There have been 38,905 new cases within the latest 24-hour period, according to official figures.
Beijing City Detects UK Variant Virus Patients
Authorities in Beijing announced that the capital detected the country’s first outbreak of the new UK variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Due to the lack of transparent information from Chinese authorities, it is unclear whether there have been other outbreaks of the UK variant in the country, nor exactly how many people were detected with the mutated virus.
Meanwhile, several more regions in northern China went under lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of the CCP virus.
35.9 Million Doses of Vaccines Distributed
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had administered 16,525,281 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Wednesday morning and distributed 35,990,150 doses.
The tally of vaccine doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the agency said.
Portugal Sets Records in One of World’s Worst Pandemic Surges
Portugal’s new daily virus cases jumped to more than 14,600 to set a new national record Wednesday, as the country weathers one of the worst pandemic surges in the world.
Health authorities officially reported 14,647 new infections—about 3,600 more than the previous daily record set four days ago. The surge shows no sign of easing, with the government and health experts predicting it will peak next week.
Netherlands Proposes First Curfew Since WWII
The Dutch government on Wednesday proposed the first nationwide curfew since World War Two and a ban on flights from South Africa and Britain in its toughest moves yet to limit the spread of the CCP virus in the Netherlands.
The flight ban, which Prime Minister Mark Rutte said also will apply to all South American countries, will begin on Saturday. The curfew was expected to take effect this weekend, he said. The curfew would allow only people with pressing needs to leave their homes between 8:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. local time.
Lidl Offers $200 to US Workers to Get Vaccination
German discount supermarket chain Lidl said on Wednesday it is providing an extra $200 to all its U.S. employees who get vaccinated for COVID-19, as states make shots more widely available.
The announcement follows similar moves from peers Aldi and Dollar General Corp, as well as grocery delivery firm Instacart, with Lidl’s incentive among the biggest a company has offered its U.S. workers so far.
China, WHO Should Have Acted Quicker, Panel Says
A panel of experts commissioned by the World Health Organization has criticized China and other countries for not moving to stem the initial outbreak of the CCP virus earlier, and questioned whether the UN health agency should have labeled it a pandemic sooner.
“What is clear to the panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January,” said the panel, which was led by former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
US Death Toll Tops 400,000
The U.S. death toll from the CCP virus eclipsed 400,000 on Tuesday, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. It is nearly equal to the number of Americans killed in World War II.
It is just short of the estimated 409,000 Americans who died in 2019 of strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, flu, and pneumonia combined. A widely cited model by the University of Washington projects the death toll will reach nearly 567,000 by May 1.
California Rep. Ruiz Tests Positive Hours Before Inauguration
Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, hours before the presidential inauguration.
Ruiz said in a statement on Twitter that he had taken multiple tests for the CCP virus in recent days ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
India to Supply Vaccine to Neighboring Nations
India began supplying CCP virus vaccines to its neighboring countries on Wednesday, as the world’s largest vaccine making nation strikes a balance between maintaining enough doses to inoculate its own people and helping developing countries without the capacity to produce their own shots.
India’s Foreign Ministry said the country would send 150,000 shots of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine, manufactured locally by Serum Institute of India, to Bhutan and 100,000 shots to the Maldives on Wednesday. Vaccines will also be sent to Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and the Seychelles in the coming weeks, the ministry said.
Chinese Locals Claim Authorities Are Concealing Outbreak’s Severity
The severity of the recent surge of COVID-19 infections in Qiqihar, the second-largest city in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang Province, has been concealed by officials, locals say. The Epoch Times interviewed Qiqihar residents on Jan. 18 and learned that the city has been locked down since last week, and many residential buildings were sealed off by authorities as part of measures to curb the spread of the CCP virus.
A Qiqihar resident, who requested anonymity due to security concerns, confirmed that the city has been in a state of lockdown since last week. He told The Epoch Times that trains and buses have halted services, locals are unable to travel, express delivery has been suspended, shopping malls and restaurants are closed, and only some small shops are open for business.
Billionaire Australian Andrew Forrest Hospitalized
Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest tested positive for the CCP virus during a global tour to seek out renewable energy projects. Despite being hospitalized with high-level care in a Swiss hospital for several days, he managed to complete his four-month tour, which lasted from August to December and spanned 47 countries.
“I would rather have not caught COVID but it hasn’t harmed me. I’m still as fit as a fiddle but the big thing is that it enabled us to put together a suite of assets to create a supply of renewable fuels and products which could rival the fossil-fuel sector,” he said. Forrest was fortunate enough to not need a respirator and continued his work while being hospitalized.
UK Variant Found in Czech Republic
The fast-spreading CCP virus variant first identified in the UK has been found in the Czech Republic, a health official confirmed. The National Institute of Public Health confirmed its findings after it announced over the weekend it was testing suspected samples.
Health Minister Jan Blatny said the variant accounts for about 10 percent of all sequenced samples in the country. No further details were provided.
Alexander Zhang, Nicole Hao, Zachary Stieber, Alex Wu, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times