CHINA: Authorities reported that about 60,000 COVID deaths had occurred in Chinese hospitals since early December when the nation loosened its stringent lockdown regulations.
Since President Xi Jinping abruptly withdrew the “zero-COVID” policy limitations last month, the virus has spread across the nation in a significant wave. Since then, the population of some major cities is thought to have been infected at a rate of between 70% and 90%.
The rise in infections has been attributed to the Chinese government’s focus on protecting its 1.4 billion citizens rather than adequately immunizing them against the COVID-19 virus.
Long lines at mortuaries and crematoriums and reports of deaths on social media have suggested a huge death toll. Still, until Saturday, the government had only formally counted several COVID-19 fatalities.
Due to China’s strict standards of what constitutes a death that may be ascribed to COVID, there was a shortage in reported figures. The only fatalities included were those caused by respiratory failure. The World Health Organization criticized the new definition last week as being too limited and cautioned that it did not accurately reflect the full effects of the outbreak. Chinese authorities countered that not all fatalities must be attributed to COVID.
But Jiao Yahui, the director of the Bureau of Medical Administration, revealed on Saturday that between December 8 and January 12, there had been 59,938 COVID deaths.
This number includes approximately 5,500 people who died from respiratory failure, while the remaining people also had underlying medical issues. Jiao reported that the average age of individuals who passed away was 80, with 90.1% being 65 or older.
The death toll only includes people who passed away in hospitals and is likely still below the genuine number. Major worries have been raised about the virus spreading further before the Lunar New Year vacation, which starts next week. The world’s largest yearly migration of people takes place during the Chinese holidays, which begin on January 21.
The World Health Organization and other nations have criticized China’s government for its lack of transparency. After the sharp surge started, it stopped publishing most infection data. The WHO chastised it for grossly under-reporting the number of people who contracted COVID-19 and became seriously ill due to the virus’s complications.
China has responded with specific punitive actions against Japan and South Korea after some nations imposed travel restrictions or required testing on visitors from China.
The fact that China only permits locally produced vaccines to be administered to its populace has also worsened matters. Concerns have been raised concerning the effectiveness of China’s vaccines, which use an inactivated virus, compared to mRNA vaccines, such as the one made by BioNTech/Pfizer, which are sold overseas.
A rise in services offering trips to Hong Kong and Macau, where the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is free for citizens, has also been attributed to the easing of travel restrictions. Chinese tourists have also expressed a greater interest in visiting clinics in Thailand and Singapore.