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    China has locked down the city as the number of Kovid-19 cases has risen worldwide


    China shut down a city of 13 million people on Thursday in a bid to quell a small Covid-19 outbreak and pursue its zero-case goal, as other countries around the world battled the rise of massive infections driven by the Omicron variant.

    Preliminary studies in South Africa and the UK have given some reason for hope, however, with fewer hospitalizations than the Delta variant indicating an omikron infection.

    Despite that preliminary data, however, scientists warn that Omicron is highly contagious, running record numbers of infections in many countries and forcing governments to tighten virus control.

    China has locked the northern city of Xian – home to world-famous terracotta fighters – to stamp a cluster of hundreds of cases.

    “I think there needs to be a lockdown,” a resident of Xi’an, who only wanted to be identified as Yuan, told AFP.

    Omicron has not been reported in Xi’an, with dozens of cases of less contagious delta variant being detected in the city of 13 million people in recent days.

    But the Chinese government, following its zero-case strategy ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics, responded with normal force and instructed all Xi’an residents to stay indoors.

    Only one person in each family can go out every two days to buy essentials, when unnecessary business is closed.

    This is going to be the most restricted mass sporting event since the start of the Olympic pandemic in February, international spectators have been banned and all participants must live in a closed-loop system.

    In addition to the mandatory vaccinations before landing in China, all athletes and staff inside the bubble must go through daily tests.

    Those who test positive will not be able to participate, officials said.

    ‘More alert than ever’

    According to AFP data from official sources on Wednesday, Europe has been hit hard by the ongoing tidal wave, recording 60 percent of cases worldwide last week.

    Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Cruz said, “We need to be more vigilant in this period than ever before,” with an impending wave threatening to overwhelm the country’s already burned health workers.

    The European Union’s drug regulator last week allowed member states to use Pfizer’s covid treatment before formal approval as an emergency measure against omicon waves.

    And on Wednesday, Pfizer won U.S. approval for an anti-covid pill for high-risk people 12 years of age or older.

    Pills found in pharmacies are much easier to access than synthetic antibody treatments, which require infusions in hospitals or specialized centers.

    According to the White House, the United States has spent $ 5.3 billion to raise 10 million medical courses.

    AstraZeneca said Thursday that a third or booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine had “significantly” increased antibody levels against the Omicron strain in a laboratory study.

    ‘Eligible Good News’

    According to a UK study published on Wednesday, although the OMCron variant is less likely to be hospitalized than the Delta, although it is better able to bypass previous immunity.

    Two preliminary studies, one from England and the other from Scotland, have been cautiously welcomed by experts.

    They stressed that any benefit of a mild outcome could still be denied by the higher contagion of the new strain, which could lead to even more serious critical areas.

    “We’re saying this is good news,” said Jim McMenamin, co-author of the Scottish study.

    But healthcare workers in Europe say patients struggling to adapt to a constant current have not been withdrawn too much, many need intensive care.

    Doctors and nurses are in a state of “extreme fatigue,” said Marshall Munen, head of infectious disease services at a public hospital in Liege, Belgium.

    Several virologists and epidemiologists in the country have said they expect a fifth covid wave to hit in a few days.

    But Munen said: “We will still try to make sure everyone gets their Christmas holiday.”

    Read all the latest news, breaking news and coronavirus news here.

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