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A new outbreak of Covid-19 in China has sent ripples of fear through the world of a second wave of infections, especially Asian countries. A number of Asian countries have had some success in controlling Covid-19 and are now reopening their battered economies.
Several Asian countries that have eased restrictions and resumed some level of economic activity. Including Australia; Japan and South Korea; have in the last month reported new outbreaks of Covid-19.
Their Capital cities have been the sites of most infections, partly due to their high human traffic. China’s second covid-19 outbreak is in Beijing. With at least 184 new cases reported since last week. Authorities cancelled scores of domestic flights, banned outbound travel, and also imposed lockdowns.
Paul Ananth Tambyah, president of the Asia-Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection, said Asian countries most at risk of a second wave were those with ongoing cases of local transmission.
Asia Countries with high infections that Tambyah alluded to include India, which on Friday recorded the highest one-day spike of 13,586 coronavirus cases. Raising the total to 380,532, the fourth highest in the world.
In neighbouring Pakistan, 136 more deaths were reported as of Friday. Bringing Covid-19 related fatalities to 3,229 and overall infections to 165,062.
In Indonesia, the country has boosted sample testing to meet a target of 20,000 per day. The country reported 1,331 new covid-19 infections on Thursday. Its biggest daily increase since the outbreak started. Bringing the total number of cases to 42,762. Fatalities stood at 2,339.
In the clearest sign that the pandemic is here to stay, Tambyah said. Asian countries that have overcome the first wave are now gearing up to stem the emergence of a second wave.
Second Wave of Covid-19 hits South Korea
South Korea added 49 new cases on Friday, including 32 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,306, according to the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of new daily Covid-19 cases marks a slight slowdown from a three-week high of 59 a day earlier. 26 of the Covid-19 cases were reported in Seoul and nearby metropolitan areas.
Lee Hoan-jong, Emeritus Professor at the Seoul National University Children’s Hospital, said it was inevitable for Covid-19 to spread. Above all since the country eased social distancing about a month earlier.
“A second wave of infections can come at any time until a Covid-19 vaccine is available Lee said.
Japan Epidemiologists fear second wave
Also worrisome is the situation in Japan, where health experts say there is a high likelihood of a second wave of the coronavirus hitting the country.
Officials in Tokyo confirmed 41 new coronavirus infections on Thursday. Marking the third time in the week that the capital logged more than 40 cases in a day. This brings the total cases in Tokyo to 5,674.
According to Kazuhiro Tateda, president of the Japan Association of Infectious Diseases (JAID) says many of the recent cases in Tokyo can be traced back to the city’s nightlife districts.
Tateda said that even though these clusters were easier to control as they were linked to traceable parts of the city, there was always the risk of more localized outbreaks.
“We do know that there is a lower risk of transmission in the summer months, which means that there is a chance of a second wave … from October onwards,” Tateda added.
To guard against a second wave, authorities have drawn up a series of guidelines that the nightlife industry to abide by.
Australia not out of the woods
Things are also not looking well down under in Australia. Where dozens of new cases were recorded in the past week, the majority from Victoria.
On June 17, the state recorded its biggest single-day increase in more than a month with 21 new cases. Prompting Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews to warn that the pandemic was “far from over”. Another 13 cases were added to Victoria’s total on June 19th, bringing the total Covid-19 cases to 1,792.
But as to what this second wave of the virus would look like, many experts remain uncertain.
Michael Baker, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago said the term “second wave” dated back to the 1918 influenza pandemic. Which had three distinct waves in some parts of the world, with the second generally being the most severe.
He said the likelihood of a second wave would vary depending on the strategies countries used.
“New Zealand, for example, came out of a lockdown very cautiously into a virus-free country, so there were no cases that could start a fresh outbreak,” Baker said.
“Several other countries in Asia are also containing this virus in a similar way, so [we] will not expect to see many cases as they reduce their lockdowns.”
Thailand free of local covid-19 cases
On Sunday June 22 Thailand reported one new coronavirus case, a young boy who returned from overseas. Bringing Thailand’s total number of Covid-19 cases to 3,148. Thailand has now gone 27 days without a single locally transmitted covid-19 case.
Furthermore the total number recovered from covid-19 is 3,018, 72 are hospitalized. The accumulated death toll of Covid-19 is still at 58.
Despite Thailand’s success in quelling local covid-19 transmissions, the health department reminded the public to continue to wear face masks. Also use the Thai Chana platform to check in and out of stores and other public places.
Source: Asia One