As hospitals struggle to combat rising COVID-19 infection rates, patients in China are forced to wait outside of entrances and along corridors to receive treatment.
China’s long-standing zero-COVID policy has been relaxed and many of its strict coronavirus rules have been relaxed. The disease is now rapidly spreading across the country.
One video clip shared on social media shows patients at Zhongshang Hospital, Shanghai being seen in beds in long queues outside the main entrances.
Another queue of people waited for help had formed in the hospital.
The December end of zero COVID rules has unleashed the virus against China, home to 1.4 million people.
After being protected from the coronavirus in Wuhan, China in late 2019, the population is not immune.
Many hospitals and funeral homes claim they are overwhelmed. However, international experts warn of the possibility that at least 1 million Chinese will die this year.
China has reported five to fewer deaths per day since December’s policy Uturn.
One Beijing resident said that the official toll was “totally absurd”.
“Four of my closest relatives died. This is only one family.
“I hope that the government will tell the people and the rest the world what really happened.”
Doctors describe chaos in China’s hospitals
Chinese travelers will have to submit a negative test
Beijing threatens to retaliate over travel rules
Experts warn that it is too early to declare an end to pandemic.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation held talks in Geneva amid growing international concern over the accuracy of China’s data on the outbreak.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, stated that the WHO had reiterated to China “the significance of vaccination, including booster dosages to protect against hospitalisations, severe disease, and death”.
He said, “We continue asking China for more reliable, rapid, and consistent data on hospitalisations, deaths, and viral sequencing.”
According to the WHO, it is concerned by “risks to life” in China due to a rise in COVID cases. Meanwhile, Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 in Europe and the USA is rapidly spreading.
Although was confirmed by the XBB.1.5, it said that this variant is most easily transmitted. However, it does not seem to cause any more severe illness.
It was born from Omicron’s XBB variant, which itself is a fusion between two BA.2 variants – B.2.10.1 and B.2.75.
China’s latest COVID outbreak was largely led by Omicron subvariants BA.5.2 & BF.7 which together account for 97.5% all local infections.
European Union health officials are also discussing how to coordinate their response to China’s situation, including travel restrictions.