Shanghai has imposed lockdowns on two of China’s best-known hospitals after they were linked to new CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cases.
Outpatient services have been suspended at Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center and Renji Hospital, both of which have been cordoned off along with some surrounding residential communities.
China now finds itself on guard against new clusters of CCP virus infections that have been emerging largely in the country’s frigid north.
Lockdowns have been imposed in parts of Beijing and other cities following outbreaks, schools are letting out early and citizens have been told to stay home for next month’s Lunar New Year holiday.
South Korea Has Lowest Case Count in 2 Months
South Korea is reporting its smallest daily increase in virus infections in two months as officials express cautious hope that the country is beginning to wiggle out from its worst wave of the pandemic.
The 346 new cases reported Friday brought the national caseload to 74,262. There have been 1,328 deaths related to the CCP virus.
Mexico Posts New Daily Highs for Cases
Mexico has posted new one-day highs for the pandemic, with 22,339 newly confirmed virus infections and 1,803 deaths related to the CCP virus.
Mexico has recorded over 1.71 million confirmed cases and over 146,000 test-confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. However, official estimates suggest the real death toll is closer to 195,000.
Too Early to Say When Lockdown Will End, UK PM Says
It is too early to say when the national CCP virus lockdown in England will end, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday, as daily deaths from COVID-19 reach new highs and hospitals become increasingly stretched.
“I think it’s too early to say when we’ll be able to lift some of the restrictions,” Johnson told broadcasters. “What we’re seeing in the ONS data, in the REACT survey, we’re seeing the contagiousness of the new variant that we saw arrive just before Christmas. There’s no doubt it does spread very fast indeed.”
EU Summit Assesses Restrictions Amid Worrying Reports
European Union leaders assessed more measures to counter the spread of CCP virus variants, during a video summit Thursday as the bloc’s top disease control official said urgent action was needed to stave off a new wave of hospitalizations and deaths.
The 27 leaders were looking at further border restrictions, better tracking of mutations, and improving coordination of lockdowns, worried that another surge of deaths from the CCP virus across the EU was imminent. Some 400,000 EU citizens have died of COVID-19-related causes since the start of the pandemic.
Spain’s Health Minister to Resign as Cases Hit New Daily High
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa will resign next week to campaign in regional elections in Catalonia, an official from his party said on Thursday, while national authorities reported a record 44,357 new daily COVID-19 cases.
Illa, who has overseen Spain’s response to the CCP virus pandemic, had said he would step down when campaigning got underway for the election, which is set to take place on Feb. 14. The country has been routinely reporting record daily COVID-19 infections since the end of December.
Pelosi: House Will Move Immediately on Pandemic Relief
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House of Representatives will move immediately on passing a pandemic spending package.
In a news conference on Thursday, the California Democrat said her party will immediately move on a several-trillion dollar CCP virus deal. Pelosi’s comments suggest that the stimulus bill could be passed into law in early February. Another House session starts on the week of Feb. 1.
Czech Parliament Extends State of Emergency
The lower house of the Czech parliament on Thursday extended the country’s state of emergency until Feb. 14, a week less than the government had wanted as it seeks to keep in place measures to tamp down COVID-19 infections.
The country of 10.7 million has been one of the worst-hit globally with 14,973 deaths so far and over 150 deaths most days this month as many hospitals are filled to capacity.
Honolulu Judge Drops Charges Against Former Surgeon General
A judge in Honolulu on Wednesday dismissed a case against former Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who faced criminal misdemeanor charges for allegedly violating local COVID-19 restrictions while in Hawaii to help with testing efforts.
In Tuesday’s filing of a motion to dismiss charges, newly elected Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm said in a statement cited by local outlet KITV, “a prosecutor’s paramount goal is to do justice. After a careful review of the facts and law in this case, I have determined that further prosecution of this matter would not achieve that goal.”
Dutch Lawmakers Back Curfew Despite Criticism
A majority of Dutch lawmakers backed the government’s planned curfew Thursday, despite fierce criticism from some opposition legislators.
The four parties that make up the ruling coalition and several opposition parties backed a curfew from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.—shifting the start a half-hour later than originally planned. The measure likely will come into force Saturday.
Sri Lanka Reopens to Tourists After 10 Months
Sri Lanka reopened to foreign tourists on Thursday after nearly 10 months of closure that cut deeply into the Indian Ocean island nation’s lucrative travel industry. Full operations also resumed at the island’s two international airports, accommodating the commercial flights.
Under new protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, tourists must be tested for the virus in their country 72 hours prior to their flight, when they arrive at their hotel in Sri Lanka, and again seven days later. They must stay in a “travel bubble” designated in 14 tourism zones without mixing with the local population. About 180 hotels have been earmarked for tourist accommodations.
Dubai Halts Elective Surgeries, Live Music as Cases Surge
Dubai has suspended elective surgeries for a month and live music at restaurants and hotels indefinitely as CCP virus infections surge in the Middle East trade hub.
Non-essential surgeries have been halted to ensure that health facilities are prepared to manage COVID-19 cases, Dubai’s health regulator said in a circular on Wednesday. Live entertainment, including DJs, live bands, and performers at hotels, restaurants, and beach clubs are suspended until further notice, the tourism department said.
Schools to Close as Pandemic Worsens in Portugal
Overwhelmed by record numbers of COVID-19 patients, doctors in Portuguese hospitals say they are exhausted and in despair. The government was preparing to shut all schools, kindergartens, and universities from Friday to try to halt the surge in CCP virus cases, the disease caused by COVID-19, state news agency Lusa reported on Thursday.
Western Europe’s poorest country coped well in the first wave of the pandemic last year but has been swamped in recent weeks by a faster-spreading variant of the virus, registering the world’s highest infection and death rates.
Vaccine Certificates to Become ‘New Norm’: Qatar Airways CEO
Anyone boarding an airplane will have to show proof that they were vaccinated against the CCP virus, the Qatar Airways CEO predicted this week.
Virtually all of the world’s airlines already require proof of a negative test to fly. Another airline executive, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, said late last year that the group was looking at changing terms and conditions to require people to get vaccinated against the virus before boarding one of the company’s planes.
Epidemic Ravaging Northeast China, Villages Evacuated
China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province has officially reported 448 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Jan. 18 but the public believes that the actual situation is much worse than the official data.
Wangkui County is the epicenter of the outbreak in the province. The situation is getting more severe, residents have told The Epoch Times. Local governments are enforcing stricter lockdown measures and all residents are subject to mandatory testing. Many villages in Wangkui County have been emptied out, with livestock and crops left unattended, they said.
Wangkui County, which is under the jurisdiction of Suihua City, is currently one of the four high-risk areas in mainland China. On Jan. 19, Wangkui County issued an announcement for tightened control measures for at least a week. Except for those in need of medical treatment and COVID-19 testing, all urban and rural residents of the county are prohibited from leaving their homes. Private vehicles have also been banned.
Alex Wu, Zachary Stieber, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.