WUHAN (Reuters) – Authorities and state media are trying to reassure the public that the COVID-19 epidemic sweeping across China is under control and nearing its peak. Thousands of Chinese took to the streets to celebrate the New Year.
Many people in major cities remain in isolation as the virus spreads through the population. new year festivities It seemed largely unaffected as people celebrated the end of 2022 and the turn into 2023.
In Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first identified at the end of 2019, residents are now less worried about the implications of relaxing the strict zero COVID limit for living with the disease, at least for young and healthy people. said.
“Basically, my friends and I now feel relatively positive and optimistic,” said Wu, a 29-year-old tutor. “A lot of people are out.”
“We all know that middle-aged and older people, especially those over the age of 60, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are affected by this virus,” he said.
The emergency department of Wuhan’s Tongji Hospital has long lines, a major facility for COVID-19 patients. Ms. Huang, a 72-year-old resident, wanted to be identified only by her last name.
“I feel sick.
Data under review
China’s sudden COVID-control U-turn is under increasing scrutiny both at home and abroad, as is the accuracy of data on case numbers and mortality.
The surge in cases economic health And in his first public comment since the policy change, President Xi Jinping A New Year’s greeting calling for greater effort and solidarity was called for as China entered a “new phase.”
China reported one new COVID-19 death on the mainland on Dec. 31, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday. This is the same as the day before.
At present, China’s cumulative official death toll is 5,249, far lower than other large countries. The government has rejected allegations that it deliberately under-reported the total death toll.
At the Hankou funeral home on the outskirts of Wuhan, mourners and hearse drivers arrived intermittently on Sunday.
Staff at the site’s heavily guarded entrance declined to answer questions about their recent workload. funeral home Other Chinese cities, including Chengdu and Beijing, said they were busier than ever since China abruptly lifted COVID restrictions last month.
China’s CDC reported 5,138 officially confirmed cases on Saturday, but experts say the true number of infections is much higher as mass testing has ceased.
State media in the southeastern Chinese city of Guangzhou said on Sunday that the number of daily cases had recently peaked at around 60,000 and now stands at around 19,000.
Officials are trying to reassure the public that the situation is under control, with the state-run Xinhua News Agency releasing an editorial on Sunday, saying the current strategy is a “planned, science-based approach” that reflects the changing nature of the virus. said it was.
Separately, Xinhua said drug production accelerated last month, with production of the pain relievers ibuprofen and paracetamol now at 190 million tablets per day, five times higher than in early December.
The production of antigen test kits nearly doubled to 110 million times per day in one month.
On Sunday, Australia and Canada joined the United States and others in requiring travelers from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Morocco will ban entry from China.
Australian Health Minister Mark Butler Additional measures would also be considered, he said, amid concerns that China had not disclosed enough information about the nature and extent of the current outbreak.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said on Sunday Provide China with ‘necessary assistance’ Help address the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Reported by Martin Quinn Pollard of Wuhan and David Stanway of Shanghai.Editing by Neil Flick
Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.