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China warns of a second COVID-19 wave as high death rate in Brazil and New Zealand is recorded

South Africans from Wuhan are home

China warns of a second COVID-19 wave as Brazil and New Zealand record-high death rate. After months of lockdowns and curbs on travel, China has largely brought the virus under control, but fears of a second wave have risen as clusters have emerged in northeast provinces and in the central city of Wuhan.

China faces a potential second wave of coronavirus infections due to a lack of immunity among its population, its government’s senior medical advisor has warned.

“The majority of… Chinese at the moment are still susceptible of the Covid-19 infection, because (of) a lack of immunity,” Zhong Nanshan, the public face of government’s response to the pandemic, told CNN.

“We are facing (a) big challenge,” Zhong added. “It’s not better than the foreign countries I think at the moment.” Zhong, who helped expose the scale of the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), also said authorities in ground-zero Wuhan had under-reported cases during the early days of the pandemic.

“The local authorities, they didn’t like to tell the truth at that time,” said Zhong, who was part of a team of experts sent to Wuhan to investigate the outbreak.

“I didn’t believe that result (the number of cases reported) so I (kept) asking and then, you have to give me the real number,” he said. But he added he believed data published after Wuhan was locked down in late January, and when the central government took control of the response, “will be correct”.

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 309 296 people, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP, with scientists around the world racing to find a vaccine. Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll passed 15 000 on Saturday, official data showed, while its number of infections topped 230 000, making it the country with the fourth-highest number of cases in the world.

With 15 633 deaths and 233 142 confirmed cases, Brazil – whose president Jair Bolsonaro has dismissed the disease as a “little flu” – is at the epicentre of infections in Latin America. Experts say under-testing means the real figures could be 15 times higher or more, and warn the worst is yet to come.

The sprawling South American country registered 816 deaths and 14 919 new cases in the past 24 hours. Despite the rising tolls, Bolsonaro on Saturday attacked lockdown measures taken by some governors to contain the spread of the virus.

“Unemployment, hunger and misery will be the future of those who support the tyranny of total isolation,” the far-right president tweeted, a day after Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned after less than a month on the job.

Source – News24

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