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China Says 80% Of Population Have Had Covid19, As Millions Travel For Lunar New Year

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China Says 80% Of Population Have Had Covid19, As Millions Travel For Lunar New Year

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China Says 80% Of Population Have Had Covid19, As Millions Travel For Lunar New Year
China Says 80% Of Population Have Had Covid19, As Millions Travel For Lunar New Year

A senior government scientist said eight out of ten people in China now have Covid-19.

"The current epidemic wave has already infected about 80 percent of the 1.4 billion people in the countryside," said Wu Junyu, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, on Saturday, the eve of the Lunar New Year.

His announcement comes amid fears that the rush of travel around the Lunar New Year holiday, sometimes called "the world's largest human migration", could spread the virus into the country and unleash a second wave of infections.

Ma Wu said through his personal social media account that this scenario is unlikely because many people have already been infected.

"The possibility of a large-scale resurgence of Covid-19 or a second wave of infections across the country in the next two to three months is very unlikely," Wu said.

China's Ministry of Transport estimates that more than 2 billion passengers will be transported during the 40-day Lunar New Year season as people across the country return to their hometowns for family reunions without local travel restrictions, the first time since the outbreak began in more than a decade. out of three. years. many years ago.

China's state broadcaster CCTV reported on Sunday that more than 26 million passengers traveled on Lunar New Year's Eve.

He said this was only half the number of same-day travelers in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, but 50.8 percent more than in 2022.

CCTV added that more than 4.1 million people traveled by train and 756,000 by plane to celebrate Lunar New Year's Eve.

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The country's road system recorded more than 20 million passengers on the same day, up 55.1 percent from the figure of 2022.

As of Friday, China's transportation system had handled 560 million passengers during the first 15 days of the current 40-day Spring Festival, including peak-hour railway, highway, water and air trips, up 47.9% from the same period last year. the year. with CCTV.

Doubts about infection statistics

An earlier study by Peking University's National School of Development found that more than 900 million people, or 64% of China's population, were at risk of contracting Covid-19 as of January 11.

The university study also indicated that the outbreak in most parts of the country peaked on December 20, about 13 days after China began easing Covid restrictions.

According to the study, infections peaked across the country at the end of December.

Chinese health officials made similar claims, saying Thursday that visits to fever clinics and Covid hospitalizations in China have fallen from peaks in late December and early January, respectively.

The number of Covid patients needing intensive care in hospitals has also peaked, according to authorities.

According to official figures, nearly 60,000 Chinese people died of Covid in hospitals between December 8 and January 12, after China suddenly abandoned its "zero Covid" policy.

However, the WHO's executive director for health emergencies Mike Ryan suggested earlier this month that figures from China "do not represent the true impact of the disease in terms of hospitalizations, intensive care and deaths."

According to internal estimates from the country's top health authorities, up to 250 million people in China could contract Covid in the first 20 days of December. If the estimate is correct, which CNN could not independently confirm, that would be about 18% of China's population.

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