Nearly 90 percent of the population in China’s third most populous province has been infected with covid-19 — a high-ranking official said Monday (9), as the country faces a strong outbreak of cases.
In a press conference, the director of the Health Commission of central Henan province, Kan Quancheng, said that, “as of January 6, 2023, the contagion rate in the province is 89%.”
With a population of 99.4 million, the figures suggest that 88.5 million people would have been infected with the coronavirus.
Kan noted that clinic visits peaked on December 19, “after which a declining trend was shown.”
China is facing an increase in the number of cases after ending years of lockdowns, quarantines, and mass testing last December, measures that have hit the economy and sparked protests.
On Sunday (8), Beijing suspended mandatory quarantine for those arriving in the country from abroad and reopened its border with the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.
It is feared that the number of cases will skyrocket with the Lunar New Year in China, celebrated at the end of January. Millions of people leave the cities to visit their relatives in the countryside on this date.
In the first wave of travel ahead of the holiday, official figures indicated that 34.7 million people moved inland, a third more than last year, according to state media.
Also according to official figures, last week only 120,000 people were infected, and 30 died, since the restrictions were lifted in early December.
Beijing has changed the criteria for defining covid-19 deaths and ended mandatory testing so that its numbers do not reflect the magnitude of the outbreak.
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