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China Boosts Medical Infrastructure As Covid Surge Sparks Fears Abroad


China beefs up medical infrastructure as Covid surge raises concerns abroad

China set up hundreds of ‘fever clinics’ to limit the spread of covid. (File)

Beijing/Washington:

Cities across China raced to install hospital beds and build fever screening clinics on Tuesday as the United States said Beijing’s surprise decision to let the virus go free caused concern around the world.

China this month abruptly began lifting its strict “no-COVID” mass lockdown following protests against containment measures that have largely contained the virus for three years but have come at a considerable cost. for society and the world’s second largest economy.

Now, as the virus sweeps across a nation of 1.4 billion people who lack natural immunity that has been protected for so long, there are growing concerns about the potential for mortality, virus mutations and back impact on the economy.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “We know that anytime a virus spreads, which is in the wild, it has the potential to mutate and pose a threat to everyone in the country. everywhere”. is also a concern for the Chinese economy and, in turn, global growth.

Beijing reported five COVID-related deaths on Tuesday, following two on Monday, the first deaths reported in weeks.

In total, China has only reported 5,242 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic broke out in downtown Wuhan in late 2019, an extremely low number by global standards.

But there is growing doubt that your statistics are capturing the full impact of a disease raging across cities after China lifted restrictions covering most testing. mandatory on December 7.

Since then, some hospitals have become overcrowded, pharmacies have run out of medicine and the streets are eerily quiet as people stay home, either sick or wary.

Some health experts estimate that 60% of the people of China – or 10% of the world’s population – could be infected in the coming months and more than 2 million people could die.

In the capital Beijing, security guards patrolled the entrance of a designated COVID-19 crematorium, where Reuters journalists on Saturday saw a long line of hearses and workers in suits guard carrying the dead inside. Reuters could not immediately determine whether the deaths were due to COVID.

health care category

Top health officials have softened their tone on the threat posed by the disease in recent weeks, a turnaround from the previous message that the virus must be eradicated to save lives even if part The rest of the world is open.

They also downplayed the possibility that the currently dominant strain of Omicron could evolve to become more virulent.

Zhang Wenhong, a prominent infectious disease expert, said at a forum on Sunday in comments reported by state media: “The probability of a sudden large spike… is very low.

But there are growing signs that the virus is hitting China’s fragile health system.

Cities are stepping up efforts to expand intensive care units and other treatment facilities for severe COVID cases, the state-run Global Times reported on Monday.

Authorities have also raced to build so-called fever clinics, facilities where medical staff check patients’ symptoms and administer medications. Often attached to hospitals, these clinics are common in mainland China and are designed to prevent the wider spread of infectious disease in healthcare settings.

Over the past week, major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Wenzhou have announced they have added hundreds of fever clinics, according to government WeChat accounts and media reports.

A gymnasium in Beijing’s Shijingshan district was converted into a fever clinic last weekend with more than 150-bed pods covering a basketball court, Reuters witnessed.

The spread of the virus is expected to weaken China’s economy, which is expected to grow 3% this year, its worst performance in nearly half a century.

A survey by World Economics on Monday showed that China’s business confidence fell in December to its lowest level since January 2013.

China left its benchmark lending rate unchanged for a fourth straight month on Tuesday.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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