Almost 90 percent of the population in China’s Henan, the country’s third-most populous province, is now infected with Covid-19, a top official said amidst state media that the virus has weakened in the new phase of the outbreak.
Henan’s Covid infection rate reached 89 percent on Jan. 6, Kan Quancheng, director of the provincial central region health commission, said Monday.
“With a population of 99.4 million, the figures suggest that about 88.5 million people may have been infected in Henan now,” the top official said, adding that the fever clinic recorded a peak on Dec. 19.
After that, there was a continuous downward trend in the large Chinese province, said the head of the health commission.
This comes as the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Xi Jinping regime said in a report Monday that the country’s Covid situation is now improving.
“Life goes forward again!” people’s newspaper explained in an editorial on Monday, praising the government’s action to combat the Covid outbreak, which has involved moving from “preventing infection” to “preventing serious illness”.
“Today the virus is weak, we are stronger,” said the government mouthpiece.
However, top health officials and state media have said the true number of Covid outbreaks across China has been obscured and the country is experiencing a peak in cases.
On Sunday, China reported a total of 5,272 Covid deaths using a method questioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) that showed inaccuracies in the rate of infections, hospitalizations and intensive care units.
According to local reports, the country’s funeral homes have seen an increase in the number of bodies being brought in.
WHO officials previously said China had “underreported” the extent of the outbreak and used an inaccurate method to record Covid deaths, preventing experts from monitoring the pandemic and pathogens to take stock of the true extent to make the catastrophe.
Dozens of countries have put China on high alert lists to screen travelers entering from the country.
On Monday, however, several people queued outside immigration authorities in Beijing to have their passports renewed after the country weakened its border controls as part of the dismantling of its “zero Covid” policy that had sparked high-voltage protests.
China has asked travelers to present negative Covid tests before departure.
Airfinity, a UK-based health data company, expects China’s Covid infections to peak at 3.7 million Covid cases per day by January 13.
“It is estimated that the number of deaths will peak 10 days later at about 25,000 per day, at that point a total of 584,000 since the virus spread across the country in December,” Airfinity said in its latest assessment.
At least 1.7 million deaths are expected across China by the end of April this year, she added.
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