China pushes vaccines as backlash from ‘zero-COVID’ turns into chaos

China pushes vaccines as backlash from 'zero-COVID' turns into chaos
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  • Beijing urges vaccination for the elderly
  • WHO urges vaccination as virus spreads
  • The economic summit begins amid more dire data

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, Dec 15 (Reuters) – China raced on Thursday to vaccinate the most vulnerable in anticipation of waves of COVID-19 infections, with some analysts expecting the death toll to rise after easing strict controls that contained the pandemic. bay for three years.

A boost also comes as the World Health Organization expressed his concerns China’s 1.4 billion people are not properly vaccinated and the US offered help in the fight against the increase of infections.

Last Wednesday, Beijing began lifting strict “zero-Covid” controls, scrapping testing requirements and easing quarantine rules that have inconvenienced tens of millions of people and hit the world’s second-largest economy.

The move away from President Xi Jinping’s signature “zero-COVID” policy followed an unprecedented outcry against it. But Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies director, said infections in China had been rising long before the government decided to phase out its strict regime.

“There is a narrative now that China has lifted restrictions and suddenly the disease is out of control,” Ryan said at a briefing in Geneva.

“The disease was spreading intensively because I believe the control measures did not stop the disease.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said this on Thursday “institutional advantages” Fight against COVID.

“We will certainly be able to easily get through the peak of the epidemic,” he told White House national security spokesman John Kirby at a routine news briefing where the United States was ready to help if China asked for it.

There are signs of growing chaos amid China’s sticky transition – long queues outside fever clinics, drug runs and panic buying across the country.

On Thursday night, China’s state-owned asset regulator urged major state-backed drugmakers to ensure supplies of COVID-related drugs.

Among the companies are China Resources, China General Technology and Sinopharm, which are making drugs that can ease the symptoms of the coronavirus.

A video posted online on Wednesday showed several people in thick winter clothes being attached to intravenous drips as they sat on stools in the street outside a clinic in central Hubei province. Reuters confirmed the location of the video.

The fear of covid In China, it has also sent people in Hong Kong, Macau and parts of Australia scrambling for fever medicine and test kits for family and friends on the mainland.

Despite its best efforts to contain the virus since its outbreak in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, China may now be paying a price to protect a population that lacks “herd immunity” and has low vaccination rates among the elderly, analysts say.

“Authorities have allowed cases to spread in Beijing and other cities, suggesting that general restrictions, testing and monitoring will be ineffective in containing outbreaks,” analysts at the Eurasia Group said in a note on Thursday.

“More than 1 million people could die from COVID in the coming months.”

Other experts noted the potential harm More than 2 million. China has so far reported only 5,235 COVID-related deaths, which is quite low by global standards.

China’s stock markets and currency fell on Thursday on concerns about the spread of the virus.

China reported 2,000 new symptomatic COVID-19 infections for December. 14 people compared to 2,291 per day. Official figures have become less reliable as tests have dwindled. It also stopped reporting asymptomatic numbers on Wednesday.


China, which says about 90% of its population has been vaccinated against COVID, has now decided to introduce a second booster vaccine for high-risk groups and people over the age of 60.

Mi Feng, spokesman for the National Health Commission, said the promotion of vaccinations should be accelerated, according to comments carried by state media on Wednesday.

The latest official data shows that China had 1.43 million COVID-19 shots as of Tuesday, well above November’s rate of about 100,000 to 200,000 doses per day. In total, he managed 3.45 billion shots.

In recent days, vaccinations are increasing in China. The latest official data showed 1.43 million shots were administered on Tuesday, well above November’s rate of about 100,000 to 200,000 doses per day.

But a Shanghai care home said on Wednesday that a number of its residents had not yet been vaccinated and were barring visitors and non-essential deliveries while stocking up on medicines, test kits and protective equipment.

“We are racking our brains on how to ensure the safety of your grandparents,” Yuepu Tianyi Nursing Home said in a letter posted on its official WeChat account page.

Beijing has largely resisted western vaccines and treatments, relying on locally produced needles. Pfizer’s (PFE.N) The oral COVID-19 treatment is Paklovid is one of the few foreign countries that it approves.

However, the treatment has only been available in hospitals for high-risk patients, but in recent days there have been signs that it could soon become more widely available.

Shares of China Meheco Group Co Ltd rose in price (600056.SS) After announcing a deal to import the US drugmaker’s treatment on Wednesday.


As the virus spreads, President Xi, his ruling Politburo and senior government officials A two-day meeting to revive China’s battered economy has begunciting sources with knowledge of the matter.

China’s economy lost more steam in November as factory output growth slowed and retail sales fell, missing forecasts and posting their worst reading since May, data showed on Thursday.

Economists estimate that China’s growth has slowed to about 3% this year, marking one of China’s worst performances in almost half a century.

Reporting by Albee Zhang, Liz Lee and Bernard Orr in Beijing, Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Stella Qiu in Sydney; Additional reporting by Ella Cao in Beijing; Written by John Geddie and Greg Torode; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore and Arun Koyyur

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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