Last Updated on January 1, 2023 by Bitfinsider
Thousands of Chinese people rushed to the streets to celebrate the New Year, as officials and state media attempted to reassure the public that the Covid-19 epidemic sweeping the country was under control and approaching its peak.
Though many individuals in big cities have remained isolated as the virus spreads, New Year’s Eve festivities looked to be relatively untouched as people celebrated the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.
Residents in Wuhan, where the coronavirus was discovered at the end of 2019, said their concerns about the impact of loosening tight zero-Covid regulations on living with the condition had subsided – at least for the young and healthy.
“Basically, my friends and I are feeling reasonably cheerful and hopeful right now,” said a 29-year-old tutor named Wu. “A lot of folks are out and about.”
“We all know that this virus will hit the middle-aged and elderly, especially those over 60 years old, especially those with underlying conditions,” he stated.
A large line formed outside Wuhan’s Tongji Hospital’s emergency room, a key hospital for Covid-19 patients.
China’s rapid abandonment of Covid regulations, as well as the veracity of its case and fatality data, have come under increased scrutiny both at home and abroad.
The increase in cases has sparked new concerns about the economy’s health, and in his first public comments since the policy shift, President Xi Jinping urged for more effort and unity as China enters a “new chapter” in his New Year’s address.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported one additional Covid-19 fatality in the mainland on December 31, the same as the day before, on Sunday.
The official death toll in China is currently 5,249, significantly lower than in other major countries. The administration has denied allegations that it purposefully underreported the total number of casualties.
On Sunday, an irregular stream of mourners and hearse drivers arrived at the Hankou funeral home on the outskirts of Wuhan.
Staff at the closely guarded site’s entrance refused to comment on their recent workloads. However, funeral houses in other Chinese cities, including Chengdu and Beijing, have reported that business has been busier than ever since China unexpectedly abandoned its Covid regulations last month.
On Saturday, China’s CDC recorded 5,138 officially confirmed cases, but with mass testing no longer in place, experts believe the true number of illnesses is far higher.
According to state media in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, daily cases peaked at approximately 60,000 recently and have since dropped to around 19,000.
Authorities have been attempting to reassure the people that the issue is under control, and state news agency Xinhua published an editorial on Sunday stating that the current method is “a planned, science-based approach” that takes into account the virus’s evolving nature.
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