The COVID limits are fading, putting China’s healthcare system to the test

Three years after the covid-19 first appeared in central China, a small number of people have recently taken to the streets to protest against a zero-COVID policy that called for lockdowns that would have an adverse economic impact and obligatory quarantines in government buildings.

Although some applauded Beijing’s surprise policy change on Wednesday, it also caused trepidation in a nation with a low vaccination record where people was already raised to fear the disease.

Health officials in China’s 1.4 billion people are no longer subject to mandatory PCR testing, which has hindered their ability to promptly identify cases and track the spread of illnesses, affecting the economy and society.

The officials have not estimated how many individuals may pass away or become gravely ill since loosening the limitations. China forecasted at least 100 fatalities for every 100,000 illnesses in October.

9.2 million people live in Baoding, which swiftly gained notoriety on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, after COVID patients posted about the lack of medical resources there as the number of infections increased.

Many pharmacies now carry cold-relief medications like Ibuprofen since some inventories have been refilled. However, antigen test kits and the well-known traditional Chinese medication Lianhua Qingwen, which is used to treat symptoms including fever and cough, are still difficult to find.

It is not just Baoding. China’s government has begun to tighten down on stockpiling after online pharmacies there ran out of medications and test kits.

Officials have advised people to use self-administered antigen kits to report significant symptoms. The risk that the very ill would not receive prompt treatment is increased by the fact that those kits are still difficult to find.

Regardless of how many infections are detected in the test results, there will undoubtedly be more in the following weeks, according to epidemiologist Ben Cowling of Hong Kong University. He cautioned that severe infections might also rise.

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