In Beijing, a lot of people on Monday last week were laden with bags and luggage swarmed to train stations in the megacities of China. These people flocked to most of the country’s train terminals to get to their hometowns to spend the holidays. However, the swarming of people from different walks of life was feared by many health experts as a way for Covid-19 to intensify especially in places which are known to be less-equipped when it comes to handling Covid cases.
One traveler and a resident of Beijing said that going to his hometown is really exciting as he wasn’t able to do it for more than three years due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, no matter how congested the station was, he still managed to stay and wait for the train that would lead him to his beloved hometown. He even added that this is going to be the most emotional homecoming he will ever have.
Since the onset of the deadly virus in 2019, China has adopted a strict system of movement controls and lockdowns, the country has now abandoned and lifted its “Zero Covid-19” rule or policy in the early part of December 2022. However, the lifting of such health protocols has let the virus go unchecked amidst 1.4 billion individuals.
Last Saturday, the health authorities reported over 60,000 deaths, pointing out Covid as the culprit. These deaths took place in China’s various hospitals between December 8 and January 12. This indicated a very huge increase compared to the previous figures and was highly criticized by the WHO. This is because the country didn’t reflect the severity and scale of the virus outbreak.
The above-mentioned number of deaths excludes those who died in their homes especially in areas which are tagged as rural and far-flung where the medical system is weak. Health experts also forecasted that over a million people in the country are expected to perish from Covid this year.
With the coming of Spring Festival, otherwise known as the Lunar New Year, the state media is teeming with numerous stories about rural clinics and hospitals that take their time in bolstering and filling their capacity with drug supplies and medical equipment.
In a news article which has been written by a Shaanxi doctor, it was written that the peak of the virus has already weakened in their village. However, it was stressed out that there are also those who are in the elderly category who are known to be very much vulnerable to the virus and are also susceptible to secondary infections. This uncertainty, however, can be handled with confidence if hospitals and clinics abound with anti-Covid drugs and other medicines.
Along with oxygen supplies and drugs that treat fever, the health authorities of China also said that every rural clinic and hospital will be provided with pulse oximeters. These are commonly used to quickly check and determine the oxygen levels of a patient and are a very essential tool during the peak of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, more than 55,000 people arrived in Macau on Saturday. It’s not surprising to note that this happens to be the highest figure since the Covid-19 pandemic started. On the other hand, the Hong Kong authorities declared that border control centers will allow more people to pass through. Border securities will allow 65,000 travelers each day between January 18 and January 21.
According to experts who work in the country’s transport ministry, there will be over 2 billion trips that will take place all across China in the days and weeks around the Lunar New Year holidays.