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In Rural China, COVID Will Peak In 2-3 Months

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In Rural China, COVID Will Peak In 2-3 Months

(CTN News) – According to a top Chinese epidemiologist, China’s COVID-19 wave will peak in two to three months and spread over the vast countryside, where medical resources are limited.

Hundreds of millions of people will travel home for the Lunar New Year holidays, starting on January 21, known before the pandemic as the world’s biggest annual migration.

In late November, China abruptly ended its strict anti-virus regime of mass lockdowns and finally reopened its borders last weekend.

Over a third of China’s 1.4 billion people live in regions where infections have already peaked, according to state media.

Despite this, Zeng Guang, the former chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that the outbreak wasn’t over yet.

Zeng said, “Our priority has been large cities. It’s time to focus on rural areas.”

The elderly, sick and disabled in the countryside, where medical facilities are limited, are being left behind.

Authorities are improving antiviral supplies nationwide. COVID treatment molnupiravir will be available in China from Friday.

Also this week, the WHO warned of dangerous travel conditions.

Despite now providing more information on COVID, China underreported COVID deaths.

During the past month, Chinese health officials held five technical exchanges with WHO.

There have been five or fewer deaths a day over the past month, contrary to the long queues at funeral homes and body bags leaving crowded hospitals.

Since Monday, COVID fatalities have not been reported. Rather than daily updates, officials plan to issue monthly ones.

China has reported just over 5,000 deaths since the pandemic began, one of the lowest death rates worldwide.

Travellers arriving from China were required to take COVID tests pre-departure as a result of data transparency concerns.

Beijing, which shut its borders for three years and still requires all visitors to get tested before they can enter, says such curbs are discriminatory and unscientific.

Short-term visa suspensions for South Korean and Japanese nationals escalated tensions this week. Also, they limit flights, test travellers from China on arrival, and quarantine them.

Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, called Beijing’s retaliation “extremely regrettable,” one-sided, and unrelated to COVID.

The economy and consumption are gradually recovering this year, especially in the big cities. Indicators such as traffic have not yet recovered to earlier levels.

From the United States to Europe, policymakers are worried that China’s reopening may lead to renewed inflationary pressures.

December’s trade data, however, raises concerns about China’s recovery pace.

Capital Economics economist Zichun Huang said exports could continue to decline until mid-year.

In 2023, Jin Chaofeng, who exports rattan furniture from Hangzhou, had no expansion plans or hiring plans.

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