China keeps a watchful eye on COVID after dealing with a massive wave of infection

BEIJING: Despite Chinese health officials announcing on January 30 that the current wave of COVID-19 infections, the first wave to hit the country after it adjusted its COVID-19 control policies late last year, “is coming to an end,” the country remains alert.
“China will continue its surveillance of outpatient and emergency department visits, severe cases and deaths, as well as inbound travelers, for new variants, give early warnings and take precautions,” Chen Cao, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), said at a January 30 press conference.
Despite initial concerns that the Spring Festival travel rush, the country’s typical 40-day transportation peak around the Chinese New Year—which fell on January 22 this year, might accelerate the virus’ spread, official figures showed no spikes during the holiday from January 21 to 27. However, this does not mean the virus is disappearing; rather, this can be partly attributed to the herd immunity developed after China eased quarantine requirements in December 2022, experts said. Like elsewhere in the world, China needs to brace itself for future resurgences, they cautioned.
“The most recent wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in China has ended,” China CDC announced in its report, named COVID-19 Clinical and Surveillance Data. The report, released on January 25, added that no new SARS-CoV-2 mutations have been identified.
The report said the country’s latest wave of infection peaked in late December last year and then went on a continuous decline. It based this conclusion on nationwide surveillance data on the disease from December 9, 2022 to January 23, 2023.
The number of severe cases, meaning patients who have trouble breathing or experience persistent pain or pressure in the chest, and deaths in hospitals, reached a peak in late December 2022 or early January, and continued to go downward, according to the report. It also noted that related visits to outpatient fever clinics, usually units affiliated with hospitals’ emergency department, showed the same trend.
No significant flare-ups occurred during the Spring Festival holiday, China’s most important festival that generates the country’s, or even the world’s, largest annual human migration.
–The Daily Mail-Beijing review news exchange item