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Coronavirus continues to spread in China as the holiday approaches a possible three-wave peak

Posted by on 2022/12/19. Filed under Breaking News,China,Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Chinese authorities reported on Monday that two people died of the virus throughout the country on Sunday, bringing the total death toll to 5,237. The National Health Commission said the number of new cases showing symptoms of COVID-19 was 1,995, slightly down from the previous day.

But the official figures are increasingly being questioned as the authorities have abruptly abandoned their draconian policy of dynamic elimination and relaxed quarantine restrictions.

The streets of major Chinese cities were eerily quiet this Sunday (Dec. 18). People are staying at home to protect themselves from the surge in cases of the novel coronavirus that is hitting central areas of the city from north to south.

China is currently in the first of what is expected to be a three-wave surge in COVID-19 cases this winter, according to Wu Zunyou, the country’s chief epidemiologist. Cases could multiply across the country if people follow the typical travel pattern of taking public transport back to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year holiday next month.

In early December, Chinese authorities abruptly ended most restrictions on their zero-tolerance policy after rare demonstrations and protests across the country.
Mass testing for the novel coronavirus has ended as part of relaxed pandemic clearance measures. That has raised questions about whether the number of officially reported cases reflects the full scale of the outbreak. Some 2,097 new symptomatic infections were reported in China on 17 December.

In Beijing, the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus has affected services from catering to package delivery. Funeral homes and crematoriums in the city of 22 million are also struggling to keep up with demand.

Social media posts also showed empty subways in the northwestern city of Xi ‘an, while Internet users complained of delivery delays.

In Chengdu, the streets are empty, but food delivery times are improving. A resident surnamed Zhang said services were starting to adapt to the recent surge in cases.
However, she added that it was still difficult to obtain antigen testing kits because the supplier had told her that her most recent order had been redirected to the supplying hospital.
In Shanghai, authorities said schools should move most classes online from Monday, and in the city’s neighboring Hangzhou, most schools are encouraging grades to finish the winter term early.
Students and preschoolers who have already taken online classes should not prepare for returning to school, according to the Guangzhou Education bureau.
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told a conference in Beijing Saturday that the current outbreak will likely peak this winter and last for about three months in three waves, according to state media.
The first wave will last from mid-December to mid-January, mainly in cities, and then the second wave will start in late January to mid-February next year, which will be triggered by turnover ahead of the week-long New Year holiday.

China will celebrate the Lunar New Year from January 21. This holiday season typically sees hundreds of millions of people take various forms of transportation to get home to their families.

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