WHO tackles new strains as China logs first COVID death in 8 months

WHO tackles new strains as China logs first COVID death in 8 months

Thursday, January 14, 2021

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GENEVA,Switzerland(AFP) — Global health experts gather on Thursday to tackle new strains of the coronavirus blamed for a fresh surge in infections after China recorded its first COVID-19 death in eight months.

The World Health Organization (WHO) emergency committee session comes with their colleagues seeking the origins of the virus on a long-delayed mission to the pandemic ground zero in Wuhan.

Almost two million of the more than 91 million people who have caught the disease have died, but the figures are widely believed to be an underestimate.

Much of the planet is facing a second or third wave of infections, with populations chafing under painful and economically damaging restrictions.

Lebanon went into full lockdown on Thursday with residents barred even from grocery shopping.

France is hoping to avoid another national lockdown with the government due to announce tighter controls such as an extended night curfew across the country.

But there was better news for those who have already had COVID-19, with a Britishstudysuggesting recovery can confer immunity for at least five months.

The research will be welcomed by UK healthcare workers struggling to cope with surging caseloads and a new, more infectious strain of the virus.

That strain, and another identified in South Africa, was going under the WHO microscopein Geneva on Thursday after being logged in dozens of countries.

WHO's emergency committee normally gathers every three months, but the meeting was brought forward "to consider issues that need urgent discussion".

In China, millions of people have been locked down again to try to tame a fresh outbreak that has now claimed its first victim.


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