China’s vast countryside rushes to strengthen COVID defense

China's vast countryside rushes to strengthen COVID defense
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  • Hospitals, funeral parlors overwhelmed by COVID wave
  • Some countries impose testing rules on Chinese travelers
  • China reported one new COVID death for December 1. 28

SHANGHAI/BEIJING, Dec 29 (Reuters) – China’s resource-constrained rural areas are racing to strengthen medical facilities before millions of factory workers return home for the Lunar New Year holiday next month from cities where COVID-19 is booming.

Following the world’s strictest COVID restrictions and relentless testing regime for three years, China reversed course this month, leaving its fragile health system overwhelmed with living with the virus.

Lifting restrictions after widespread protests against restrictions spreading largely uncontrollably and it probably infects millions of people every day, according to some international health experts.

China officially reported one new COVID death Wednesday, three on Tuesday, but foreign governments and many epidemiologists believe the numbers are much higher and more than 1 million people could die next year.

China said it only counted deaths of COVID patients caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure as being related to COVID.

In the southwestern city of Chengdu, funeral homes were busy late into the evening Wednesday, with a steady stream of vehicles entering a heavily guarded funeral home by security personnel.

A van driver working in the lounge said there were “a lot of people” inside.

Hospitals and funeral homes in major cities were flooded. intense pressure however, the main concern regarding the coping ability of the health system has focused on rural areas.

At a pharmacy in Shanghai, 53-year-old Wang Kaiyun, a cleaner in the city from neighboring Anhui province, said he bought medicine for his family in his hometown.

My wife, son, grandson, mother are all infected,” he said. “They can’t find medicine, nothing for fever and cough.”

Each year, hundreds of millions of people, many of whom work in factories near the south and east coasts, return to the countryside for the Lunar New Year, which begins on January 1. 22.

The holiday travel rush is expected to last 40 days from January 1. 7 – February 15, officials said.

State-run China Daily reported that rural areas are strengthening their medical capacity.

He said a hospital with more than 100,000 people in rural Inner Mongolia is seeking bidders for a 1.9 million yuan ($272,308) contract to convert wards into intensive care units.

Liancheng District Central Hospital in eastern Fujian province was seeking tenders for ambulances and medical equipment, from breathing machines to electrocardiogram monitors.

In December, tenders for hospitals It was two to three times higher for essential medical equipment than in previous months, according to a Reuters review, suggesting hospitals are scrambling to address the plug shortage.


The world’s second largest economy is expected to experience a slowdown in factory production and consumption in the near term as workers and shoppers fall ill. The contact-intensive services sector beaten by anti-virus borders.

The re-opening raises hope Proportion of Chinese tourists returning to shopping streets around the world, once a global market worth $255 billion a year. But some countries have been held back by the scale of the epidemic, and they are skeptical of Beijing’s COVID statistics.

China’s official death toll since the start of the pandemic is 5,246, compared to more than 1 million deaths in the United States. Chinese-administered Hong Kong has reported more than 11,000 deaths.

This United States of America, IndiaItaly, Japan and Taiwan said they would require COVID testing for travelers from China.

The United States on Wednesday issued a travel warning advising Americans to “reconsider traveling to China, Hong Kong and Macau”, citing “reports of the health system being overwhelmed” and the risk of new variants.

main airport in Milan city of Italy On December 1, it began testing passengers from Beijing and Shanghai. 26 and found that almost half were infected.

Top health officials from Turkey European Union We were in talks to try to coordinate widely divergent views on how to respond to China’s decision to lift COVID-19 restrictions and the wave of infections.

China dismissed criticism of its statistics as baseless and politically motivated attempts to smear its policies. He also downplayed the risk of new variants, saying he expects the mutations to be more lethal but less severe.

Chinese health officials said this week that Omicron is the dominant strain in China.

Australia, Britain, FranceGermany, Thailand and others have said they will not impose additional restrictions on travel for now.

China, whose borders have been almost completely closed to foreigners since the beginning of 2020, will stop requiring quarantine of arriving passengers from 1 January. 8.

($1 = 6.9774 yuan)

Additional reporting by Martin Quin Pollard in Chengdu; Written by Marius Zaharia; Editing: Lincoln Feast, Robert Birsel

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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