Several provinces and cities in China have announced that the wave of covid-19 infections has already reached its peak, including Henan (centre), Jiangsu (east), Zhejiang (southeast), Guangdong (south) and Sichuan (west).
The mayor of Beijing, Yin Yong, said in an interview with state television CCTV that the city had overcome the peak of infections and that a “new immunity” had been achieved, although he acknowledged that the city still faces a “difficult task” in treating of serious cases.
Authorities in other cities such as Chongqing, in the center, ensured that the number of hospital admissions due to covid-19 “decreased dramatically from December 20”, and that the municipality surpassed the peak of infections between December 12 and 23, according to the official newspaper Global Times.
However, Chinese experts expect the virus to reach rural areas now, during the Lunar New Year holiday, the world’s largest annual migration, which this year takes place between January 21 and 27.
Hundreds of millions of migrant workers will return to their homelands to spend holidays with their families, which “will accelerate the spread of the epidemic”, according to scientists.
According to the official Xinhua news agency, a total of 34.7 million trips were made last Saturday, the first day of a 40-day period in which hundreds of millions of Chinese return to their homelands to celebrate the New Year. Lunar, the main festival of Chinese families.
That number represents an increase of 38.2% compared to 2022.
In mid-December, the Council of State (Executive) already asked local governments to give priority to health services in rural areas “to protect the population”, pointing out “the relative scarcity of health resources” and the high mobility during vacation.
The rapid spread of the virus across the country has cast doubt on official figures, which report only a handful of recent deaths from the disease, despite localities and provinces estimating that a significant proportion of their populations – in some cases, up to 90% – have already been infected.
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