“MOST DANGEROUS WEEKS”
“China is entering the most dangerous weeks of the pandemic,” said a research note from Capital Economics. “The authorities are making almost no efforts now to slow the spread of infections and, with the migration ahead of Lunar New Year getting started, any parts of the country not currently in a major COVID-19 wave will be soon.”
The cities of Qingdao and Dongguan have each estimated tens of thousands of daily COVID-19 infections recently, much higher than the national daily toll without asymptomatic cases.
The country’s healthcare system has been under enormous strain, with staff being asked to work while sick and even retired medical workers in rural communities being rehired to help grass-root efforts, according to state media.
Bolstering the urgency is the approach of the Lunar New Year in January, when huge numbers of people return home.
Visits to Zhejiang fever clinics hit 408,400 a day – 14 times normal levels – in the past week, a Zhejiang official told a news conference.
Daily requests to the emergency centre in Zhejiang’s capital, Hangzhou, have recently more than tripled on average from last year’s level, state television reported on Sunday, citing a Hangzhou health official.
The eastern city of Suzhou said late on Saturday its emergency line received a record 7,233 calls on Thursday.