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China passes peaks of COVID waves
Published on: 2023-01-20
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With millions of Chinese people making journeys back to their hometowns in recent days, most Chinese megacities have already passed the peak of their COVID waves, some public health experts said. They also believed that the Spring Festival travel rush won't trigger a large-scale epidemic resurgence, but small-scale outbreaks in some areas, especially in remote rural areas, are highly likely as the most important holiday for Chinese people gets underway.

After megacities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province announced that they have passed the peak of COVID infections, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Thursday that provinces have already passed three peaks. Guo Yanhong, director of the medical emergency response department of the NHC, told a press conference that the number of fever clinic visits nationwide peaked on December 23, 2022 and decreased by 94 percent by January 17.

The national number of emergency department visits peaked on January 2, and decreased by 44 percent on January 17 from the peak, while the number of patients in severe conditions in hospitals peaked on January 5 and dropped 44.3 percent by January 17, Guo said.

Guangzhou authorities said on Wednesday that it has entered the final stage of the epidemic. Shanghai said on Tuesday that the city has passed the peak of infections amid ongoing COVID waves.

Currently, about 80 percent of major cities have seen the passing of infection peaks, but remote rural areas face growing challenges during the Spring Festival period as some will be hit by the infection peak sooner or later, he said.

As the main circulating coronavirus strains in China are BF.7 and BA5.2, in areas with high infection rates, the probability of being infected again within a short period of time is very small, experts said. A number of provinces and regions across China including Beijing, Chongqing, Henan and Jiangsu have reported that they have already passed the first peak of COVID-19 infections since December 2022.

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