A senior Chinese health official revealed that half a million cases of Covid were recorded daily in the city of Tsingtao alone, in a rare admission that official statistics do not reflect the reality of the scale of the new spread of the epidemic, as stated in an article that was quickly censored.
With the growing dissatisfaction of the population, China abandoned the main pillars of the “zero Covid” policy to contain the epidemic at the beginning of this month, and canceled the closures, examinations, quarantine and travel restrictions that all affect the Chinese economy.
Since then, the epidemic has spread in China and a large part of the population has been left to fend for themselves while markets face shortages of fever-reducing drugs and self-tests due to increased demand.
Cities across China are struggling to stem a spike in infections that has emptied pharmacy shelves and filled hospital rooms as well as cremation centers.
But the abolition of mandatory examinations made it almost impossible to estimate the number of injuries, while the authorities changed their approach to counting deaths. The death toll now includes only people who died of respiratory failure directly related to COVID-19.
Experts believe that this step aims to reduce the number of deaths caused by the Corona virus.
And in Qingdao in the east of the country, one of the media run by the ruling Communist Party on Friday quoted the municipal health director as saying that the city in the east of the country is witnessing “between 490,000 and 530,000” new cases of Covid per day.
Bo Tao, whose comments were published in the article, said the coastal city of about 10 million people is experiencing a “rapid phase of infection before it approaches its peak.” The same official added that the infection rate is expected to accelerate by another 10 percent over the weekend.
Several other media carried the article, which was edited on Saturday morning to remove numbers from it.
On Saturday, the Chinese Ministry of Health announced that 4,103 new infections were recorded on Friday across the country, but there were no deaths.
In Shandong, the province in which Qingdao is located, the authorities have only officially reported 31 new local infections.
The Chinese government strictly controls the media, with heavy censorship of the internet to remove any politically sensitive content.
Most state media downplayed the seriousness of the new wave of Covid. Instead, she described the change in the COVID-19 policy as logical and deliberate.
Media reported a shortage of medicines and pressure on hospitals, but estimates of the actual number of injuries remain scarce.
And the government of Jiangxi Province (east) expected, in a post on social media, on Friday, that 80 percent of its population – about 36 million people – would be infected with the virus until March.
She added that more than 18,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted to major hospitals in the province in the two weeks to Thursday, including about 500 severe cases but no deaths.
It appears, according to indications, that the infrastructure is still under pressure as the weekend approaches, while some health officials in the regions have warned that the worst is yet to come.
And the authorities of Dongguan, in the south of the country, said, on Friday, that expectations indicate that the number of new infections may reach 300,000 per day, explaining that the pace of the virus’s spread is accelerating.
“A number of medical infrastructure and staff are facing great difficulties and unprecedented pressure,” the health office in this city of 10.5 million people said in a statement.
The office published video recordings showing patients lined up with intravenous serums lining up outside a clinic or a doctor sleeping at his desk after working for several days in a row.
A health official in Hainan said on Friday that the number of infections would peak “very soon”.
In the large city of Shanghai in eastern China, more than 40,000 patients have been treated for “febrile cases,” according to the state-run People’s Daily.
And the authorities in Chongqing, the largest city in the center of the country that is witnessing an explosion in the number of injuries, implemented a campaign to administer vaccines by inhalation.
In this city of 32 million people, AFP journalists saw hospitals crowded with patients, most of them elderly and infected with Covid, and dozens of corpses being unloaded in cremation centers.