China’s Zhejiang province, an industrial province near Shanghai, is battling about 1 million new COVID-19 infections a day, a figure expected to double in the coming days, the government said on Sunday.
Mainland China reported no COVID-19 deaths in the five days to Saturday despite a record surge in cases across the country, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday.
Citizens and experts are calling for more accurate data as infections surge after Beijing made sweeping changes to its zero-COVID policy that has put hundreds of millions of its citizens under relentless lockdown and battered the world’s second-largest economy.
National data from China became patchy as the National Health Commission stopped reporting asymptomatic infections, making it harder to track cases. On Sunday, the committee stopped reporting the subsequent daily figures from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Zhejiang is one of the few regions where a recent spike in infections, including asymptomatic cases, is estimated.
“The peak of infections is expected to arrive in Zhejiang ahead of schedule and enter a high-incidence period around New Year’s Day, during which the daily number of new infections will reach 2 million,” the Zhejiang provincial government said in a statement.
Zhejiang Province, which has a population of 65.4 million, said that among the 13,583 cases of infection admitted to hospitals across the province, one case of severe infection was a severe case of new coronary pneumonia, and 242 cases of severe and critical infection were based on underlying diseases.
China has narrowed its definition of reporting COVID deaths to only count deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure caused by COVID, which has raised concerns among world health experts.
The World Health Organization has received no new COVID hospitalization data from China since Beijing eased restrictions. The group said the data gap may be due to authorities’ difficulty counting cases in the world’s most populous country.
“The Most Dangerous Week”
“China is entering the most dangerous weeks of the pandemic,” said a Capital Economics research note. “Authorities are now doing little to slow the spread of infection, and with pre-Chinese New Year migration starting any part of the country that is not currently in a major COVID wave will soon be.”
The cities of Qingdao and Dongguan recently estimated that there are tens of thousands of new coronavirus infections every day, which is much higher than the number of asymptomatic infections in the country every day.
China’s healthcare system has been under intense pressure, with staff being asked to work sick and even retired medical staff from rural communities being rehired to help grassroots efforts, state media reported.
The urgency is heightened by the approach of the Lunar New Year in January, when large numbers of people will return home.
The number of visits to fever clinics in Zhejiang reached 408,400 a day in the past week, 14 times the normal level, a Zhejiang official told a news conference.
State television quoted Hangzhou health officials as saying on Sunday that daily requests to emergency centers in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang, had recently more than tripled on average compared with last year.
The eastern city of Suzhou said late Saturday that its emergency hotline had received a record 7,233 calls on Thursday.
(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)
Featured Video of the Day
Rahul Gandhi speaks at Red Fort as ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ arrives in Delhi