China is set to face another Covid wave as people prepare to travel to their homes to spend time with their loves during the Lunar Year.
It is believed that the Covid cases could explode as this is the first Lunar New Year holiday, also known as the Spring Festival in China, after Beijing lifted all zero-Covid restrictions.
Nearly 2.1 billion passenger trips are expected to be made during the 40-day travel period around the holiday, considered the largest annual human migration in the world. This is double to what occurred just a year ago when Beijing imposed travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus
Airports and railways stations in megacities like Beijing and Shanghai witnessed a massive crowd with people heading back to their hometowns for Lunar New Year celebrations, triggering fears of an outbreak, ABC News reported.
However, health officials in China believe that the country won’t experience a second wave of Covid infections in the next two to three months.
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“Although a large number of people travelling during the Spring Festival may promote the spread of the epidemic to a certain extent… the current wave of the epidemic has already infected about 80 per cent of the people in the country,” Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a post on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform on Saturday.
He said that the possibility of… a second wave of the epidemic across the country in the next two to three months “is very small”.
Meanwhile, China reported nearly 13,000 Covid-related deaths between January 13 and 19, after a top health official said, according to AFP news agency.
A week ago, nearly 60,000 people died from Covid as of January 12, but there has been widespread scepticism over official data since Beijing abruptly axed anti-virus controls last month.
In a statement on Saturday, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that 681 hospitalised patients had died of respiratory failure caused by coronavirus infection, and 11,977 had died of other diseases combined with infection over the period.
(With inputs from agencies)