RNS: Around 60,000 people treated in hospitals for COVID-19 have died in China since it stopped enforcing its “zero-COVID” policy a month ago. This is a massive jump from the numbers released before, and it’s a response to criticism from around the world about the country’s coronavirus data.
After a lot of protests in late November, Beijing suddenly stopped its strict three-year anti-virus system of regular testing, travel restrictions, and mass lockdowns. Since then, the number of cases in the 1.4 billion-person country has been on the rise.
On Saturday, a health official announced that the highest number of COVID fever cases and emergency hospitalisations had occurred and that the number of patients was now declining.
During a press conference, Jiao Yahui, the head of the National Health Commission’s (NHC) Bureau of Medical Administration, said that 59,938 COVID-related deaths had happened in Chinese hospitals between December 8 and January 12. Based on those facts, she claimed that, out of those deaths, COVID was responsible for 5,503 of them since it led to respiratory failure, and the remaining deaths were the result of a combination of COVID and other disorders.
While international health experts have predicted at least one million COVID-related deaths this year, China has previously reported just over 5,000 deaths since the pandemic began, one of the lowest death rates in the world.