Almost 90 percent of people in China’s third most populated region have now been infected with Covid-19, a top official said Monday, as the country opposes an unusual surge in cases.
Kan Quancheng, director of the health commission for central Henan province, told a press conference that “as of January 6, 2023, the province’s Covid infection rate is 89.0 percent.”
With residents of 99.4 million, the figures reveal that about 88.5 million people in Henan may have been infected.
Visits to fever clinics peaked on December 19. Kan said, “after which it showed a continuous downward trend.” China is battling a surge in cases following its decision last month to lift years of lockdowns, quarantines, and mass testing that had hammered its economy and flashed rare national demonstrations.
And Beijing is committed to pressing on with its reopening on Sunday, lifting mandatory quarantine for all international appearances and opening its border with the semi-autonomous southern city of Hong Kong. But diseases are expected to soar as the country observes Lunar New Year later this month, with millions anticipated to travel from big cities to visit powerless older relatives.
According to state media, in the first wave of pre-holiday travel, official data showed 34.7 million people traveled domestically on Saturday, up by more than a third compared to last year. Official data showed last week that just 120,000 people had been infected and 30 died since China relaxed Covid curbs in early December.
But with Beijing having last month narrowed the definition of Covid deaths the prior month and mass testing no longer compulsory, its data no longer reflects the accurate scale of the outbreak.
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