February 5, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

China – Covid: 250 million infections in 20 days

Chinese officials estimate that about 250 million people, or 18% of China’s population, contracted Covid-19 in the first 20 days of December alone, according to the Financial Times.

Chinese officials estimate that about 250 million people, or 18% of China’s population, contracted Covid-19 in the first 20 days of December alone, after Beijing lifted its tough Covid-free restrictions, accompanied by social and economic protests.

The numbers, including that of 37 million people (2.6% of the population) infected just last Tuesday, were released by Sun Yang, a senior official at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as part of a closed investigation. The Doors briefing last Wednesday, according to the Financial Times, citing two people familiar with the matter.

An official from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the rate of Covid spread in the country continues to increase. He calculated that already more than half of the population of Beijing and Sichuan are infected, the FT notes, citing reports from people informed about the content of the closed meeting in the context of which the above data was announced.

The surge in cases comes after Beijing decided this month to abandon its so-called “zero Covid” policy, which has been heavily criticized in the West.

However, according to the FT, the data that Sun Yang allegedly presented last Wednesday in a closed meeting contradicts the data presented publicly by the Chinese authorities.

It is noted that, according to the National Health Commission of China, there were only 62,592 cases in the first 20 days of December, and not tens or hundreds of millions, as reported by Western publications (FT, Bloomberg, etc.).

It is noted that since last week, China stopped publicly recording the total number of infections after the authorities also limited related tests.

Washington and the World Health Organization are asking Beijing to start publishing more information and statistics on the number of cases, hospitalizations, deaths, etc., as many other countries are doing.

In the Chinese capital and other cities, hospitals are now being forced to cope with an increased influx of elderly Covid patients, and the remaining emergency and intensive care beds are running out, the FT reported.

China has officially reported only eight Covid deaths since Dec. 1.

However, crematoria in the Chinese capital are struggling to cope with the multiplication of bodies, while many of the dead have already been “stacked” in hospitals visited by the Financial Times in recent days.

According to several measurement models, China could face even 1 million Covid deaths as it leaves behind the zero Covid restrictions of the recent past with its debilitating quarantines, lockdowns and controls.

However, the openness that the Chinese authorities have gone to in lifting draconian controls and restrictions on movement so far in place seems to be continuing despite the rise in cases.

Hong Kong regional head John Lee announced on Saturday that long-awaited quarantine-free travel between the city and mainland China will resume from mid-January.

“The central government has agreed to fully open the border gradually and in an orderly manner,” Li told reporters after returning from a four-day trip to Beijing where he met with President Xi Jinping. “Families separated for almost three years due to the pandemic can be reunited.” . . The Hong Kong economy can be strengthened,” he continued.



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