By Biodun Busari
A study by Peking University, Beijing, China says about 900 million Chinese people have been infected with coronavirus as of Wednesday, 11th January, 2023.
According to BBC, the report estimated that 64% of China’s population has the virus.
It ranked Gansu province, where 91% of the people are reported to be infected, at the top, followed by Yunnan, (84%) and Qinghai (80%).
The BBC report disclosed that a top Chinese epidemiologist has also warned that cases will increase in rural China over the lunar new year.
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It also said the peak of China’s Covid wave is expected to last two to three months, added Zeng Guang, ex-head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese are travelling to their hometowns – many for the first time since the pandemic began – ahead of the lunar new year on 23 January.
China has halted offering daily Covid statistics since abandoning zero-Covid.
But hospitals in big cities – where healthcare facilities are better and more easily accessible – have become crowded with Covid patients as the virus has spread through the country.
Speaking at an event earlier this month, Mr Zeng said it was “time to focus on the rural areas”, in remarks reported in the Caixin news outlet.
Many elderly, sick and disabled in the rural areas were already being left behind in terms of Covid treatment, he added.
China’s central Henan province is the only province to have given details of infection rates – earlier this month a health official there said nearly 90% of the population had had Covid, with similar rates seen in urban and rural areas.
However, government officials have said many provinces and cities have passed the peak of infections.
The Lunar New Year holidays in China, which officially start on 21 January, involve the world’s largest annual migration of people.
About two billion trips are expected to be made in total and tens of millions of people have already travelled.
Last month, China abruptly abandoned its zero Covid policies. It also reopened its borders on Sunday.
Official data shows five or fewer deaths a day over the past month, numbers which are inconsistent with the long queues seen at funeral homes and reports of deaths on social media.
International health experts have predicted at least a million Covid-related deaths in China this year.
The country has officially reported just over 5,000 deaths since the pandemic began, one of the lowest death rates in the world.
China’s population stands at 1,425,887,337 according to Macro Trends, a research platform in the United States.
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