As the world slowly starts to forget the dark memories of the deadly Covid-19, China, the origin of Covid-19, has declared another new variant capable of infecting 65 million people in one week.
Chinese Senior Health Advisor Zhong Nanshan said that infections could reach 40 million per week by the end of this month and peak at around 65 million cases weekly by the end of June.
The wave of infections is expected to become the second largest in the country, although it will likely be smaller than the initial wave experienced last year that killed millions of people around the world, including China.
After most of the world opened up after Covid-19, China generally remained under lockdown as it battled new infections. The country opened its borders less than a year ago and already there are plans to impose another lockdown.
The new variant is called XBB and is a mutant of the previous variants, making it difficult to detect.
The Chinese health official has revealed that two new vaccines targeting the XBB variant will soon be released in the market to help “calm the situation.”
Zhong emphasized the significance of developing effective vaccines against XBB, as it has become the dominant strain in China. There are worries about what might happen if the strain blows out of China into other countries.
China has already approved two vaccines for the current XBB variant, with more approvals expected in the near future.
The China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) reports a significant increase in XBB mutant infections, with its prevalence rising from 0.2 percent in mid-February to 83.6 percent in early May.
Experts have expressed concerns about the limited testing and reporting in China, which could result in an underestimation of the true number of cases.
The news comes after the World Health Organization announced that Covid-19 was no longer a global threat.