90% in Henan, China’s third most populous province, infected with Covid
Henan: Kan Quancheng the provincial official at a press conference stated that more than 88 million people in Henan province are infected with Covid. Henan is the country’s third most populous province. And the figure shared by the official makes up nearly 90pc of the population f the area.
China is fighting an unprecedented surge in cases after it eased on zero-Covid policies in December.
But the country still retain the Covid curbs relaxed. On Sunday, Beijing lifted the mandatory quarantine for all international arrivals and opened its border with Hong Kong. Overall, more than two billion individual journeys are expected to take place.
With the definition of Covid deaths narrowed down and mass testing no longer compulsory, government data is no longer reflective of the true scale of the outbreak.
The Henan provincial figures are in stark contrast to Covid figures from the central government. The country’s official data indicate just 120,000 people in the country tto have been infected throughout the country of 1.4 billion since the shift in Covid policy. It also reports only 30 covd related deaths.
Meanwhile on Sunday, authorities reported three Covid deaths in mainland China, one more than the day before.
Other local and provincial officials have also been providing very different data to that from the central government. A senior health official in the port city of Qingdao, reported on Christmas eve that half a million people were being infected each day. Those case figures were swiftly removed from news reports.
Vaccine use Surge
While Pfizer stated that the company would continue to collaborate with the Chinese government and all relevant stakeholders to ensure a “secure and adequate supply” of the medicine in China, the Chinese health officials said they would not include Pfizer’s antiviral Covid medicine Paxlovid in its basic medical insurance schemes as a result of the high price quoted by the US firm.
Moreover, the drug, temporarily covered by China’s broad range healthcare insurance scheme until 31 March, saw sharp increase in demand since surge in China’s Covid cases last month.
Infections are expected to soar as the country celebrates Lunar New Year later this month, with millions expected to travel from big cities to visit older relatives in the countryside.
In the first wave of pre-holiday travel, official data showed that 34.7 million people travelled domestically on Saturday. This represented an increase of more than a third compared to last year, according to state media.
Mr kan did not specify a timeline for when all the infections happened. Majority of infections in the province are likely to have occurred in the past few weeks. As Kan shared that the visits to fever clinics in Henan province peaked on 19 December “after which it showed a continuous downward trend”.