Health authorities in China stated that they detected the B.1.617 strain among inbound travelers.
China expects that over 265 million trips around the country will take place next week. This is reportedly due to the five-day Labor day holiday.
Aside from this, authorities and officials are on “high alert” following the detection of the so-called “Indian variant” of COVID-19 in some cities. South China Morning Post reported that the diagnosis came from “a number of people coming into the country.”
Worries and concerns among the public
On Thursday, Chief epidemiologist Wu Zunyou said that concerns and worries among the public have grown recently. This comes after they found the B.1.617 variant among “imported cases” of COVID-19.
He did not specify, however, the exact number of cases that have involvement with the said strain. Nevertheless, he pointed out that the pandemic is “far from over” after referencing the dramatic surge of cases in India.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization stated that the B.1.617 strain had already spread across 17 countries. It remains unclear, however, if this variant is the cause of the current crisis in India.
Positive cases among inbound travellers
The publication continued that China has seen a 20 percent increase in its COVID-19 cases for the month of April. National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng also stated that this equates to the total number of 364.
Alongside this, 40 percent of the total cases that emerged last week across the globe were from neighboring countries. Hence, it is not surprising why concerns have become apparent these past few days.
In the same engagement, officials provided some details about the new inbound cases. 11 sailors who previously made stops in Singapore, Bangladesh, and India tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
The day prior, authorities from Chongqing registered four new cases from India and one from Nepal. The reports did not include, though, whether these cases are all related to the Indian variant.
“Immense stress test” amid holiday
Following all the occurrences and data, China is now keeping a “wary eye” on its border. As the holiday approaches, Wang Bin from the NHC stated that the government will “deploy staff to ensure ventilation and sanitation” in public spaces.
They are also reportedly preparing for an “immense stress test” starting next week. Moreover, the immunization drive will continue even during the holiday.
China aims to vaccinate 40 percent of its total population come the month of June. While 240 million doses have already been administered, the number translates to an insignificant ratio. As noted, it represents about 17.4 doses per 100 people.