TradingTwist Beijing, January 10 – State media claimed on Tuesday that the COVID-19 infection peak has already passed in many regions of China, and officials continued to downplay the severity of the outbreak despite worries from other countries about its scope and effects.
According to a report by Health Times, a magazine run by People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, infections have been dropping in Beijing and numerous other Chinese provinces. According to one official who was quoted, Henan province had already infected close to 90 million individuals.
Since a policy U-turn in early December following protests against a “zero-COVID” regime that had been mercilessly implemented for three years, the virus has been freely spreading in China. The final significant restrictions were lifted on Sunday when China’s borders were reopened.
Since early 2020, the world’s second-largest economy has experienced one of its weakest growth rates in over half a century, resulting in widespread anguish. This is due to the frequent lockdowns, relentless testing, and varying levels of movement restraints.
Since the virus was released, China has stopped disclosing daily infection counts and has started reporting daily death tolls in the low single digits, numbers that the World Health Organization has contested.
International health specialists believe that at least 1 million COVID-related deaths will occur in China this year, according to reports from many Chinese funeral homes and hospitals that they are overburdened.
The COVID wave may have peaked in many areas, according to a Health Times compilation of reports from local government officials and health specialists around the nation on Tuesday.
According to Kan Quan, director of the Office of the Henan Provincial Epidemic Prevention and Control, as of January 6, the central province’s population of around 100 million was infected at a rate of almost 90%.
Although the number of patients at clinics in the province peaked on December 19, he noted, without going into greater detail, that the number of serious cases was remained high.
Beijing’s interim mayor, Yin Yong, was quoted as claiming that the city had reached its peak. The climax was achieved on December 20, according to Li Pan, deputy head of the municipal health commission in the city of Chongqing.
On December 22, Jiangsu province experienced its climax, while Zheijiang province reported that “the first wave of diseases has passed smoothly.” Before the year was over, two cities in the southern Guangdong province—the centre of Chinese manufacturing—reached their peak levels.
A key health official stated separately in the state-run China Daily that it was unclear what proportion of cases were severe.
According to Wang Guiqiang, head of the infectious disease department at Peking University First Hospital, “it is still too early to draw any conclusions about the total percentage of severe and critical COVID patients in China because different types of institutions report different figures.
As workers and consumers get sick, analysts foresee a decline in economic activity in the short term. However, they also forecast a quick recovery later in the year as immunity levels rise.
Following China’s removal of COVID border controls, which had prevented its 1.4 billion residents for three years from travelling due to the restrictions on their ability to return, immigration offices in Beijing this week witnessed enormous lines of people eager to renew their passports.
However, a resurgence in international travel is anticipated to be rocky, and it might take some time before Chinese visitors’ annual spending abroad catches up to the $250 billion pre-COVID levels.
According to Flight Master, airlines have not yet fully recovered their capacity, with daily flights into and out of China hovering around a tenth of their pre-pandemic levels.
Due to worries about China’s lack of transparency over the scope and effects of the outbreak as well as any potential mutations, many countries are requiring negative testing from visitors from China, which will only complicate travel.
The criticism of China’s data has been dismissed as politically motivated attempts to undermine its “success” in combating the pandemic, and the country claims that any future mutations will likely be more contagious but less harmful.