As the rest of the world has mostly moved on from the COVID-19 pandemic, global tensions are heating up as the Chinese Communist Party’s total abolishment of its disastrous and draconian Zero COVID mandate regimen has led to reports of a flood of COVID-positive travelers setting foot in international airports.
Reports involving headlines combining “COVID,” “China,” and the topic of international travel were relatively prolific on Dec. 28 despite most curiously encapsulating a story that was actually about how the People’s Republic of China would begin to process passport applications starting Jan. 8.
One BBC article on the topic noted that despite the date still being well over a week into the future, “Travel sites have since reported a spike in traffic.”
The British public broadcaster stated that Washington officials had “said in a statement quoted by news agencies” that, “There are mounting concerns in the international community on the ongoing Covid-19 surges in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data”
In the wake of the threat of a COVID renaissance, and one that may actually affect more than the most vulnerable elderly and immunocompromised populations, Japan and India made the call to require travelers from China to present a negative COVID test on arrival or face a mandatory 7-day quarantine.
Later in the day, the U.S. Biden administration announced it would likewise begin requiring a negative COVID test for all travelers older than 2 who originate from Hong Kong, Macau, or the mainland, but not until Jan. 5, CNBC reported.
“U.S. health officials said they have limited information on what’s transpiring on the ground in China,” the article stated.
The situation in Japan, which BBC describes as “one of the most popular destinations for Chinese travellers,” is reportedly already very serious.
Data from aggregator Our World in Data shows that the country is already nearing its August COVID positive test count high of 225,000 people at slightly less than 168,000 positive tests per day.
And while the 7-day rolling average of confirmed COVID deaths currently stands at an all-time high for Japan, the figure is nonetheless a very low 2.4 deaths per day.
Our World in Data disclaims the death count portion of their dataset with the following caveat, “Due to varying protocols and challenges in the attribution of the cause of death, the number of confirmed deaths may not accurately represent the true number of deaths caused by COVID-19.”
Nonetheless, a Dec. 28 article by Bloomberg underscores the potential threat that scores of travelers suddenly leaving the epicenter of one of the most deadly viruses in history presents to the world.
The article stated that among two flights to Milan from Mainland China, almost half of all passengers tested positive for COVID. Further reporting by the New York Post on the topic gave official stats as 35 of 92 passengers from one flight and 62 of 120 passengers from the other testing positive.
Health officials were noted to be “sequencing the Milan tests to see if there are new variants,” Bloomberg reported.
But sequencing for new and emerging variants takes time, a factor that caused the world to pay the price when the now-dominant Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, first appeared among a party of fully vaccinated diplomats from an undisclosed country visiting Botswana in November of 2021.
Official timelines released by the country’s health authority stated, “This new virus was detected on four foreign nationals who had entered Botswana on the 7th November 2021, on a diplomatic mission.”
However, “The quartet tested positive for COVID-19 on the 11th November 2021 as they were preparing to return.”
And even as the diplomats roamed free inside Botswana as contagious hosts for 4 days with a brand new and significantly mutated variant of the virus, the sequencing process to discover Omicron had not been completed until Nov. 22.
The Botswana government also did not alert the public until Nov. 25.
Bloomberg noted of the Milan cases, “Most of those who tested positive weren’t showing symptoms.”
However, the sheer number of infections being tallied across China does not leave much room for optimism. Internal statistics leaked from the PRC National Health Commission show that in the first 20 days of December alone, around 250 million Chinese — almost 20 percent of the country’s 1.4 billion people — contracted COVID-19.
The outbreaks are concentrated on China’s large cities and spreading outwards into the hinterland. Half the population of Beijing, China’s 21-million-strong capital, were infected, according to the Health Commission figures.
On Dec. 26, Breitbart ran a piece zeroing in on the situation in Zhejiang Province, adjacent to Shanghai on China’s eastern coast. The provincial authorities had suddenly gone from reporting little to no COVID cases to more than a million positive cases in a day on Christmas Eve.
Zhejiang has a population around 65 million, comparable to France or the UK.
Putting the number into perspective, the largest daily positive case counts in the entire United States, which has more than 330 million people, only ever exceeded one million per day three times, all in January of 2022, peaking at 1.36 million.
Despite the staggering positive case count, Zhejiang Communist Party officials still claim no deaths — typical of recent statistics produced by authorities across the country even as Chinese mortuaries and crematoriums are overloaded with corpses.
Additionally, Breitbart noted, “Even Zhejiang’s numbers were a little suspicious, as the province claimed to have only 13,583 people hospitalized from a population of 65.4 million, and a mere 242 of those hospitalizations were classified as ‘severe’ or ‘critical.’”