Like an air of 2020, but in China.
The country is overwhelmed by a phenomenal acceleration of the Covid-19 epidemic and recorded its first deaths on Monday since the relaxation of the strict measures of its “zero Covid” policy.
The Asian giant abruptly did an about-turn in early December and lifted most of the health restrictions in force for nearly three years, since the appearance of the first cases of coronavirus in the city of Wuhan (center) at the end of 2019.
The extent of contamination is "impossible" to determine, by the admission of the authorities themselves, screening tests are no longer mandatory.
Experts fear the country is ill-prepared for the wave of infections, while millions of elderly and vulnerable people remain unvaccinated.
On Monday, authorities reported the death of two patients in the capital, the only ones so far since restrictions were lifted on December 7, according to official figures.
The city and its 22 million inhabitants have since been particularly affected by a wave of contamination unprecedented since the start of the pandemic, and which has spread at lightning speed in recent days.
Testimonies point to a resurgence of deaths in hospitals and overwhelmed crematoria, while anti-flu drugs are lacking in pharmacies.
"The (official) figures don't tell the whole story," said Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease expert based in Singapore, who said he expected a much higher toll.
And to argue: some hospitals are too full to welcome new patients while the importance of the Covid may have been minimized by the nursing staff.
As a result, if someone dies “of a heart attack following the stress of an infection” with Covid, “the heart attack will then be the main (retained) cause of death, even though Covid is the underlying cause. underlying," Leong Hoe Nam told AFP.
The first of three waves awaiting China
One of the country's leading epidemiologists, Wu Zunyou, has warned that China is facing "the first of three waves" of Covid expected this winter.
The current wave is expected to last until mid-January and mainly affect cities, before displacement linked to the Lunar New Year holidays (January 22) triggers a second in February.
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The third peak will occur between late February and mid-March when those infected during the holidays return to their workplaces, Wu said, according to remarks reported by the Caijing business daily.
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