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COVID-19: the number of new cases of the disease has increased in Asian countries

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the highly infectious JN.1 variant, many Asian countries are gradually bringing back thermal scanners and introducing mandatory mask-wearing, TimesTravel reports.

According to reports, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, coinciding with the festive season. Singapore’s Ministry of Health, faced with a surge and recording thousands of new cases, has issued advisories for travelers and citizens in response to rising infections.

On December 15, seven cases of the JN.1 COVID subvariant were identified in China. Chinese authorities say the prevalence rate of JN.1 in the country is currently “very low” but they have not ruled out the possibility of it becoming the dominant strain, citing factors such as imported cases.

Rates of the virus are rising in the UK, with 5,975 positive cases in England in the seven days to December 9. This is an increase of 38.6 percent compared to the previous week. Experts warn this could be one of the worst waves of COVID-19 since the vaccine was introduced.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the JN.1 coronavirus subtype causes about 20 percent of new COVID cases in the United States, making it the fastest-growing strain. It already dominates the northeast, causing about a third of new infections.

In Indonesia, COVID cases increased by 13 percent compared to November. Jakarta has an average of 200 cases per day. Although 90 percent of cases are asymptomatic or mild and hospitalizations are under control, the Ministry of Health is urging residents to get booster shots and introducing thermal scanners at key points.

Malaysia saw COVID-19 cases nearly double in the week leading up to Christmas and New Year. Despite the surge, the government has stopped short of imposing restrictions and is focusing on contact monitoring through its TRIIS system. The health minister urged people to wear masks and advised older people and those with underlying health conditions to get a booster dose of the vaccine.

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