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Friday, January 27, 2023

Millions of Daily Covid infections in China, may be worst in History

Two Chinese cities are among the first in the country to release estimates of daily Coivd-19 infections as health authorities await a surge in infections due to the Lunar New Year season next month.

China have reported at least 37 million coronavirus cases in a day this week, making it the largest single-day spike ever, as per a report by Bloomberg which quoted an estimate from the government’s top health authority.

The report estimates that 248 million people in China were likely infected in the first 20 days of December this year. The Bloomberg report quotes minutes from an internal meeting of China’s National Health Commission held on Wednesday.

In Qingdao, in eastern Shandong province, about 490,000 to 530,000 people are infected daily, according to Bo Tao, head of the city’s health commission.

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Bo said Friday that the numbers are based on monitoring data and are expected to rise by 10 percent on Saturday and Sunday.
He added that the city was experiencing “rapid transmission before the peak”.

In Dongguan, in the southern province of Guangdong, 250,000 to 300,000 people were infected every day, based on computer modeling and expert assessments, the city’s health commission said on Friday.

She said the rate of growth is increasing and “many health facilities and health personnel are facing unprecedented serious challenges and enormous pressure”.

The commission also said that by Thursday, 2,528 health workers were working in public hospitals and the city’s welfare system despite having a fever or testing positive for Covid.

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However, the National Health Commission reported only 4,128 new Covid cases on Saturday.

The official count has become almost meaningless as China abandoned mandatory testing for the coronavirus, once a key part of its strict zero-covid-restriction policy.

The country has been hit hard by the high transmissibility of the omicron variant, and authorities across China – including Zhejiang, Hunan and Shandong provinces – expect infections to peak next month as the Lunar New Year holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, helps its spread.

The official Spring Festival travel season is from January 7th to February 15th.

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Li Wenxiu, deputy director of the Hainan Health Commission, said the New Year and spring holidays, as well as an increased number of people traveling to the province for winter break, will boost the spread of infections.
Cases were expected to rise rapidly in rural areas as more migrant workers return home, Li said.

Anhui province also warned that a wave of infections would move from cities to rural areas during the holiday season.
Jiangxi province in eastern China said it expected the first wave to peak in early January and “low-level” transmission by mid-March.

The wave will last for about three months and will lead to about 80 percent of the population becoming infected, provincial authorities said Friday.

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