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Beijing Reports 2 New COVID-19 Deaths As Virus Spreads

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Beijing Reports 2 New COVID-19 Deaths As Virus Spreads

(CTN NEWS) – BEIJING – Chinese health authorities confirmed two more COVID-19 deaths on Monday, both in the capital Beijing. These deaths are the first to be reported in some weeks as the country expects a rise in diseases following the relaxation of its rigorous “zero-COVID” policy.

Even though numerous unofficial reports of a recent surge of cases exist, China has not reported death from COVID-19 since December 4.

With the most recent deaths, the National Health Commission increased China’s total COVID-19 deaths in the past three years to 5,237 out of 380,453 illness cases.

These figures are significantly lower than those of other major nations, but they are also based on statistics and information-gathering techniques that have been called into question.

Beijing Reports 2 New COVID-19 Deaths For Dec 18 As Virus Spreads

A family member carrying the photo of a deceased relative walks beside a vehicle carrying the body outside a fever clinic in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Chinese health officials only include persons who died directly from COVID-19; they do not include people whose underlying illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, were made worse by the virus.

Guidelines in many other nations provide that any death in which the coronavirus is a cause of, contributor to, or result of the death is to be considered a COVID-19-related fatality.

The declaration follows testimony from family members and funeral industry workers who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation that the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 was rising.

In contrast to the U.S., where the death toll has surpassed 1.1 million, China has long praised its strict “zero-COVID” policy for keeping the number of cases and fatalities comparatively low.

Beijing Reports 2 New COVID-19 Deaths For Dec 18 As Virus Spreads

A medical worker in protective gear carries yellow bags of medical waste from a fever clinic in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

However, the policy of lockdowns, travel bans, required testing, and quarantines severely stressed China’s society and its economy, seemingly persuading the Communist Party in power to listen to outside counsel and change its course.

The loosening started in November and picked up speed when demonstrations against the restrictions in Beijing and several other cities turned into calls for the resignation of President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party.

Marking the highest level of public discontent in decades.

As asymptomatic COVID-19 cases are now impossible to trace because mass testing is no longer necessary, the government said on Wednesday that it would stop reporting them.

Most testing is now done privately, and patients with minor symptoms can recover at home instead of being sent to a centralized quarantine facility.

It is now more challenging to understand the scope of the outbreak or its trajectory due to a lack of data.

Beijing Reports 2 New COVID-19 Deaths For Dec 18 As Virus Spreads

An ambulance passes a worker in protective gear outside a fever clinic in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Health specialists have predicted a potential large wave of new infections and a surge in deaths over the next month or two, particularly among the elderly.

Nevertheless, a significant decline in economic activity and anecdotal evidence of the virus’ spread indicate to an increasing caseload.

China is attempting to convince reticent elderly and other at-risk individuals to be immunized, but it appears to have only fair success.

Before the Lunar New Year travel surge in January, which will see migrant workers returning to their hometowns, the other significant issue is socking up health supplies in smaller cities and the vast rural hinterland.

Beijing Reports 2 New COVID-19 Deaths For Dec 18 As Virus Spreads

A masked man walks by medical workers in protective gear on duty inside the fever clinic in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

To conserve resources, the number of fever clinics has increased in urban and rural regions, and individuals are urged to stay home unless they are very ill.

Hospitals are similarly short-staffed, and according to reports, employees have been requested to return to work as long as they are not feverish.

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