Lunar New Year travel: China says 80% of population have had Covid, rebound unlikely

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Eight in 10 individuals in China have now been contaminated with Covid-19, a distinguished authorities scientist has claimed.

Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of China’s Middle for Illness Management and Prevention, stated on Saturday – the eve of the Lunar New 12 months – that the current “wave of epidemic has already contaminated about 80% of the individuals” within the nation of 1.4 billion individuals.

His declare got here amid issues the journey rush that takes place across the Lunar New 12 months vacation interval – typically dubbed the ‘world’s largest human migration’ – might unfold the virus to the countryside and trigger a second wave of infections.

However Wu, talking on his private social media account, stated this state of affairs was unlikely as so many individuals had already been contaminated.

“Within the subsequent two to a few months, the potential of a large-scale Covid-19 rebound or a second wave of infections throughout the nation could be very small,” Wu stated.

China’s Ministry of Transport estimates over 2 billion passenger journeys will happen through the 40-day Lunar New 12 months season as individuals throughout the nation return to their hometowns for household reunions for the primary time with out home journey restrictions because the begin of the pandemic over three years in the past.

Chinese language state broadcaster CCTV reported on Sunday that greater than 26 million passenger journeys have been taken on the eve of Lunar New 12 months.

That’s solely half of the variety of vacationers from the identical day in 2019, previous to the Covid-19 pandemic, however 50.8% larger than 2022, it stated.

Greater than 4.1 million individuals traveled by practice and 756,000 individuals by air for vacation reunions on the day earlier than the beginning of Lunar New 12 months, CCTV added.

The nation’s highway transport system registered greater than 20 million passenger journeys on the identical day, 55.1 % larger than the quantity from 2022.

As of Friday, China’s transport system had dealt with over 560 million passenger journeys within the first 15 days of the 40-day ongoing Spring Pageant journey rush through rail, freeway, water, and air, up 47.9% from the identical interval final yr, in line with CCTV.

Beforehand, analysis by the Nationwide Faculty of Improvement at Peking College had urged greater than 900 million individuals, or 64% of the Chinese language inhabitants, have been “probably” to have been contaminated with Covid-19 as of January 11.

The college’s analysis additionally urged the epidemic peaked throughout a lot of the nation on December 20, about 13 days after China started easing its Covid restrictions.

By the top of December, infections had peaked in all places within the nation, in line with the analysis.

Chinese language well being authorities have made related claims, saying on Thursday that visits to clinics for fever and Covid hospitalizations in China have declined since their peaks in late December and early January respectively.

Based on the authorities, the variety of Covid sufferers needing crucial care in hospitals has additionally peaked.

Practically 60,000 individuals with Covid died in Chinese language hospitals between December 8 and January 12 after China abruptly scraped its “zero-Covid” insurance policies, in line with authorities knowledge.

Nevertheless, the World Well being Group’s government director for well being emergencies Mike Ryan urged earlier this month that the numbers launched by China “under-represent the true influence of the illness” by way of hospital and ICU admissions, in addition to deaths.

Based on an inside estimate from the nation’s high well being officers, within the first 20 days of December virtually 250 million individuals in China might have caught Covid. If right, the estimate – which CNN can’t independently affirm – would account for roughly 18% of China’s inhabitants.

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