The team of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) in charge of investigating the origin of the coronavirus arrived in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday, January 14, after the controversy in recent weeks over the obstacles imposed by Beijing according to complaints from WHO itself. Meanwhile, Japan further shields its borders while tightening the state of emergency. Portugal will return this coming Friday to strict confinement after the increase in cases by Covid-19.
The cases of Covid-19 do not stop increasing in what is already known as the third wave of the virus, powered by the new and more contagious British strain. Meanwhile, the expert committee of the World Health Organization arrived in Wuhan on Thursday amid strict security measures in search of the origin of the coronavirus.
Since more than a year ago the first case of infection by Covid-19 was detected, the world already has a total of more than 92 million confirmed cases, according to data from the portal Our World in Data, being the American continent the most affected with more than 40 million cases in total. The number of deaths in the world is close to two million, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.
Next, the most outstanding news of this January 14 about the pandemic.
- The WHO mission is already in Wuhan to investigate the origin of the virus
Amid strict security measures and with the cameras of the Chinese public television CGTN waiting for them, experts from the World Health Organization arrived in Wuhan this Thursday, January 14, to begin an investigation into the origins of the virus that has been carrying more than a year disturbing the normal course of everyday life around the world.
Last week, the controversy arose around this “priority” mission for the WHO, after the director general of this UN body, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared he was “very disappointed” by the obstacles imposed by Beijing to the visit of the committee of experts. However, on Monday, he welcomed the renewed intention of the Chinese government to cooperate with the project.
During the trip to China, two members of the group of 15 scientists from various countries had to stay in Singapore after having tested positive for antibodies. There they will undergo further tests before being able to fly to China, while their companions will have to pass a 14-day quarantine before they can start their investigations.
“We are looking for the answers that can save us in the future – not culprits or people to blame,” WHO’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan told reporters this week. The objective of the mission is to find the possible animal origin of SARS-CoV-2 and its transmission channels to humans, although the official Chinese press has spread an alternative narrative that ensures that the virus arrived in the country through frozen food. from abroad.
The visit of the WHO experts coincides with the confirmation of the first death from Covid-19 in China since last May 17. According to the National Health Commission of China, the death occurred in the northeastern province of Hebei, the scene of an outbreak that forced the closure of three cities, including the capital Shijiazhuang, with 11 million inhabitants.
- Japan is strengthening its state of emergency and shielding its borders.
This Thursday, January 14, Japan launches new border measures, stricter than the previous ones, which will close its borders to non-residents, with exceptions. In addition, the possibility of deportation to foreigners who do not comply with the quarantine imposed on anyone who enters the country is included.
Given the increase in cases in the country, Japan decided to suspend the “safe business corridor” that it had established with 11 Asia-Pacific countries and protect its borders. From now on, everyone who enters the country must submit an affidavit in which he accredits the authorities to publicly disclose any information about him that helps prevent Covid-19 infections.
The new rules include the possibility of deportation and loss of residence permits for foreigners who fail to comply with the mandatory 14-day isolation. Japanese citizens will be able to see their first and last names, as well as other information, made public.
The state of health emergency also lasts until February 7, in 11 of the 47 prefectures of the country, which encompass more than half the population and 60% of the economy. Japan’s efforts are aimed at lowering the number of infections and deaths, which now amount to 4,233 and set off alarms for the Olympic Games.
- Portugal begins a new confinement on Friday due to high hospital pressure
Portugal has experienced an exponential increase in positive cases and deaths in recent weeks that maintain high pressure in its hospitals. The country of 10 million inhabitants has a total of 116,328 active cases and 4,240 admitted to hospitals, of which 596 are in the ICU. With these data and the 8,236 total deaths from Covid-19, Portugal begins a new confinement tomorrow Friday that will last at least a month.
The government decided, however, to keep schools and basic services open, although it will try to prioritize teleworking. In addition, the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, ruled the suspension of non-urgent activity in hospitals and the postponement of all normal or priority priority surgeries, if they do not pose a risk to the patient.
These measures will be relaxed on January 24 so that all citizens called to the polls can exercise their right to vote without complications in the general elections. The government also hopes that all medical personnel and the elderly in nursing homes will be “fully immunized” by next March.
“The hope that the vaccine gives us to be able to defeat the pandemic is the same hope that fuels the relaxation that makes the pandemic more dangerous,” the prime minister of Portugal and favorite for re-election, Antonio Costa, told reporters.
- Israel: more than 9,000 daily cases for the third day in a row
Israel is the country that leads the vaccination process in the world. It has already vaccinated 20% of its population with a first dose and more than 100,000 have already received the second. Despite this, the country exceeded 9,000 daily infections for the third day in a row, with 9,388 cases diagnosed on Wednesday, with which they accumulate almost 79,000 active cases. According to the Ministry of Health, more than a thousand patients are hospitalized in serious condition.
All these data come almost three weeks after the authorities ordered the third confinement during the pandemic, which hardened a week ago after the closure of schools and non-essential shops. Meanwhile, the data obtained from the vaccination process show that after the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, infections would reduce by 50% after 14 days.
With EFE and Reuters.