China promises a “final victory” over COVID as the outbreak causes concern all over the world.
Health officials around the world were trying to figure out what was going on with the COVID-19 outbreak in China and how to stop it from spreading further. On Wednesday, the Communist Party’s newspaper called for a “final victory” over the virus.
Since China got rid of its strict virus controls last month, COVID has spread to 1.4 billion people who haven’t been exposed to the virus since it first showed up in the central city of Wuhan three years ago.
Many funeral homes and hospitals say they are too busy, and international health experts say that at least one million people will die in China this year. However, since the policy change, China has only been reporting five or fewer deaths a day.
A 66-year-old man from Beijing who only gave his last name, Zhang, said of the official death toll, “That’s completely crazy.”
“Four people I was close to died. Only one family did that. “I hope that the government will tell the people and the rest of the world the truth about what’s going on here.”
China has said that other countries’ doubts about its statistics are just political attempts to make it look like it hasn’t done much to fight the virus.
In an editorial, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, People’s Daily, said, “China and the Chinese people will surely win the final victory against the epidemic.” This was in response to criticism of China’s three years of isolation, lockdowns, and testing, which led to historic protests at the end of last year.
Now that the restrictions have been lifted, Beijing is fighting back against the decisions of some countries to require visitors from China to show pre-departure COVID tests, saying that the rules were unfair and not based on science.
Japan joined the United States, Australia, and other countries in requiring a negative test before getting on a plane. On Wednesday, people in charge of health in the European Union will meet to talk about a coordinated response to travel to China.
Since the start of the pandemic, China has been mostly cut off from the rest of the world. Starting on January 8, China will no longer require travellers to undergo quarantine. But it will still require that people who arrive at the airport get tested before they start their trips.
On Tuesday, people from the World Health Organization met with Chinese scientists because they were worried about the accuracy of China’s data on how the outbreak spread and changed.
The U.N. agency asked the scientists to give detailed information about the sequencing of viruses, hospitalisations, deaths, and vaccinations.
A WHO spokesperson said that information about the talks would be made public later, likely at a briefing on Wednesday.
Last month, Reuters reported that China had not given the WHO any information about new COVID hospitalisations since Beijing changed its policy. This made some health experts wonder if China was trying to hide how bad its outbreak was.
China reported five more COVID deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total number of official deaths to 5,258, which is very low compared to the rest of the world.
British health data company Airfinity says that COVID probably kills about 9,000 people in China every day.
At Shanghai’s Zhongshan hospital on Tuesday, patients, many of whom were elderly, pushed and shoved for space in crowded halls between makeshift beds where people used oxygen ventilators and intravenous drips.
China’s $17 trillion economy is growing at its slowest rate in almost 50 years because of problems with COVID. Investors now hope that policymakers will step in to stop the slide.
On Wednesday, China’s yuan was at its highest level against the dollar in four months. This was because China’s finance minister promised to increase fiscal expansion this year. This came just days after the central bank said it would do more to help the economy.
Even though some countries have rules about who can visit from China, state media say that travel from the world’s most populous country is on the rise.
Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists spent more than $250 billion around the world every year.
In the past few days, bookings for international flights from China have gone up by 145% compared to the same time last year, according to the government-run China Daily newspaper, which cited information from the travel website Trip.com.
There are still not as many flights to and from China as there were before COVID. The government has said that it will make it easier for people to travel and add more flights.
Thailand’s tourism authority says that at least 5 million Chinese tourists will visit this year. In 2019, more than 11 million Chinese people went to Thailand, which is almost a third of all visitors.
But there are already signs that more Chinese going abroad could cause trouble.
South Korea started testing Chinese travellers on Monday and said that more than a fifth of the tests came back positive.
There, the authorities were looking for a Chinese person who had tested positive but had disappeared while waiting to be quarantined. The person, who was not named, could go to prison for up to a year or pay a fine of 10 million won ($7,840).