- China is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 infections that risk straining the healthcare system.
- Beijing rolled back its pandemic containment measures a week ago.
- China reported 8,838 new COVID-19 infections, including asymptomatic cases, on Sunday.
Less than a week after the pandemic reversed containment measures, China is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections that risk straining the country’s healthcare system.
Health workers at a major hospital in downtown Beijing have been ordered to return to work after their vacation, while at least one other hospital has been asked to continue working even if they are infected with mild cases of COVID-19. Monday, referring to the anonymous medical staff.
China reported 8,838 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday – including asymptomatic cases – down from 10,815 on Sunday, according to the country’s National Health Commission. The drop in recorded cases came after China ended mandatory mass testing a week ago, but anecdotal evidence points to much larger numbers.
“In the field, media reports and anecdotal evidence point to fever medicine shortages as residents rush to stockpile essential drugs,” analysts at Eurasia Group, a political risk advisory firm, said on Friday. “Beijing residents are queuing for hours to access fever clinics following new relaxation measures. As the government shifts the burden to grassroots medical institutions as ‘watchdogs’, such tensions are likely to go beyond hospitals to affect community clinics and healthcare workers and are first to increase infections. responders.”
According to Bloomberg, state media are urging people not to call the emergency medical helpline in Beijing unless they are seriously ill, as this could prevent those who really need help from calling.
The situation could worsen as the country enters the Chinese New Year travel season, which is scheduled to begin in January.
“Combined with an expected increase in movement in the coming weeks and a shortage in elderly immunization at least in the near term, it will risk an increase in infections across China and potentially serious strains on the public health system and already understaffed community-level clinics.” ,” wrote Eurasia Group analysts.
To deal with an expected spike, the Chinese cabinet called for a “full mobilization” of hospitals at a meeting on Thursday, according to an official transcript.
Despite the crisis, it is unlikely that China will step back from its COVID policy.
“The relaxation of Covid-19 controls will lead to larger outbreaks, but it is unlikely that Beijing will return to the extended general lockdowns that crashed the economy earlier this year,” Eurasian analysts said.