China says tracking Covid cases now ‘impossible’ as infections soar

BEIJING: The true scale of China’s Covid-19 infections is now “impossible” to track, the country’s top health authority said on Wednesday, as officials warned of the spread of the virus. fast in China. Beijing after the country abruptly dropped its zero-tolerance policy.
Last week, China eased mass testing and quarantine restrictions after nearly three years of efforts to stamp out the virus, causing officially reported infections to drop rapidly from an all-time high on record. last month.
And with testing no longer required for much of the country, China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday acknowledged its numbers no longer reflect reality.
“Many asymptomatic people are no longer participating in nucleic acid testing, so it is not possible to accurately capture the actual number of asymptomatic infected people,” the report reads. NHC said in a statement.
The statement was made after the Deputy Prime Minister Ton Xuan Lan said the capital’s new infections were “rising rapidly”, according to an article in state media.
China’s leaders are determined to push for reopening, with Beijing’s travel agencies saying on Tuesday they will resume tour groups in and out of the capital.
However, the country is facing a surge in infections that it is ill-equipped to manage, with millions of vulnerable elderly people still under-vaccinated and sickly ill. Underfunded hospitals lack the resources to cope with the expected increase in the number of infected patients.
And as the country is headed for a difficult path from a Covid-free policy to living with the virus, many people with symptoms have opted to self-treat at home.
People in Beijing have complained of sold out of cold medicines and long queues at pharmacies, while Chinese search giant Baidu said searches for fever-reducing Ibuprofen had increased by 430% in the past week.
The rapid surge in demand for antigen and drug tests has created a black market with sky-high prices, while buyers source goods from affiliated “dealers” who are routed through retail stores. WeChat group.
Authorities are cracking down, with market regulators fined a Beijing business 300,000 yuan ($43,000) for selling expensive test kits, the local Beijing News reported. news on Tuesday.
And in a huge shift in a country where contracting the virus was once taboo and recovered patients face discrimination, people are using social media to show off their results. test results and a detailed description of their experience with the illness.
“When my body temperature exceeded 37.2 degrees, I started adding some sugar and salt to my lemonade,” said a Beijing-based company. Little Rose social site user “Nina” wrote in an account intended to advise those who have not been infected.
“I’ve been revived!!” Another account holder wrote in the caption to a photo showing one year of positive antigen tests and one negative test.


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