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World Roundup: Wuhan: 1st case in a month

UVC lamps in virus fight • 4 million cases worldwide

China on Sunday reported the first case of coronavirus in over a month in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak first started in December last year.

China’s National Health Commission also reported the first double-digit increase in countrywide cases in nearly 10 days, saying 14 new infections had been confirmed.

Two of the cases were imported into the country from overseas, the commission said.

The virus first emerged in Wuhan, a major industrial and transport city in central China, in December. The total number infected in China is 82,901, with an official death toll of 4,633.

UVC lamps light way in virus fight

Could a new type of ultraviolet lamp be used in stations, airplanes and schools to kill dangerous viruses, becoming a gamechanger in the COVID-19 fight?

Researchers at Columbia University have been working on such uses for years, and the current pandemic could confirm the value of their efforts.

UVC lamps have long been used to kill bacteria, viruses and molds, notably in hospitals and in the food-processing industry. As the coronavirus pandemic knocks world economies on their heels, this technology is experiencing a boom.

But UVC (for Ultraviolet-C) rays are dangerous, causing skin cancer and eye problems, and can be used only when no one is present.

A team at Columbia’s Center for Radiological Research is experimenting with so-called far-UVC, rays whose wavelength of 222 nanometers makes them safe for humans but still lethal to viruses, the center’s director, David Brenner, told AFP.

4M cases worldwide

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide topped four million as some of the hardest-hit countries readied Sunday to lift lockdown restrictions despite concern about a second wave of infections.

Governments around the world are trying to stop the spread of the deadly disease while scrambling for ways to relieve pressure on their economies, which are facing a historic downturn with millions pushed into unemployment.

Despite the intense political pressure to reopen, nations are also keen to avoid second waves of infections that could overwhelm healthcare systems, with reminders over the weekend of the threat posed by the virus.

In the United States, media reported Saturday that the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, was among three members of the White House coronavirus task force who will self-isolate after potential exposure.

Seoul braces for second wave

South Korea’s capital has ordered the closure of all clubs and bars after a burst of new cases sparked fears of a second coronavirus wave, and President Moon Jae-in urged the public to remain vigilant.

The nation has been held up as a global model in how to curb the virus, but the order from the Seoul mayor on Saturday followed a new infection cluster in Itaewon, one of the city’s busiest nightlife districts.

More than 50 cases so far have been linked to a 29-year-old man who tested positive after spending time at five clubs and bars in Itaewon last weekend.

“Carelessness can lead to an explosion in infections,” said Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, adding the order will remain in effect indefinitely.

Of the 34 new infections reported on Sunday, 24 were tied to the Itaewon cluster, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Brazil tops 10,000 deaths

Brazil, the hardest-hit Latin American country in the coronavirus pandemic, has surpassed 10,000 deaths, according to figures released by the Ministry of Health. AFP

While Brazil’s numbers are high – 10,627 deaths and 155,939 confirmed cases – scientists think the real figures could be 15 or even 20 times worse, given the country’s inability to carry out widespread testing.

Congress and the Supreme Court decreed an official mourning period of three days and lawmakers asked Brazilians to follow health authorities’ recommendations to reduce infection rates while the country prepares for “a safe and definitive return back to normal.”

Meanwhile President Jair Bolsonaro, who opposes stay-at-home measures due to their impact on the country’s economy, was seen jet skiing on Lake Paranoa in Brasilia, according to the Metropoles news website. 

Topics: National Health Commission , China , Wuhan , COVID-19 , ultraviolet lamp , Jair Bolsonaro , Brazil , Moon Jae-in , South Korea , David Brenner
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