As China battles an unprecedented COVID surge, nearly 90% of Henan — the third most populous province — has now been infected with the virus, a top health official said Monday.
Kan Quancheng, the director of the health commission for central Henan province, said that as of Jan. 6, the infection rate was 89%.
With Henan’s population being about 99.4 million, the data would suggest that 88.5 million residents have now been positive for COVID.
Visits to fever clinics hit their peak on Dec. 19 — mere weeks after China began easing its brutal “zero-COVID” policies.
After that surge late last month, the number of COVID cases “showed a continuous downward trend,” Kan said during a press conference Monday.
The data from Henan is vastly different from the COVID figures China’s central government has shared since the start of December. According to officials, only 120,000 people out of 1.4 billion have been infected, and only 30 have died since the end to “zero-COVID.”
After three years, China’s borders reopened Sunday, marking an official end to the country’s “zero-COVID” policies, which involved requiring incoming travelers to quarantine.
But even as Beijing drops its quarantine requirements, many countries across the globe are now demanding negative tests from visitors from China in hopes that it will contain the current outbreak that’s overwhelming China’s hospitals and funeral homes.
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COVID cases are expected to increase especially as China looks to celebrate the lunar new year later this month, when millions of residents are expected to leave cities and visit family in more rural areas.
With Post wires
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