Coronavirus News Asia

New cases in China, New Zealand sounds alarm


More than two dozen new coronavirus cases in China and the first New Zealand infections in almost one month on Tuesday underlined the immense challenges still ahead in containing the deadly pandemic, even as some EU nations reopened their borders to fellow Europeans.

More than eight million people have now been infected with the virus worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year – with more than 435,000 deaths – and the tolls are still surging in Latin America and South Asia.

Caseloads have declined across Europe, however, and governments are keen to ease lockdowns that have saved lives but devastated economies – despite experts warning that restrictions will be required until a vaccine or effective treatment is developed.

The latest reminder of the threat came on Tuesday from China, which had largely brought its outbreak under control, as 27 new infections were reported in Beijing, where a new cluster linked to a wholesale food market has sparked mass testing and neighborhood lockdowns.

“The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe,” Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned, as the number of confirmed infections soared to 106.

And New Zealand reported its first cases in almost one month – two recent arrivals from Britain – prompting authorities to start tracing their movements. 

The South Pacific nation had declared last week that it had ended community transmission of the virus.

While these cases have caused concern about the possibility of a full-blown resurgence in countries that have suppressed their outbreaks, the disease is gaining a worrying momentum in other regions with massive populations.

Known infections in India have crossed 330,000, and authorities already stretched by the Covid-19 outbreak are bracing for the monsoon season, which causes outbreaks of illness such as dengue fever and malaria every year.

With more than three decades as a doctor in India’s chronically underfunded public healthcare system, Vidya Thakur – medical superintendent at Mumbai’s Rajawadi Hospital – is used to managing “heavy burdens.”



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