- Thomas Mackintosh
- BBC – London
Hospitals in China appear to be filling up with patients, amid fears of a new wave of COVID-19 spreading across the country, according to the World Health Organization.
Dr Michael Ryan said hospital intensive care units were beginning to fill up, although officials say the numbers are “relatively low”.
It is clear from Chinese statistics that no one died on Wednesday as a result of the disease, but doubts surround the real impact of the disease.
Hospitals in Beijing and other cities have begun to fill up with patients recently as infection numbers soar in China.
China had imposed strict health measures since 2020 as part of its “no COVID-19” policy, but the government eventually canceled most of the measures two weeks ago after protests broke out against the strict measures to counter the spread of the disease.
The number of infections has increased significantly since that time, which raises fears of a high number of deaths among the elderly and those with the most fragile health conditions.
Despite the high numbers of infections, the official statistics indicate that only five people died on Tuesday, which prompted the Director of Emergencies at the World Health Organization, Dr. Ryan, to urge China to provide the organization with information about the recent spread of the virus.
“Reports from China indicate relatively low numbers in intensive care units, but anecdotal news indicates large numbers,” he said.
“For weeks we have been saying that completely stopping the spread of this highly contagious virus will be difficult
Only by taking health and social measures.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director of the World Health Organization, said during a press conference in Geneva that he was “very concerned by the developments in the situation in China.”
He called for the disclosure of specific data related to the severity of the disease, the number of cases transferred to hospitals, and the requirements of intensive care departments.
Dr. Arian added that vaccination is the appropriate strategy to confront the spread of the disease.
China has developed and produced its own vaccines that have been shown to be less effective in protecting people from severe disease than deaths than vaccines based on mRNA technology used in many parts of the world.
The comments came as Germany announced it had sent the first batch of BionTech vaccines to China.
German vaccines will initially be given to the estimated 20,000 foreigners residing in China.
This is the first batch of foreign vaccines to be sent to China, and no details were disclosed regarding the date and size of the shipment.
German Chancellor Olaf Schultz, during his visit to China last month, called for the vaccine to be provided to Chinese citizens as well, free of charge.