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‘Not enough beds’: Doctors describe chaos in hospitals as COVID sweeps across China

China’s doctors have described chaos in hospitals as COVID-19 infection.

Sky News was contacted anonymously by three health care professionals. They described a scene in which emergency rooms were “crowded” with patients, ventilators, oxygen machines, and not enough IV beds.

Three weeks ago, strict no-COVID restrictions in China were lifted and the virus is spreading quickly.

It is hard to assess the extent of the impact because exact case and death numbers aren’t being released. Speaking out also comes with a lot of risk.


Sky News has exclusive access to doctors who spoke exclusively to Sky News about the pressures that the system is facing.

A doctor from Shenyang, in northern China, explained that “our emergency room (ER), is jammed with patients, dozens more than usual”.

They stated that it was difficult for seniors to be admitted.

More information on Covid-19

“There aren’t enough ambulances. The ER is filled with oxygen machines and ventilatilators.

“There aren’t enough IV beds. We used to have a doctor-patient ratio between 1:4 and 1:5. Now it’s closer to 1:10.

The high mortality rate was also noted, which is contrary to official statistics that only a few people have died of the virus in the past few months.

In China, death is so defined that authorities may only announce one, two or three deaths on a given day.

According to government sources, this is despite the fact that an estimated 250 million people (8% of the population) were infected by COVID in December.

The doctor’s description clearly contradicts the official figures.

The doctor stated that COVID can be fatal for seniors, particularly those with heart disease and other underlying conditions.

“For every 10 patients admitted to the ER with severe medical conditions, approximately 50% of them die.”

Image Sky News was told by doctors that there are not enough hospital beds or ambulances

“One person must remain on duty for several days”

Another Beijing doctor spoke of the immense pressure on hospital staff due to so many patients coming in and many nurses and doctors falling ill.

“There is not enough staff because all nurses have been positive for COVID-19. The doctor stated that one person must remain on duty for several more days.

“The majority of patients who come in for follow-up visits or consultations have COVID, but not all.”

Continue reading:

China will issue tourist passports to move away COVID rules

Another doctor mentioned that patients had to wait for a long time before they could be seen.

China declared on 7/12 that it would “optimise” its COVID response. Since then, almost all rules and infrastructure supporting it have been dismantled, including removing the quarantine and testing international arrivals.

It has also exposed the 1.4 billion people who have not been vaccinated.

The healthcare system is also under-resourced, with insufficient intensive care beds.

Although Beijing’s spread is now expected to be at its peak, it is not likely that Beijing will see its countrywide peak for more than a month. There are also concerns about how small towns in the region will handle this.


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