Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

Facing COVID-19 surge, China expanding hospitals, ICUs

Facing COVID-19 surge, China expanding hospitals, ICUs

Facing a surge in COVID-19 cases, China is setting up more intensive care facilities and trying to strengthen hospitals as Beijing rolls back anti-virus controls that confined millions of people to their homes, crushed economic growth and set off protests.
President Xi Jinping’s government is officially committed to stopping virus transmission, the last major country to try. But the latest moves suggest the ruling Communist Party will tolerate more cases without quarantines or shutting down travel or businesses as it winds down its “zero-COVID” strategy.

A Cabinet meeting called Thursday for “full mobilization” of hospitals including adding staff to ensure their “combat effectiveness” and increasing drug supplies, according to state media. Officials were told to keep track of the health of everyone in their area aged 65 and older.

It isn’t clear how much infection numbers have increased since Beijing last week ended mandatory testing as often as once a day in many areas. But interviews and social media accounts say there are outbreaks in businesses and schools across the country. Some restaurants and other businesses have closed because too many employees are sick.

The virus testing site in Beijing’s Runfeng Shuishang neighborhood shut down because all its employees were infected, the neighborhood government said Saturday on its social media account. “Please be patient,” it said.

Official case numbers are falling, but those no longer cover large parts of the population after mandatory testing ended Wednesday in many areas. That was part of dramatic changes that confirmed Beijing was trying gradually to join the United States and other governments that ended travel and other restrictions and are trying to live with the virus.

On Sunday, the government reported 10,815 new cases, including 8,477 without symptoms. That was basely one-quarter of the previous week’s daily peak above 40,000 but only represents people who are tested after being admitted to hospitals or for jobs in schools and other higher-risk sites.

Shaanxi province in the west has set aside 22,000 hospital beds for COVID-19 and is ready to increase its intensive care capacity 20 percent by converting other beds, the Shanghai news outlet The Paper reported, citing Yun Chunfu, an official of the provincial health commission. Yun said cities are “accelerating the upgrading” of hospitals for “critically ill patients.”

“Each city is required to designate a hospital with strong comprehensive strength and high treatment level” for COVID-19 cases, Yu was cited as saying at a news conference.

China has 138,000 intensive care beds, the general director of Bureau of Medical Administration of the National Health Commission, Jiao Yahui, said at a news conference Friday. That is less than one for every 10,000 people.

Health resources are distributed unevenly. Hospital beds are concentrated in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities on the prosperous east coast. Thursday’s Cabinet statement told officials to make sure rural areas have “fair access” to treatment and drugs.

China’s controls kept its infection rate low but crushed already weak economic growth and prompted complaints about the rising human cost. The official death toll is 5,235, compared with 1.1 million for the United States.

China’s official total case count of 363,072 is up nearly 50 percent from the Oct. 1 level after a rash of outbreaks across the country.

Still, health experts and economists say “zero COVID” is likely to stay in place at least through mid-2023 because millions of elderly people need to be vaccinated before restrictions that keep most visitors out of China be lifted. The government launched a campaign last week to vaccinate the elderly, a process that might take months.

Experts warn there still is a chance the ruling party might reverse course and reimpose restrictions if it worries hospitals might be overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, experts cited by state media called on the public to reduce the strain on hospitals by treating mild COVID-19 cases at home and putting off treatment for less serious problems.

Patients are standing in line for up to six hours to get into fever clinics. Accounts on social media say some hospitals turn away patients with problems deemed not serious enough to need urgent treatment.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×