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The winter has not yet seen a major surge in Covid cases in the UK, but the potential for trouble is never far away.

In some of the last figures to be published before the Christmas break, the government’s figures for England and Wales showed that in the seven days to December 10th, positive tests had risen by 17.2 per cent. Moreover, in the week to December 12th the number of hospital admissions increased by 27.6 per cent.

While these increases had been from a low level, they did create the potential for a number of significant ‘spreader’ events as Christmas parties and family gatherings took place over the festive period.

Using finger protectors remains a smart move to prevent vulnerable people in particular picking up the virus off surfaces that have just been touched by infected people.

Britain may not have had a major winter surge yet, but there could be more trouble brewing from China, where the virus originated, following the decision to relax the country’s strict ‘Zero Covid’ strategy.

Cases have subsequently been rising rapidly according to sources in the country, with epidemiologist and health economist Eric Feigl-Ding warning that there will be a “thermonuclear” surge in the country, with up to two million dying in a wave that some experts believe will infect up to 60 per cent of China’s population and ten percent of the global population in the next 90 days.

Given that 1.4 billion Chinese and eight billion on the planet amount to approximately the same thing, this could be a domestic crisis made far worse by less efficacious vaccines and the fact that – in contrast with elsewhere – vaccine scepticism is higher among more vulnerable elderly groups. Indeed, Dr Feigl-Ding warned the main consequence could be that of economic disruption.

However, if the wave does lead to a major new mutation, that could be a game-changer in terms of global infections in 2023.