Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Chinese pray for health in Lunar New Year as COVID death toll rises

China rang in the Lunar New Year on Sunday with its people praying for health after three years of stress and financial hardship under the pandemic, as officials reported almost 13,000 new deaths caused by the virus between January 13 and 19. Queues stretched for about one kilometre (a half-mile) outside the iconic Lama temple in Beijing, which had been repeatedly shut before COVID-19 restrictions ended in early December, with thousands of people waiting for their turn to pray for their loved ones.

China says COVID outbreak has infected 80% of population

The possibility of a big COVID-19 rebound in China over the next two or three months is remote as 80% of people have been infected, a prominent government scientist said on Saturday. The mass movement of people during the ongoing Lunar New Year holiday period may spread the pandemic, boosting infections in some areas, but a second COVID wave is unlikely in the near term, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on the Weibo social media platform.

Brazil declares emergency over deaths of Yanomami children from malnutrition

Brazil’s ministry of health has declared a medical emergency in the Yanomami territory, the country’s largest indigenous reservation bordering Venezuela, following reports of children dying of malnutrition and other diseases caused by illegal gold mining. A decree published on Friday by the incoming government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the aim of the declaration was to restore health services to the Yanomami people that had been dismantled by his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

(With inputs from agencies.)