China races to bolster healthcare system to battle Covid uptick : The Tribune India

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China races to bolster healthcare system to battle Covid uptick

China races to bolster healthcare system to battle Covid uptick

A fever clinic set up at a sports complex in Beijing. REUTERS



Beijing/Singapore, Dec 20

Cities across China scrambled to install hospital beds and build fever screening clinics on Tuesday as the authorities reported five more deaths and international concern grew about Beijing’s surprise decision to let the virus run free.

US raises concerns over new mutations

  • Authorities rush to add hospital beds, build clinics
  • US raises concerns over possibility of mutations
  • Beijing reports five more deaths on Tuesday
  • Security tight at crematoriums amid doubts over toll

China this month began dismantling its stringent “zero-Covid” regime of lockdowns and testing after protests against curbs that had kept the virus at bay for three years but at a big cost to society and the world’s second-largest economy.

Now, as the virus sweeps through a country of 1.4 billion people who lack natural immunity having been shielded for so long, there is growing concern about possible deaths, virus mutations and the impact on the economy and trade.

“Every new epidemic wave in another country brings the risk of new variants, and this risk is higher the bigger the outbreak, and the current wave in China is shaping up to be big,” said Alex Cook, vice-dean for research at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

“However, inevitably China has to go through a large wave of Covid if it is to reach an endemic state, in a future without lockdowns and the economic and political damage that results,” he said.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday the potential for the virus to mutate as it spreads in China was “a threat for people everywhere”.

Xu Wenbo, an official with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told the media new mutations would occur, but played down concerns.

“New strains’ immune escape ability becomes stronger, more contagious,” Xu said, adding “but the possibility of them becoming more lethal is low. The possibility of strains that are more contagious and more pathogenic is even lower”. — Reuters 

#China


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