Covid latest news: It was around October in 2019 that the SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes the coronavirus disease or Covid-19, first reared its ugly head leading to a worldwide wave of infection and death. "Results infer that SARS-CoV-2 emerged in China in early October to mid-November (2019), and by January (2020), had spread globally," a study by researchers of Britain's University of Kent had said.
Exactly two years since the outbreak, spike in Covid cases has been reported in China, Russia, New Zealand and several other countries raising fears of yet another deadly wave of the infectious disease.
While China has imposed strict lockdown in Lanzhou city, Russia is preparing to shutdown offices for at least a week in November as Covid cases show an upward trend again.
A day after strict restrictions were imposed in Ejin county amid a rise in Covid cases, Chinese authorities on Tuesday put Lanzhou, a city of four million, under lockdown to prevent cases from spreading further. Beijing classified one area as medium-risk on Monday and a residential community as high risk for COVID-19 as total cases in the city rose to 21 while 33 cases were reported in different parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong has decided to tighten COVID-19 restrictions despite a lack of local outbreaks to better align with China's policies and increase chances of quarantine-free travel between the territory and mainland, leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a government proposal for a week-long workplace shutdown at the start of November to combat a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths, Reuters reported.
"The epidemiological situation is developing differently in each region. In light of this, the heads of regions are given the right to impose additional measures," Putin said in a televised message.
New Zealand reported 109 new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Monday. Most number of the cases were reported from country's largest city, Auckland. Incidentally, the country saw its second-worst day of daily infections since the pandemic began.
New Zealand, which was lauded for defeating the Covid threat earlier this year, has been unable to contain the spread of Delta variant of the disease in Auckland despite the city being under strict lockdown for over two months now.
Tumbling COVID-19 case counts have some schools around the US considering relaxing their mask rules, but deaths nationally have been ticking up over the past few weeks, some rural hospitals are showing signs of strain, and cold weather is setting in, news agency AP reported.
The number of new cases nationally has been plummeting since the delta surge peaked in mid-September. The US is averaging about 73,000 new cases per day, dramatically lower than the 173,000 recorded on September 13. And the number of Americans in the hospital with COVID-19 has plummeted by about half to around 47,000 since early September.
Despite the daily Covid cases graph continuing its downward journey for the past several weeks, there's a major concern of the infection spreading rapidly again in view of the upcoming festive season. West Bengal is already reporting an uptick in Covid cases after Durga Puja. Meanwhile, seven people in Karnataka have been found to be infected with the new 'AY 4.2' COVID-19 variant, triggering fear of a possible third wave of the pandemic in the state.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said that a team is investigating the new variant AY.4.2. "ICMR and NCDC teams study and analyse the different variants," Madaviya told reporters in New Delhi.
(With inputs from agencies)