Infections will surge in rural areas in China

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Beijing, Jan 13 (IANS) Covid cases will surge in rural China where healthcare is less accessible, a top Chinese epidemiologist has warned.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese are travelling to their hometowns, many for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, ahead of the Lunar New Year, reports the BBC.

The peak of China’s Covid wave is expected to last two to three months, added Zeng Guang, former head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

China has stopped providing daily Covid statistics since abandoning zero-Covid.

However, 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, the BBC reported.

Speaking at an event earlier this month, Zeng said it was “time to focus on the rural areas”, in remarks reported in the Caixin news outlet.

Many elderly, sick and disabled in the countryside were already being left behind in terms of Covid treatment, he added.

Henan is the only province to have given details of infection rates, earlier this month a health official there said nearly 90% of the population had had Covid, with similar rates seen in urban and rural areas.

However, government officials say many provinces and cities have passed the peak of infections.

The Lunar New Year holidays in China, which officially start from January 21, involves the world’s largest annual migration of people.

Some two billion trips are expected to be made in total and tens of millions of people have already travelled, the BBC reported.

–IANS

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