While all eyes are on China, it is not the only nation witnessing a surge. Cases are also on the rise in South Korea, Japan, the United States, UK and Brazil
While most of the reports are focusing on the dramatic COVID-19 surge in China, other countries aren’t going unscathed.
South Korea, Japan, the United States and Brazil have all witnessed a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist who serves as the technical lead for the COVID-19 response team at the World Health Organisation (WHO), has estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 people are dying of COVID-19 every week.
Which is leading people to ask – is COVID-19 back?
Let’s take a look at the stats and what the government is saying:
Japan on Wednesday registered 206,943 new cases.
This is the first time that the single-day tally crossed the 200,000-mark since 25 August, health authorities have confirmed.
According to the Health Ministry, this is an increase of 16,100 new cases from the same day a week earlier, reported Xinhua news agency.
Of the total infections, Tokyo confirmed 21,186 new cases, with the figure for the capital rising week-on-week for a 16th straight day, and up by 2,374 cases the same time a week ago, the Ministry said on Wednesday.
The figure also exceeded 20,000 new infections in Tokyo for a second consecutive day, according to the data, with the capital on Wednesday also reporting 20 deaths.
This also comes a month after Japan saw nearly 1 million visitors in November, as per CNA.
The country in October scrapped its COVID-19 restrictions which had brought tourism to an abrupt halt.
On Thursday, South Korea recorded over 75,000 cases amid fears of a winter surge, as per Yonhap News Agency.
That’s 5,600 more than last week.
The agency quoted the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) as saying that the country has seen a steady rise in the infection numbers in recent weeks.
One in 6 people have now been reinfected with COVID-19, the KDCA also said.
As per Business Insider, the US has registered a staggering 15,89,284 cases in the past 28 days.
This, as John Hopkins University has said that COVID-19 cases in the US have surpassed 100 million and that the virus has claimed the lives of 1,088,236 people in the country.
The United Kingdom recorded 46,042 COVID-19 cases on Thursday – its rolling 7-day average is 6,577 cases.
As per the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), hospital admission rates for COVID-19 touched 9.56 per 100,000 in the week beginning 12 December.
The week before that figure was at 6.61.
With cases of the flu also on the rise, experts are now advising people that feel unwell to stay home.
The Guardian quoted Dr Mary Ramsay, the director of public health programmes at UKHSA, as saying, “Both Covid and flu can cause severe illness or even death for those most vulnerable in our communities, and so it is also important to avoid contact with other people if you are unwell in order to help stop infections spreading over the Christmas and new year period.”
Brazil is also having a rough go.
As per Business Insider, Brazil has reported 9,45,568 cases and 3,125 deaths in nearly the past month.
How is the Indian government responding?
The Centre on Friday asked states and Union territories to take measures to avoid overcrowding and ensure adequate ventilation for indoor gatherings and wearing of masks in crowded places.
In a letter to states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan stressed on monitoring and reporting of district-wise influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) cases in all health facilities on a regular basis for detecting the early rising trend of cases.
These cases may also be tested for COVID-19, Bhushan said.
Ensure higher samples for whole genome sequencing amongst positive samples of COVID-19 in the community so as to enable timely detection of new variants, if any, in the country, he wrote.
“Considering the upcoming festive season and new year celebrations, there is need to put in place requisite public health measures and other arrangements to minimize risk of increase in transmission of the disease by maintaining and strengthening focus on test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, i.e. use of mask, hand and respiratory hygiene and adherence to physical distancing,” he said.
Bhushan asked the states to ensure adequate testing in all districts, maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and antigen tests, and take stock of existing hospital capacities in terms of bed availability, logistic requirements as well as need for re-orientation of healthcare workers in clinical management of COVID-19 to remain prepared for any surge in cases. This may be tested by conducting “dry runs” in hospitals, he said.
“COVID-19 vaccination efforts need to be bolstered by creating community awareness. Special focus on increasing the coverage of ‘precaution dose’ is required by all states and UTs.
“In terms of preparedness for upcoming festivities, it is essential that all measures are put in place with relevant stakeholders like event organisers, business owners, market associations, etc. to avoid overcrowding, ensure adequate ventilation especially in indoor settings, wearing of masks in such places where crowds congregate,” he said in the letter.
In the last few weeks, COVID-19 cases across the world have registered an increasing trajectory. India, however, continues to show a sustained decreasing trajectory of cases since the last few months and currently 153 new cases on an average are being reported daily across the country, the letter stated.
Bhushan also stressed on effective compliance of the detailed operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy for Covid-19 as shared by the Union Ministry.
Meanwhile, the Health ministry is mulling reintroduction of mandatory air suvidha forms with negative report of RT-PCR test conducted 72 hours prior to travel or complete vaccination proof for passengers coming from China and other countries reporting high number of Covid cases.
A decision on this is likely to be taken next week after monitoring the global situation.
On Thursday, the Centre said that two per cent of passengers arriving on each international flight will be subject to random coronavirus tests from 24 December.
Also on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned people against complacency and urged them to wear masks in crowded places, while also directing officials to strengthen surveillance measures, especially at international airports.
At a high-level meeting, Modi reiterated that “Covid is not over yet” and advised states to audit Covid-specific facilities to ensure operational readiness of hospital infrastructure, including oxygen cylinders, PSA plants, ventilators and human resources.
Prime Minister Modi urged everyone to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks in crowded public places, at all times, especially in view of the upcoming festive season, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
With inputs from agencies
This article originally appeared on https://www.firstpost.com/ and was reproduced here with permission