China Shares New Evidence Blaming ‘European Strain’ For Beijing Outbreak, Germany Sees Concerning Spike In COVID-19 Cases: Live Updates


  • Global deaths top 450k
  • Cases top 8.5 million
  • Germany reports largest jump in cases in a month
  • UK lowers virus threat ranking
  • China releases genome showing Beijing outbreak caused by “European” strain
  • India reports another record jump in cases
  • Russia reports ~8k new cases
  • Singaporeans allowed to dine in restaurants for first time

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We imagine China’s European trading partners were less-than-pleased earlier this week when the Chinese state-controlled press blamed a cluster of cases tied to southwestern Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale market on imported European salmon. Hence why, amid the flood of other COVID-19 related headlines, Chinese health officials quickly gave Norwegian salmon imports the “all-clear”, before doing a complete 180 on the whole salmon narrative.

Was the salmon a false narrative planted to distract and deceive the Chinese people? One might even call it a red herring. That’s certainly possible. But salmon aside, China is clearly doubling down on the insinuation that Europe is somehow responsible for this latest cluster of cases. On Friday, China released genome sequencing data for the coronavirus responsible for a recent outbreak in Beijing, with officials claiming it had been identified as a European strain based on a “preliminary” study.

As Beijing lays the groundwork to blame every future recurrence of the coronavirus on a foreign source, Twitter and other American social media companies are showing surprisingly little interest in holding Communist Party officials accountable for spreading vicious lies, like conspiracies about the virus originating in the US, even as they continue to go after President Trump.

Meanwhile, new confirmed cases of coronavirus remained stable in China’s capital on Friday after a public health official declared Beijing’s latest outbreak under control yesterday, as we reported.

According to the official numbers, the city recorded just 25 new cases over the prior day, an increase o just four from Thursday’s total. Only 32 cases were confirmed countrywide.

“The epidemic in Beijing has been brought under control,” Wu Zunyou, thein chief epidemiologist of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said during yesterday’s press briefing. “When I say that it’s under control, that doesn’t mean the number of cases will turn zero tomorrow or the day after,” he cautioned. “The trend will persist for a period of time, but the number of cases will decrease, just like the trend that we saw (in Beijing) in January and February.”

In Europe, a group of the UK’s chief medical officers has finally conceded to lowering the UK’s coronavirus threat level one notch as the country’s virus curve has finally started to plateau.

To be sure, the UK had a pretty difficult time of it. The Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has the third-highest death toll in the world, and has just eclipsed the 300k-case mark. As of Friday morning in the US (noontime in London), the UK had 301,935 confirmed cases, and 42,737 deaths, though reporting by the FT on excess deaths has shown that the total number is likely 10k-20k higher.

Because of this, the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Center recommended moving the COVID-19 risk in the country from the second-highest level, 4, which means transmission is high or rising exponentially, to level 3, which means the virus is in “general circulation” – hardly reassuring, but it’s progress nonetheless.

Singaporeans, meanwhile, will be allowed to wine and dine at restaurants, work out at the gym and get together in groups of no more than five people after most lockdown restrictions are lifted on Friday. The tiny city-state has managed to finally bring an outbreak spreading almost exclusively among migrant workers living in densely packed dorms under control, a major milestone for Southeast Asia, as Indonesia surpasses Singapore in the number of cases.

For an even bigger milestone, the global death toll topped 450,000, while the global case total topped 8.5 million (8,513,725 as of Friday morning in New York).

As Johnson tries to manage the reopening under an endless barrage of criticism, it appears the UK’s virus curve has finally plateaued.

Russia reported 7,972 new cases on Friday, pushing its nationwide tally to 569,063. Russia’s national covid response center counted 181 deaths, bringing the official death toll to 7,841.

India has recorded 13,586 newly confirmed cases today, raising its total to 380,532. Still, shops, malls, factories and places of worship have been allowed to reopen while schools and cinemas remain shuttered.

On the vaccine front, German biopharmaceutical company CureVac said Thursday that it had started its first clinical vaccine trial for its vaccine candidate. The trial is being conducted at the University of Tuebingen; it involves more than 100 test subjects aged between 18 and 60. The first trial results are expected in two months.

In other news out of Germany, the home of what was perhaps Europe’s best-managed major outbreak, public health officials with the Robert Koch Institute just reported the country’s highest daily jump in new virus cases in a month.

Meanwhile, in the US, despite another batch of record hospitalization numbers (out of Texas) and case numbers (in California, Florida and elsewhere), the number of states with rising 7-day averages has declined slightly to 20, according to the NY Times.

As the situation grows increasingly dire, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is extolling yoga as a way of building a “protective shield” of immunity against the coronavirus, as his nation battles a surge in infections.

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