China state media plays down the severity of COVID wave before WHO meeting

BEIJING: China state media downplayed the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic that was sweeping the nation on Tuesday, even as its scientists were scheduled to brief the World Health Organization on the virus’s development later in the day.

China’s dramatic U-turn on COVID limits on December 7 and the reliability of its case and fatality data have drawn more attention at home and abroad, leading several nations to implement travel restrictions.

The “zero COVID” approach championed by President Xi Jinping sparked protests, the largest display of public dissent during his ten-year rule, which came at the same time as China’s worst economic development in over 50 years.

Further COVID Deaths were Recorded in China

Funeral homes report an increase in business as the virus spreads unchecked, and international health experts estimate that the world’s most populated nation will experience at least one million fatalities this year. Three further COVID deaths were recorded in China on Monday, up from one on Sunday.

5,253 people have officially died since the outbreak started. Those’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, cited many Chinese experts in a story on Tuesday who claimed that the majority of people who contracted the virus disease experienced very mild symptoms.

According to Tong Zhaohui, Vice President of Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, “severe and critical illnesses account for 3% to 4% of infected patients now admitted to designated hospitals in Beijing.”

According to Kang Yan, director of West China Tianfu Hospital at Sichuan University, in the previous three weeks, a total of 46 severely ill patients—or around 1% of symptomatic infections—were hospitalized in intensive care units. To the local health officials, the infection has spread to more than 80% of the population in the southwest Sichuan province.

China’s health officials were encouraged by the World Health Organization on Friday to periodically communicate detailed and up-to-date information on the COVID situation.

Tuesday’s meeting of a technical advisory committee will feature a presentation on viral sequencing by Chinese scientists, who have been asked by the agency to participate.

Financial Times report

China has also been required to disclose information on hospitalizations, fatalities, and immunizations.

Some in China return to regular activity after COVID infections

According to a Tuesday Financial Times report, the European Union has provided free COVID vaccines to China in an effort to assist control the outbreak.

According to the Swedish EU presidency’s announcement on Monday, EU government health authorities will meet on Wednesday to discuss a coordinated response to the outbreak in China.

The US, France, Australia, India, and other countries will mandate COVID testing for Chinese travelers, and Belgium announced it will check effluent from Chinese flights for new COVID types.

According to China, any new mutations may be more contagious but less damaging, and the country has disputed criticism of its COVID data.

State-run CCTV stated in a commentary late on Monday that “according to the political reasoning of some people in Europe and the United States, whether China opens or does not open is equally the wrong thing to do.”

Economic Concerns

Asian equities are suffering as worries about the development prospects of the second-largest economy in the world rise as sick Chinese workers and consumers.

According to data released on Tuesday, China’s manufacturing activity decreased at a faster rate in December due to the COVID wave’s disruption of output and harm to demand.

90% of the company’s original objectives were met by December shipments from Foxconn’s Zhengzhou iPhone plant, which had its production halted late last year due to a COVID epidemic that resulted in worker exits and protests.

According to Kristalina Georgieva, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, a “bushfire” of diseases that spread through China in the upcoming months will undoubtedly harm that country’s economy this year and slow down global growth. The most deadly weeks of the pandemic are now underway in China.

“The authorities are doing very little right now to stop the spread of illnesses, and any areas of the country that aren’t already experiencing a significant COVID wave will be short,” according to the report.

According to mobility statistics, economic activity was down nationally and was likely to stay that way until the illness wave started to slow down, they noted.

According to China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, domestic travel during the New Year break totaled 52.71 million, which was flat year over year and barely 43% of 2019 levels, before the pandemic.

Over 26.52 billion yuan ($3.84 billion) in income was generated, an increase of 4% from the previous year but only roughly 35% of the amount generated in 2019, according to the ministry.


Expectations are higher for the Lunar New Year, which falls later this month and when some experts predict that daily COVID cases have already peaked in many regions of the nation.

According to Chinese state media, certain hotels in the southern Chinese resort city of Sanya are fully booked for the time.

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