reported.
Japan continues to be in a “very serious situation” when it comes to infections, Health minister Norihisa Tamura told an expert panel.
It comes as a new variant of the CCP virus, which is distinct from the ones found in the United Kingdom and South Africa was detected in Japan, health officials announced on Jan. 10. According to Takaji Wakita, the Director-General of Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the variant was found in four people who arrived from Brazil.
The overall U.S. death toll from the CCP virus has eclipsed 380,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed infections have topped 22.8 million in the United States.
The United States recorded 4,327 deaths on Jan. 12 by the university’s count. Arizona and California have been among the hardest-hit states.
The daily figure is subject to revision, but deaths have been rising sharply over the past 2 1/2 months, and the country is in the most lethal phase of the outbreak yet, even as the vaccine is being rolled out. New cases are running at nearly a quarter-million per day on average.
Nicole Hao, Alexander Zhang, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.