Global COVID-19 situation in China is changing rapidly with proportion of severe cases higher than all previous outbreaks: health authority

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident for nucleic acid testing in Hohhot, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Oct. 29, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

China’s top health authorities have said COVID-19 outbreaks in at least ten regions have been or are under control, but the overall state of the epidemic in the country is in a phase of rapid development and remains complicated and the proportion of severe cases in this cycle of epidemic resurgence is higher than that of any previous wave.

In the past 14 days, 14 Chinese provinces have reported locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. The current epidemic is still in a phase of rapid development and remains complicated, Mi Feng, spokesperson for China’s National Health Commission, said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

The risk of the outbreak spreading and spreading in the Sino-Mongolian border town of Ejin Banner in northern China’s Inner Mongolia was effectively controlled as the region had not reported any other cases. swamped with cases in other areas for four days since Oct. 25. Most of the new cases detected in recent days have been identified at quarantine points. Previous anti-epidemic measures have been shown to be effective and viral transmission in communities has been fundamentally controlled.

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a child for a nucleic acid test in a residential area of ​​Ejina Banner of the Alxa League, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, October 20, 2021 Photo: Xinhua

A medical worker takes a swab from a child for a nucleic acid test in a residential area of ​​Ejina Banner of the Alxa League, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, October 20, 2021. Xinhua

While the outbreak in the Sino-Russian border town of Heihe, in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, is an isolated viral chain that was caused by an imported case unrelated to those in Mongolia interior or Gansu.

Since October 27, the outbreak in Heihe has rapidly escalated and new cases have continued to be detected among mass testing, suggesting the viral spread has caused community transmission and poses a risk of spread or spillover. , according to the NHC.

Heihe reported 26 new cases on Friday. As part of the anti-epidemic measures, Heihe has changed the health code for all residents of Heihe City to yellow. The traffic light health code system is an important pass for getting around the county.

Guo Yanhong, an NHC official, said about 40% of patients discovered during this outbreak were aged 60 and over, which is much higher than the percentage of previous infection in previous outbreaks, which would be around 18.5%.

Many infected elderly people have underlying illnesses, so the proportion of severe cases in this epidemic resurgence cycle is higher than in previous waves, Guo noted.

All five regions – Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Shaanxi provinces – have reported no new cases for more than four consecutive days, and epidemics in these areas are being effectively controlled, while the spread of virus in five other regions – Beijing, Hebei, Shandong, Qinghai, Ningxia – is basically stable, Wu Liangyou, an NHC official said at the press conference.

Medical workers collect swabs at a nucleic acid testing site in Chengguan District of Lanzhou City, northwest China's Gansu Province, October 21, 2021. Photo:Xinhua

Medical workers collect swab samples at a nucleic acid testing site in Chengguan District of Lanzhou City, northwest China’s Gansu Province, Oct. 21, 2021. Photo:Xinhua

In Gansu province, Wu said most of the new cases were found among those quarantined and some sporadic cases were found in local communities. Gansu Province will work to speed up the investigation of the source of the infection and cut the chain of community transmission to alleviate more infections.

This series of COVID-19 outbreaks has revealed weaknesses in some places, such as insufficient emergency preparedness and inadequate responsibilities for the prevention and control of the outbreak, Wu noted.

Wu said that as the weather turns cold and the epidemic in neighboring countries intensifies, China, especially in port areas, must strictly implement regular measures to prevent and control the disease. epidemic and strengthen screening and closed-loop management of high-risk populations.

Inner Mongolia (northern China) sacked at least four officials due to poor response to latest COVID-19 outbreak, Sun Jianjun, leader of the Alxa League Culture, Tourism and Television Party , being the most recent change of personnel.

While national epidemics have intensified at a rapid rate, vaccination rates have also accelerated. China administered more than 2.26 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine on Friday, and the number of people who have completed the full round of vaccination has exceeded 1.07 billion.

Authorities have recommended those who completed their full immunizations more than six months ago to sign up for a booster. The age group targeted by vaccination now extends to over three years compared to the previous 12 years.

As the vaccine rollout continues, China will encourage children between the ages of three and 11 to get the vaccine. On Friday, the total number of vaccinations for young people aged three to 11 exceeded 3.53 million doses.

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