According to data from central Henan’s health commission, 88 million people may have been infected with the virus.
A top official in China has stated that nearly 90% of the population in China’s third-largest province is now infected by Covid-19. This is despite a record number of cases.
Kan Quancheng (director of the central Henan health commission) stated at a press conference, “as of January 6, 20,23, the province’s Covid infection rate was 89%”.
The population in Henan is 99.4 million. This suggests that around 88.5 million people may have been infected.
Kan stated that fever clinic visits peaked on December 19, and then continued to decline.
The opening of China’s borders to China on Sunday was one last step in the demise of China’s zero-Covid system, which began last week after protests that were historic. It has caused a massive wave of infections.
As the country celebrates the lunar new year, the number of covid cases is expected to rise further. Millions are set to travel from large cities to visit elderly relatives in the countryside.
Official data revealed that 34.7 million people travelled domestically in the first wave of pre-holiday travel. This is more than a third higher than last year according to state media.
Although Beijing’s decision to remove quarantine requirements will likely boost outbound travel, many countries are requesting negative tests from Chinese visitors in an effort to contain an epidemic that has overwhelmed many Chinese hospitals and crematoriums.
Officially, China had reported only 5,272 Covid-related death as of 8 Jan, which is one of the lowest rates worldwide.
The World Health Organization says China is under-reporting its outbreak, and international experts believe that more than 1,000,000 people could be affected by the disease.
China’s top officials in health and the state media repeatedly stated that Covid infections are at an all-time high and are minimizing the danger.
The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, published an editorial Sunday praising the government’s anti-virus policies. It said that they had gone from “preventing infection” and “preventing severe diseases”.
“Today, the virus has weakened, but we are stronger.”
China’s state news agency Xinhua stated that the country has entered a new phase in its Covid response.
Asian shares rose to a five-month high Monday, as investors believed that China’s reopening would boost global growth and revive the $17tn economy.
After he had flown from Warsaw, Michael Harrold, 61 said that it was a relief to be able “to go back to normal… just return to China, get on the plane, and get a taxi to just go home.”
Harrold stated that he was expecting to have to do multiple rounds of testing and quarantine upon his return from Europe when he went on Christmas break.
CCTV, the state broadcaster reported Sunday that direct flights between South Korea and China were almost sold out.
The limited number of flights to and fro China at the moment is limiting demand.
Korean Air stated earlier this month that it had stopped plans to increase flights to China because of Seoul’s cautious attitude towards Chinese tourists. South Korea now requires that all travellers from China, Macau, and Hong Kong submit negative Covid results before departing.
Flight Master data revealed that China had 245 international flights on Sunday. This compares to 2,546 flights on the same day in 2019, which represents a decline of 91%.
China News reported that China’s domestic tourism revenue will recover to 70-75% pre-Covid levels in 2023, but that the number of outbound and inbound trips will only reach 30-40% of preCovid levels in 2023.
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