Beijing China is experiencing a massive corona wave: According to estimates by the National Health Commission, almost 37 million people were infected with the corona virus every day this week. Around 248 million Chinese were infected with Corona in the first 20 days of December, reports the Bloomberg news agency from circles of the most important Chinese health authority. That is almost 18 percent of the total population.
However, it is unclear how the health commission arrived at these figures. With the opening of China at the beginning of the month, the PCR test sites were closed.
The rapidly increasing numbers are increasing concerns about the development of new virus variants. China’s health department has asked provincial authorities to regularly analyze samples of the virus and report the results. In a phone call with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken underlined “the need for transparency for the international community” in dealing with the outbreak.
For fear of new virus variants, the foreign policy spokesman for the Union faction , Jürgen Hardt, called for a stop to flight connections with the People’s Republic. The CDU MP told the editorial network Germany (RND) that “the exploding Covid numbers in China caused by the failed corona policy are threatening the whole world with a new wave of infections” . “Only when we are sure that there is no threat of a new, dangerous mutation from China should we resume flight connections.”
China Wants To Look For New Variants
To discover new variants, China’s health department instructed provinces to select three hospitals in three cities each, which will collect samples of 15 infections, 10 serious illnesses and all the dead each week.
After decoding the genomes, the results should be reported within a week. In this way, “possible symptoms, transmission abilities and pathogenicity of new variants with potential biological changes” could be observed in real time, said the director of the virus institute of the public health department, Xu Wenbo, according to the Xinhua news agency.
Developments in China are viewed with concern abroad as the government downplays the scale and severity of the wave of infections. Health authorities report only a few thousand infections every day.
After nearly three years of lockdowns, forced quarantines and mass testing, the most populous country abruptly lifted its tough zero-Covid policy on December 7 . The reason for the turnaround was that the infections with the new omicron variants were no longer as severe.
But experts saw the reason above all in the fact that the strict measures could no longer be maintained in view of the explosive spread. The restrictions had also placed an increasing burden on the second largest economy.
Since then, the virus has been spreading at high speed among billions of people. In many places, hospitals are full. Model calculations predict hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Meanwhile, the vaccination rate in China is increasing, but offers from the West to use corona vaccines continue to be rejected by the government. China’s domestic production of medical supplies is expanding and is generally sufficient, a State Department spokesman said when asked about a US offer of help.
Recently it was also discussed whether the German manufacturer Biontech would deliver its vaccine to China. However, the government in Beijing has not indicated that it is considering this.
More: China after the end of zero Covid: empty streets, full hospitals, too little medicine