China says Covid outbreak has infected 80% of population

Pedestrians in the Lujiazui financial district of Pudong in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

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The possibility of a major resurgence of Covid-19 in China in the next two or three months is slim as 80% of people have become infected, a prominent government scientist said on Saturday.

The mass movement of people during the ongoing holiday season of the Lunar New Year could spread the pandemic and boost infections in some areas, but a second Covid wave is unlikely in the near term, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said. said on the Weibo social media platform.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese are traveling across the country for holiday reunions that had been suspended under the recently eased Covid curbs, raising fears of new outbreaks in rural areas less equipped to contain major outbreaks.

China has passed the peak of Covid patients in fever clinics, emergency rooms and with critical conditions, a National Health Commission official said Thursday.

By January 12, nearly 60,000 people with Covid had died in hospital, according to government data, about a month after China abruptly dismantled its zero-Covid policy.

But some experts said that figure likely vastly underestimates the full impact, as it excludes those dying at home, and because many doctors have said they are discouraged from citing Covid as a cause of death.

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