Ex-chief epidemiologist says China Covid peak to last 2-3 months

Beijing, Jan 13 (EFE).- The current wave of Covid-19 infections in China will continue to peak in places through February and March, the former chief epidemiologist at the country’s disease control center has said. 

Zeng Guang said the epidemic would hit different phases throughout the country, and warned that there would be a surge in rural areas where medical infrastructure was relatively poor compared to urban centers. 

“Our priority focus has been on the large cities. It is time to focus on rural areas,” he said in remarks cited by the Caixin report.

He said the current wave of infections had already peaked in places like Beijing, the capital, but was just beginning in some rural regions of China. 

“The epidemic is spreading much faster than the speed of vaccination,” said the epidemiologist

 People having intravenous therapy and oxygen therapy sit in a corridor of a hospital, in Shanghai, China, 13 January 2023. EFE/EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI

At a national level, the current wave of Covid-19 would peak over the next two to three months, through February and March, he added. 

Serious Covid-19 cases would continue to pose a challenge even after the peak infection rate wanes, he said. 

“The epidemic is spreading much faster than the speed of vaccination. If some vaccines had been used for sequential immunization even six months or three months earlier, the situation would be different,” he said. 

Chinese authorities in a number of regions have expressed their concern over the possible effects of a Covid-19 wave in rural areas, where older people and other vulnerable sectors of the population would be more exposed to the disease. 

The warnings come ahead of China’s Lunar New Year between January 21-27, a time of year when many citizens return to their hometowns to visit family. 

China’s Covid-19 surge comes after a rapid dismantling of the zero tolerance approach enforced since the pandemic emerged. 

Beijing’s announcement that it would reopen its borders from January 8 prompted some countries to enforce checks on inbound passengers. 

The World Health Organization has cast doubt on the accuracy of the Covid-19 figures offered by Beijing, prompting criticism from Chinese officials.  EFE

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