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Many parts of China are already past their peak of COVID-19 infections, state media reported on Tuesday, with officials further downplaying the severity of the outbreak despite international concerns about its scale and impact.
A summary by Health Times, a publication managed by People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, said infections have been declining in the capital Beijing and several Chinese provinces. One official was quoted as saying nearly all the 100 million people in Henan province had already been infected.
The virus has been spreading freely in China since a policy U-turn in early December after protests against a “zero-COVID” regime ruthlessly enforced for three years. China reopened its borders on Sunday, removing the last major restrictions.
The frequent lockdowns, relentless testing and various levels of movement curbs since early 2020 have brought the world’s second-largest economy to one of its slowest growth rates in nearly half a century and caused widespread distress.
With the virus let loose, China has stopped publishing daily infection tallies and has been reporting five or fewer deaths a day since the policy U-turn, figures that have been disputed by the World Health Organisation.
Many Chinese funeral homes and hospitals say they are overwhelmed, and international health experts predict at least 1 million COVID-related deaths in China this year.
On Tuesday, a Health Times compilation of reports from local government officials and health experts across the country, suggested the COVID wave may be past its peak in many regions.
Source : Reuters News Agency