A SECOND wave of coronovirus infections is threatening to sweep across Asia as people who were aborad during the initial devastating outbreak head for home. South Korea, China and Singapore have all reported a surge in non-domestic cases believed to be sparked by citizens importing the virus as they return from overseas.
We may face a third wave of this virus, which would be greater than a tsunami
Noor Hisham Abdullah
Singapore has reported 47 new cases, of which 33 were imported – 30 by returning residents of the city state.
South Korea today confirmed a jump in cases with 152 new infections but it is not clear how many were imported.
A new cluster there is centred on a nursing home in Daegu, where 74 patients have tested positive.
China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported no domestically transmitted cases in China for the first time since the virus emerged in late December.
It also said there were no cases at all in Wuhan, the outbreak centre which was essentially locked down earlier this year, but 34 cases arriving from abroad.
China’s death toll stands at 3,245, however there have been ongoing questions over the reliability of China’s data.
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Japan has reported three new cases but officials in Hokkaido, the worst-affected region with 154 cases, said the spread of the virus appeared to be ending and are lifting the state of emergency imposed since last month.
Regional leaders have urged people to remain cautious and stay at home, but said there had been “no surge of infected patients that led to the collapse of the medical environment”.
Hokkaido governor Naomichi Suzuki said: “We’ve carried out powerful measures on refraining from going out, but from now on, we will move into a stage of reducing risks of the spread of infection while maintaining social and economic activities.”
All four countries had all been showing success in controlling domestic cases, but there is concern that increases elsewhere could unravel their progress.
Malaysia has 710 confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest number in South East Asia, with many linked to a religious event in Kuala Lumpur last month.
Noor Hisham Abdullah, director general of Health Malaysia, said: “We have a slim chance to break the chain of COVID-19 infections.
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“Failure is not an option here. If not, we may face a third wave of this virus, which would be greater than a tsunami, if we maintain a ‘so what’ attitude.”
Figures from the Johns Hopkins University in the US show there are 215,955 coronavirus cases globally and 8,749 deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said 80 percent of all cases had beeb reported across Europe and the Western Pacific region, which includes much of Asia.
In Britain, 104 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus and tens of thousands of people are thought to be infected.
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