First detected in South Africa, the B.1.351 variant spreads faster and is more contagious, but there’s still no concrete evidence suggesting that it is deadlier.
In addition, about 149 people have died after getting a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine in the United States, according to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
UK Passes 100,000 Deaths as Outbreak Still Rages
More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus, a year into Europe’s deadliest outbreak, figures from the government showed Tuesday.
This toll is more than twice as many people as were killed by German bombs in Britain in the 1940–41 Blitz, and 30,000 more than the total number of British civilians killed during the six years of World War II.
Hong Kong Locks Down One More Area and Mandates Overnight Testing
Hours after the Jordan area re-opened after a 48-hour lockdown, the Hong Kong authorities locked down the Yao Ma Tei area in Kowloon.
Starting from 7 p.m., Jan. 26, residents at 15–27 Pitt Street and 3 Tung On Street are required to complete COVID testing by midnight. All are prohibited from leaving the “restricted area” until the compulsory testing is complete.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at her weekly briefing earlier on Jan. 26 that future lockdowns will involve fewer streets and be more sudden than the Jordan one.
Global Infection Rate Reached 100 Million
Global confirmed cases of the CCP virus passed the 100 million mark on Tuesday.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. Some 8.8 percent of global working hours were lost last year due to the pandemic, roughly four times the number lost in the 2009 financial crisis, but there are “tentative signs” of recovery, the International Labour Organisation said on Monday.
France’s New Hospitalizations and ICU Treatments Rise Sharply
The number of people hospitalized in France for the CCP virus rose by more than 1,000 over the last two days, a trend unseen since Nov 16, and the number of patients in intensive care units for the disease exceeded 3,000 for the first time since Dec 9.
The country’s COVID-19 death toll was up by 445, at 73,494, the world’s seventh-highest, versus a rise of 172 on Sunday. The seven-day moving average of new fatalities increased to 401, the highest since Dec. 9. France’s cumulative total of cases now stands at 3,057,857—the sixth-highest in the world.
Indonesia Confirms Cases Exceed 1 Million
Indonesia’s confirmed CCP virus infections since the pandemic began crossed 1 million on Tuesday and hospitals in some hard-hit areas were near capacity.
Indonesia’s Health Ministry announced that new daily infections rose by 13,094 on Tuesday to bring the country’s total to 1,012,350, the most in Southeast Asia. The total number of deaths reached 28,468.
Dutch Police Detain Over 180 in 3rd Night of Curfew Violence
Dutch police detained more than 180 people in a third night of unrest in cities across the Netherlands, where roaming groups of rioters set fires, threw rocks, and looted stores in violence triggered by a night curfew aimed at curbing the CCP virus.
The first curfew since World War Two followed a warning by the National Institute for Health (RIVM) over a new wave of infections due to the “British variant” of the virus, and was imposed on Saturday despite weeks of declines in new infections.
UK to Help Other Countries Identify New Variants
The UK government said on Tuesday it will offer its genomics expertise to identify new variants of the CCP virus to countries that do not have the resources to do so.
The New Variant Assessment Platform, led by Public Health England (PHE), will offer Britain’s capacity to analyze new virus strains to other countries who are in need of such expertise. The UK has carried out more than half of all SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences submitted to the global database, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
UK Eyes Quarantine Hotels for Travelers to Curb Variants
Britain appears ready to order some travelers arriving from abroad to isolate in hotels at their own expense in an attempt to stop the import of new virus variants.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said there would be an announcement Tuesday on plans for tighter border measures. The BBC reported that UK citizens and residents arriving from most of southern Africa and South America, as well as Portugal, will have to self-isolate in a hotel for 10 days at their own expense.
Minnesota Detects First Case of Brazil Variant in US
A new Brazilian variant of the CCP virus has made its first known appearance in the United States in a person who recently returned to Minnesota after traveling to Brazil, state health officials announced Monday.
The Brazil P.1 variant was found in a specimen from a patient who lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area who became ill in the first week of January, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement. Epidemiologists are interviewing the person to obtain more details about their illness, travel, and contacts. There was no immediate indication that the variant was spreading in Minnesota.
Terri Wu, Alexander Zhang, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.