China’s new Covid emergency: cases explode, 250 million infected in one month

Elizabeth Smith

Nearly one in five Chinese reportedly contracted Covid-19 in the first 20 days of December, after the Beijing regime lifted the extraordinary measures.

About 248 million people, or 18 percent of the population.

Covid emergency in China, controversies on the official data disclosed by the government

At a closed-door meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deputy director Sun Yang reportedly illustrated the situation with dramatic numbers.

The figures, reported in the minutes of the meeting, contrast resoundingly with the controversial official figures, nailed down to a few thousand cases a day.

China stopped disclosing the total number of infections. This, after authorities shut down the widespread network for mandatory Covid testing following the abandonment of the “Zero Covid” policy, overwhelmed by citizen protests against mass lockdowns.

The rate of spread of the virus is still rising. And more than half the population in Beijing and Sichuan may already be infected. Hospitals in major cities are overwhelmed by hospitalizations. Crematoria are also in crisis.

According to Chen Qin, chief economist at consulting firm MetroDataTech, the surge will peak by the end of January in most cities.

Covid new wave in China, where is the infection spreading

From urban centers, however, the pandemic is spreading to rural China, where the healthcare system is even more fragile.

In the city of Qingdao alone, half a million people are infected every day, according to a senior health official. And the very figures reported by Qingdao’s municipal health chief are in stark contrast to official statistics from the central government.

The lack of information has prompted the United States and the World Health Organization to call on Beijing for greater transparency. An echo of the controversy that had characterized the first phase of the pandemic, which started in Wuhan and then spread around the world.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the request Thursday in a telephone contact with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Earlier this week, the State Department warned that an out-of-control outbreak in China could have global implications, spawning new variants of the virus.

Certainly, there will be no shortage of repercussions on the economic front. The country’s businesses are already slowing down. Several domestic mobility indicators, including traffic congestion in major cities, subway use and air traffic have plummeted.

Precautions measures in other countries

The new wave in China is worrying the world. So much so that some countries are considering and implementing various defensive measures.

For example, in India, travelers arriving from China will have to show a negative swab result. While in Japan, a mandatory swab has just been decided upon as a temporary emergency measure against rising infections.

According to Bloomberg, the United States could also impose similar restrictive measures. While the European Union, has not yet taken any action. Although, as a Commission spokesperson mentioned, “an emergency brake has been maintained and could be activated, if necessary, to reintroduce restrictions.”

In Italy, however, has acted first, deciding to require molecular swabs for all passengers and operators coming from China.

Read also: When will the COVID-19 pandemic end?

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