Health News Roundup: Mainland China reports three COVID deaths for Dec 27; Chinese hospitals 'extremely busy' as COVID spreads unchecked and more – Devdiscourse

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Mainland China reports three COVID deaths for Dec 27
China reported three new COVID-19 deaths in mainland for Dec. 27, compared with one death a day earlier, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. The death toll was raised to 5,245.
Chinese hospitals ‘extremely busy’ as COVID spreads unchecked
Chinese hospitals were under intense pressure on Wednesday as a surge of COVID-19 infections strained resources in the last major country to move towards treating the virus as endemic. In an abrupt change of policy, China this month began dismantling the world’s strictest COVID regime of lockdowns and extensive testing, putting its battered economy on course for a complete re-opening next year.
India inspects drug factories as Gambia controversy lingers
India’s pharmaceuticals regulator has begun inspecting some drug factories across the country, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as it tries to ensure high standards after an Indian company’s cough and cold syrups were linked to deaths in Gambia.
India is known as the “pharmacy of the world” and its pharmaceuticals exports have more than doubled over the past decade to $24.5 billion in the past fiscal year.
China to scrap COVID quarantine rule for inbound travellers
China will stop requiring inbound travellers to go into quarantine starting from Jan. 8, the National Health Commission said on Monday in a major step towards easing curbs on its borders, which have been largely shut since 2020. China’s management of COVID-19 will also be downgraded to the less strict Category B from the current top-level Category A, the health authority said in a statement, as the disease has become less virulent and will gradually evolve into a common respiratory infection.
U.S. weighs new COVID rules for travelers from China, U.S. officials say
The U.S. government may impose new COVID-19 measures on travelers to the United States from China over concerns about the “lack of transparent data” coming from Beijing, U.S. officials said on Tuesday. The move comes after Japan, India and Malaysia announced stepped up rules on travelers from China in the last 24 hours, citing a rise in infections there.
China will publish COVID data once a month when disease comes under Category B management
China will eventually publish data on COVID-19 cases once a month when the disease comes under Category B management, an official at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday. China’s management of COVID was downgraded to the less strict Category B from the current top-level Category A, as the disease has become less virulent and will gradually evolve into a common respiratory infection.
U.S. FDA weighs regulating cannabis compound CBD in food, supplements – WSJ
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to make recommendations on how to regulate the use of popular cannabis compound CBD in food and supplements, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing agency officials. After weighing the evidence on the compound’s safety, the FDA will decide within months how to regulate legal cannabis and whether that will require new agency rules or new legislation from Congress, according to the report.
Japan to require negative COVID test upon arrival for Chinese travellers
Japan will require a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival for travellers from mainland China due to the rapid spread of the virus in the country, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday. Travellers from China who test positive will be required to quarantine for seven days, Kishida told reporters, adding that the new border measures for China will go into effect from midnight on Dec. 30.
India-based Hetero’s Paxlovid generic gets WHO backing
India’s Hetero said on Tuesday that its generic version of Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment for COVID-19 developed by Pfizer Inc, was added to the World Health Organization’s prequalification list, which serves as a benchmark for procurement of medicines by developing countries. Hetero said it had entered into a licensing agreement with the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to manufacture and sell the generic version of the drug in low- and middle-income countries.
No immediate surge of Chinese tourists expected after re-opening
China’s relaxation of COVID-19 rules for international arrivals has raised hopes that its multi-billion dollar travel business will soon flourish again but countries longing for the return of Chinese tourists will likely face more of a wait. China’s National Health Commission announced on Monday that inbound travellers would no longer have to go into quarantine from Jan. 8. There are no official restrictions on Chinese people going abroad but the new rule will make it much easier for them to return home.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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