Warning: Rural China Faces Surge in Covid Cases Ahead of Lunar New Year Travel Rush

Top chinese epidemiologist has warned that covid cases will surge in rural china, where healthcare is less accessible. this is due to hundreds of millions of chinese travelling to their hometowns ahead of the lunar new year, which is expected to cause a peak in the covid wave lasting two to three months. this is especially concerning as the elderly, sick and disabled in the countryside are already being left behind in terms of covid treatment.
the warning came as china abruptly abandoned its zero covid policies and reopened its borders on sunday in preparation for the lunar new year holidays, which officially start from 21 january. this involves the world’s largest annual migration of people, with some two billion trips expected to be made in total, and tens of millions of people already travelling.
china has stopped providing daily covid statistics since abandoning zero-covid, and official data shows five or fewer deaths a day over the past month. this is inconsistent with the long queues seen at funeral homes and reports of deaths on social media, prompting the world health organisation to suggest that china is heavily under-reporting covid deaths. international health experts have predicted at least a million covid-related deaths in china this year, despite beijing officially reporting just over 5,000 deaths since the pandemic began. hospitals in big cities, where healthcare facilities are better and more easily accessible, have become crowded with covid patients as the virus has spread through the country.


By Evey Lovelace

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