China’s Zhejiang has 1 million daily COVID cases, set to double

BEIJING, Dec 25 (Reuters) – China’s Zhejiang, a major industrial province near Shanghai, is grappling with around one million new daily COVID-19 infections, a number expected to double in the coming days, it said. the provincial government on Sunday.

Despite a record rise in nationwide cases, China reported no COVID-related deaths on the mainland for the five days to Saturday, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday.

Citizens and experts have called for more accurate data as infections surge after Beijing made sweeping changes to a zero-COVID policy that put hundreds of millions of its citizens under relentless lockdowns and battered the world’s second-largest economy .

China’s national figures had become incomplete as the National Health Commission stopped reporting asymptomatic infections, making it more difficult to track cases. On Sunday, the commission stopped reporting daily figures, which China’s CDC later released.

Zhejiang is among the few regions to estimate their recent spikes in infections, including asymptomatic cases.

“It is estimated that the peak of infection will arrive earlier in Zhejiang and enter a high-level period around New Year’s Day, during which the daily number of new infections will reach up to two million,” he said. the Zhejiang government said in a statement.

Zhejiang, which has a population of 65.4 million, said among 13,583 infections treated in hospitals in the province, one patient had severe symptoms caused by COVID, while 242 infections of serious and critical conditions were caused. by underlying diseases.

China has reduced its definition for reporting COVID deaths, counting only those due to pneumonia or respiratory failure caused by COVID, raising eyebrows among global health experts.

The World Health Organization has received no data from China on new COVID hospitalizations since Beijing eased its restrictions. The organization says the lack of data could be because authorities are struggling to tally cases in the world’s most populous country.


“China is entering the most dangerous weeks of the pandemic,” says a research note from Capital Economics. “Authorities are making almost no effort to slow the spread of infections, and with the start of migration before the start of the Lunar New Year, all parts of the country that are not currently in a major wave of COVID will soon be. “

The cities of Qingdao and Dongguan each recently estimated tens of thousands of daily COVID infections, far more than the national daily toll with no asymptomatic cases.

The country’s health system has been strained, with staff being asked to work while sick and even retired medical workers in rural communities have been rehired to help local efforts, according to state media.

The urgency is heightened by the approach of the Lunar New Year in January, when large numbers of people return home.

Visits to fever clinics in Zhejiang hit 408,400 a day – 14 times normal levels – last week, a Zhejiang official told a news conference.

Daily demands at the emergency center in Zhejiang’s capital, Hangzhou, have recently more than tripled on average from last year’s level, state television reported on Sunday, citing a Hangzhou health official. .

The eastern city of Suzhou said late Saturday that its hotline received a record 7,233 calls on Thursday.

Reporting by Bernard Orr and Roxanne Liu; Editing by William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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