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Chinese Hospitals ‘Extremely Busy’ as a Fresh Wave of COVID Cases Surges 

In the hospital's emergency room as well as an adjacent fever clinic, there were long lines on Tuesday night

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

CHINA: On Wednesday, China’s hospitals were under intense strain as COVID-19’s surging cases led to resource shortages in the last major nation to begin treating the virus as an endemic.

Staff at Huaxi, a big hospital in Chengdu’s southwest, said that COVID patients were keeping them exceedingly busy, as they have been ever since restrictions were loosened on December 7.  

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“I’ve been doing this job for 30 years, and this is the busiest I have ever known it,” said an ambulance driver who declined to disclose his identity.

There were long lines on Tuesday night in the hospital’s emergency room and an adjacent fever clinic. Most people who arrived in ambulances received oxygen to aid breathing.

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One emergency department pharmacy staff member noted that “almost all of the patients have COVID.”

She claimed that due to a shortage of COVID-specific medication, the hospital could only provide drugs for symptoms like coughing.

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Zhang Yuhua, a Beijing Chaoyang Hospital spokesperson, claimed that most recent patients were elderly and seriously ill with underlying diseases. She reported that each day, there were now between 450 and 550 individuals who needed emergency care, according to the official media.

Easing curbs

Earlier this month, China abruptly changed policy and began to dismantle the most stringent COVID programme in the world, which included lockdowns and extensive testing. This put China’s shattered economy on track for a full reopening next year.

The easing of curbs, which followed widespread protests against them, means COVID is spreading vastly unchecked and perhaps infecting millions of people every day, as stated by some international health experts.

Because of how quickly COVID regulations were dropped, China’s already-fragile healthcare system is now overwhelmed. Other nations that have been “living with the virus” are now considering imposing travel restrictions on Chinese tourists.

China reported three more COVID-related deaths on Tuesday, increasing from one on Monday. These figures are inconsistent with what other, much less crowded nations experienced when they reopened.

Images released by a government publication China Daily displayed rows of primarily elderly patients receiving care from medical professionals wearing white hazmat suits in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Some of the patients were seen breathing through oxygen tubes.

Unrestricted travel

In a significant step towards more accessible travel, China will no longer require incoming travellers to undergo quarantine as of January 8. As a result, many Chinese, who have been cut off from the outside world for so long, are now checking travel websites.

Although online searches for flights increased on Tuesday from extremely low levels, locals and travel agencies predicted it would be some time before things returned to somewhat of a normal state, given concerns about COVID and the need to be more frugal with money due to the pandemic’s effects.

Furthermore, several governments were considering adding new travel restrictions for Chinese visitors. Officials from the United States gave this justification by stating that there was “a lack of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data.”

For visitors from the Chinese mainland, both India and Japan would require a negative COVID test; those who tested positive in Japan would have to spend a week in quarantine. Tokyo also intends to restrict the number of flights that airlines operate to China.

China’s $17 trillion economy is expected to see a decline in factory output and household consumption as workers and consumers become ill.

Some experts predict that after the first shock of new infections wears off, the Chinese economy will surge back with fury at around 3%.

In 2023, Goldman Sachs economists predict 5.2% growth, while those at Morgan Stanley predict 5.4%.

Also Read: Covid BF.7 Variant: PM Modi to Discuss Precautionary Measures at Review Meeting 

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