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A year after Wuhan lockdown, China sees small rise in COVID-19 cases

The National Health Commission said 107 new COVID-19 cases had been identified in the mainland on Saturday, up from 103 cases the day before.

January 23, 2021 / 04:02 PM IST
Reuters

Reuters

China on Saturday reported more new cases of COVID-19 and the financial hub of Shanghai imposed new restrictions, as the country marked the anniversary of the world's first coronavirus lockdown in Wuhan city, where the disease emerged in late 2019.

The National Health Commission said 107 new COVID-19 cases had been identified in the mainland on Saturday, up from 103 cases the day before.

The commission said in a statement that 90 of the new cases were local infections.

The northeastern province of Heilongjiang recorded 56 new cases and neighbouring Jilin province had 13. Beijing and Shanghai recorded three new cases each, and the province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, recorded 15 new cases.

Shanghai's health commission designated a new medium-risk area in the city's northern Baoshan district, locking down a neighbourhood in response to two new cases. The city had earlier named a hotel and a neighbourhood near its historic riverfront Bund as medium-risk areas.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 99 from 119 cases a day earlier.

Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in some areas on Friday and Shanghai was testing all hospital staff as China faced its worst novel coronavirus outbreak since March, with families fretting over Lunar New Year reunion plans.

Also on Friday, China reported its first cluster of cases among workers in a meat processing plant in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang, raising consumer concerns.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China stands at 88,911, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635.

Wuhan shut down transport networks and suspended outgoing flights on Jan. 23, 2020, in an attempt to cut off transmission of the virus.

China on Friday premiered a documentary film to mark the anniversary of the lockdown, part of a broader effort to cast China's early response to COVID-19 in a positive light after some suggestions, which authorities reject, of an initial delay.

Zhong Guo, a Wuhan retiree dancing to traditional music near the banks of the Yangtze River said that life in the city was "definitely better" a year after the lockdown began.

"But you still have to be on your guard. You need to protect yourself, wear a mask and base your methods of protection on science," he said.

More than 2 million people around the world have died from the novel coronavirus, according to a Reuters tally.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Reuters
first published: Jan 23, 2021 04:01 pm

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