China has declared a “decisive victory” over the COVID-19 pandemic and claims it has the lowest death rate in the world. Still, experts say it has been on the verge of a three-year, largely hidden Beijing’s data are questionable as the coronavirus surges across the country. The world’s most populous country abruptly ended its zero COVID policy in early December with 80% of its 1.4 billion people infected, a prominent government scientist said last month.
China has recorded only about 80,000 COVID-related deaths in hospitals in the two months since it lifted restrictions, despite widespread reports of overcrowded clinics and morgues. Some experts say the actual number is much higher, as many patients died at home, widely discouraging doctors from reporting COVID as a cause of death.
Nevertheless, leaders cautioned that while the situation is improving, the virus is still spreading globally and continues to mutate, according to state media. The meeting stressed that China will increase the vaccination rate for the elderly, and strengthen the supply and production of medical goods. The PSC, China’s most powerful leadership body, urged all localities and departments to strengthen the medical service system, according to the report from the official Xinhua news agency.
China changes its signature ‘zero COVID’ policy last month after protests erupted in more than 20 Chinese cities after an apartment building fire killed at least 10 people on November 25 Victims were allegedly confined to their homes as part of COVID-19 measures. In January, the World Health Organization said China had underestimated the true impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the country and criticized its “very narrow” definition of COVID death.
The government recently said the COVID situation after the holiday was at “low levels”, despite concerns that the mass movement of travelers during the Chinese New Year would lead to an explosion of cases.