China is now dealing with CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreaks across its frigid northeast, prompting additional lockdowns and travel bans.
The country reported more newly confirmed cases Tuesday—most of them in Jilin province, Hebei province just outside Beijing, and Heilongjiang province bordering Russia. A fourth northern province, Liaoning, has also imposed quarantines and travel restrictions.
Authorities have called on citizens not to travel, ordered schools closed a week early, and is conducting testing on a massive scale.
Travelers to New Zealand Must Show Negative Tests
Travelers to New Zealand from most other nations will need to show negative coronavirus test results before boarding as of next Monday.
New Zealand recently imposed the test requirement for travelers from the United States and Britain, and authorities said Tuesday that it is being extending the requirement to all other countries, with the exception of Australia and a handful of Pacific Island nations. Travelers returning from Antarctica are also exempt.
Death Toll Rising in 30 US States
The death toll from the CCP virus is rising in nearly two-thirds of U.S. states as a winter surge pushes the overall toll toward 400,000 amid warnings of a new, highly contagious variant.
The new variant seen in Britain is already spreading in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection has warned that it will probably become the main source of infections in the country by March.
Over 100,000 more Americans will die from the CCP virus in the next month or so, the incoming Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said Sunday.
Trump Lifts Travel Ban for UK, Brazil
President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Jan. 18 lifting the CCP virus travel ban for most of Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil. The proclamation makes clear that travel restrictions will remain in place for China and Iran.
President-elect Joe Biden’s spokesperson said that Biden will block Trump’s order.
Outbreak Spreads to More Regions in China
Chinese authorities locked down more cities on Jan. 18 in an effort to curb the spread of the CCP virus. Several others were upgraded from medium- to high-risk for virus spread—meaning residents were required to take nucleic acid tests.
Meanwhile, food prices have skyrocketed, especially in cities under lockdown. Prices were at least 50 percent higher than in cities not under strict quarantine policies.
UK Has Vaccinated 4 Million People
Over four million people in the UK have received their first dose of the CCP virus vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday.
He said the UK is on track to deliver the government’s plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February, which account for 88 percent of all deaths from the CCP virus.
Beijing Must Allow Full, Transparent Investigation
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is calling on Beijing to be transparent with a team of investigators from the World Health Organization (WHO) who are currently in China to study the origin of the CCP virus.
After months of painstaking negotiations, Beijing finally agreed to allow international experts to visit China to investigate the origin of the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. The planned trip to China hit a snag in early January, after the WHO publicly criticized Beijing for delaying the experts’ visit.
Swiss Quarantine 2 Hotels Over New Variant
Swiss authorities say they have placed two hotels under quarantine and ordered all guests and employees to be tested after a new variant of the CCP virus was detected among them in the upscale skiing resort of St. Moritz.
Local authorities said Monday they have also closed down skiing schools, regular schools, and kindergartens. Officials did not reveal the names of the two affected facilities but Swiss media said both were luxury hotels.
Slovakia to Test Nearly All Citizens in 9 Days
Slovakia is launching a project to test almost all citizens for the CCP virus in nine days as the government hopes the nationwide testing will speed up a recovery from the latest wave of the infections, make it possible for students to return to school in February, help the health system, and ease restrictions that harm the economy.
The nationwide testing is set to start Monday and will be completed on Jan. 26. It’s not mandatory but all people who want to go to work will need to have a negative test for the CCP virus beginning Jan. 27. Slovakia entered a tough lockdown before Christmas that included a round-the-clock curfew.
‘Not Right’ to Vaccinate Young Before Old: WHO
The head of the World Health Organization says it’s “not right” that younger, healthier adults in rich countries get vaccinated before older people in poorer countries.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus kicked off the WHO’s week-long executive board meeting on Monday by lamenting that only 25 vaccine doses have been provided in a single poor country, while over 39 million doses have been administered in nearly 50 richer nations.
UK Variant Gains Foothold in Belgium
The new variant of COVID-19 first detected in the UK is now starting to gain a foothold in Belgium, officials say, with cases reported in several northern schools on top of an outbreak in a nursing home.
The town of Houthulst in northwestern Belgium shot up to the top of the country’s infection rate, with 1,207 cases per 100,000 over the past 14 days after a spike in cases at a nursing home left over 100 people infected. Tests showed the new variant was to blame. Belgium has seen 20,435 confirmed deaths during the pandemic.
UK Travel Corridors Closed
The UK has closed all its travel corridors with other countries in an attempt to stem the spread of new CCP virus variants into the country. The measure, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday, came into force at 4 a.m. on Monday.
The change means that all passengers traveling to the UK must have a negative CCP virus test taken within 72 hours of departure. Anyone arriving without a test result faces a fine of up to £500 ($677). Travelers must also transfer immediately into isolation upon arrival. The isolation period lasts for 10 days, unless the passenger tests negative after five days.
‘Sudden Collapses’ in China
As the Chinese New Year approaches, the CCP virus pandemic has fortified its momentum with a second wave of outbreaks in a number of Chinese provinces.
Instances of people suffering a “sudden collapse” have resurfaced on the streets, resembling the cases seen in Wuhan and other areas during China’s first wave of the virus around the Lunar New Year in 2020. A Jan. 11 video uploaded on Chinese social media shows a person lying on the ground motionless, close to a local COVID-19 testing site where many residents were waiting in line.
California Calls for Pause in Batch of Moderna Vaccines
California officials late Sunday directed COVID-19 vaccine providers to not administer any doses from a batch of over 330,000 vaccines that was circulated across the state.
The reason was a “higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions,” California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said in a statement. The doses were produced by Moderna.
Frank Fang, Alexander Zhang, Zachary Stieber, Frank Yue, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.