Home Business China says COVID wave has peaked in many areas

China says COVID wave has peaked in many areas

12 min read
Comments Off on China says COVID wave has peaked in many areas
0
25


Article content

BEIJING — Many parts of China are already past their peak of COVID-19 infections, state media reported on Tuesday, with officials further downplaying the severity of the outbreak despite international concerns about its scale and impact.

A summary by Health Times, a publication managed by People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, said infections have been declining in the capital Beijing and several Chinese provinces. One official was quoted as saying nearly all the 100 million people in Henan province had already been infected.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Article content

The virus has been spreading freely in China since a policy U-turn in early December after protests against a “zero-COVID” regime ruthlessly enforced for three years. China reopened its borders on Sunday, removing the last major restrictions.

The frequent lockdowns, relentless testing and various levels of movement curbs since early 2020 have brought the world’s second-largest economy to one of its slowest growth rates in nearly half a century and caused widespread distress.

With the virus let loose, China has stopped publishing daily infection tallies and has been reporting five or fewer deaths a day since the policy U-turn, figures that have been disputed by the World Health Organisation.

Many Chinese funeral homes and hospitals say they are overwhelmed, and international health experts predict at least 1 million COVID-related deaths in China this year.

Advertisement 3

Article content

On Tuesday, a Health Times compilation of reports from local government officials and health experts across the country, suggested the COVID wave may be past its peak in many regions.

Kan Quan, director of the Office of the Henan Provincial Epidemic Prevention and Control, was cited as saying the infection rate in the central province was nearly 90% as of Jan. 6. The number of patients at clinics in the province reached a peak on Dec. 19, but the number of severe cases was still high, he said, without giving further details.

Yin Yong, acting mayor of Beijing, was cited as saying the capital was also past its peak. Li Pan, deputy director of the Municipal Health Commission in the city of Chongqing said the peak there was reached on Dec. 20.

Advertisement 4

Article content

In the province of Jiangsu, the peak was reached on Dec. 22, while in Zheijiang province “the first wave of infections has passed smoothly,” officials said. Two cities in the southern Guangdong province, China’s manufacturing heartland, reached their peaks before the end of the year.

Separately in the state-run China Daily, a prominent health official said the percentage of severe cases remained unclear.

“It is still too early to conclude the overall percentage of severe and critical COVID patients in China as different types of hospitals report different numbers, Wang Guiqiang, head of Peking University First Hospital’s infectious disease department, was quoted as saying.

PFIZER CRITICISM

China has dismissed criticism over its data as politically-motivated attempts to smear its “success” in handling the pandemic and said any future mutations are likely to be more infectious but cause less severe illness.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Testing requirements introduced by several countries, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, Britain, France and others in response to China’s COVID outbreak, were called out by foreign ministry as “discriminatory.”

Financial markets see the new curbs as mere inconvenience, with the yuan hitting a nearly five-month high on Tuesday.

South Korean and Japanese shop owners, Thai tour bus operators and K-pop groups were among those

licking their lips

at the prospect of more Chinese tourists.

Although Beijing also demands negative COVID test results from people landing in China, officials have threatened retaliation against countries mandating tests for visitors from China.

The Chinese embassy in South Korea said on Tuesday it will stop issuing short-term visas for Korean citizens.

Advertisement 6

Article content

State media has also taken a swipe at Pfizer Inc over the price for its COVID treatment Paxlovid.

“It is not a secret that U.S. capital forces have already accumulated quite a fortune from the world via selling vaccines and drugs, and the U.S. government has been coordinating all along,” nationalist tabloid Global Times said in an editorial.

Pfizer’s Chief Executive Albert Bourla said on Monday the company was in discussions with Chinese authorities about a price for Paxlovid, but not over licensing a generic version in China.

The abrupt change of course in COVID policies has left China’s health system unprepared, with many hospitals ill-equipped to handle patients in critical conditions and smaller cities scrambling to secure basic anti-fever drug supplies.

Yu Weishi, chairman of Youcare Pharmaceutical Group, told Reuters his firm boosted output of its anti-fever drugs five-fold to one million boxes a day in the past month.

Wang Lili, general manager at another pharmaceutical firm, CR Double Crane, told Reuters that intravenous drips were their most in-demand product.

The company has since Jan. 5 done away with weekends to meet demand.

“We are running 24/7,” Wang said. (Reporting by Beijing and Shanghai bureaus; Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.



Source link

Load More Related Articles
Load More By 
Load More In Business
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Bugatti’s Last W16-Powered Hypercar Set To Sell At RM Sotheby’s Auction This Week

As we say goodbye to the legendary 8.0L Quad-Turbocharged W16, a very lucky collector is l…