China has taken steps to free up hospital beds as authorities reported hundreds of fresh instances of an Omicron-led coronavirus epidemic on Wednesday, which has placed millions of people on lockdown and raised concerns about the country’s health-care system.
On Wednesday, 3,290 new Covid-19 cases were reported throughout the nation, with 11 of them being severe.
There have been less than 5,000 cases reported since Tuesday, but the highly transmissible variety has proven to be the most difficult obstacle to China’s ‘zero-Covid’ approach to manage the epidemic to yet, according to official figures.
The Chinese government has not publicly acknowledged any Covid-related fatalities for more than a year, despite the fact that the first viral case was discovered in Wuhan in late 2019.
Prior to the implementation of rigorous Covid-19 standards, the nation referred all patients exhibiting any symptoms to specialty facilities.
However, a significant increase in the number of reported cases has prompted the closure of the 17.5 million people of the southern tech metropolis of Shenzhen and the imposition of restrictions on Shanghai and other cities, raising fears about future bed shortages.
Patients with minor Covid infections might be isolated at a central quarantine facility, according to a statement released late Tuesday by the National Health Commission. This would relieve burden on hospitals.
A spokesperson for the health authority said that patients with Omicron variant strains “are mostly suffering from asymptomatic infections and minor instances, and the majority of them do not need significant treatment.”
Patient gurneys outside hospitals in Hong Kong, where an increase in cases has caused hospitals to become overcrowded, have alarmed mainland authorities, who are now scrambling to create temporary hospitals in certain areas as a result.
CCTV footage from the state broadcaster A video released on Wednesday showed dozens of massive cranes putting up “temporary hospitals” in northeast China’s Jilin province, which has recorded more than 5,000 cases in the previous week.
Only 22,880 hospital beds are available in this province with a population of more than 24 million people.
In anticipation of an expected surge in patient numbers, 6,000 railway carriage-style hospital rooms, which were initially constructed in Wuhan during the early days of the epidemic, have been set up in Jilin City and the adjacent city of Changchun.
Not only has the new rise in cases placed tens of millions of people under lockdown throughout the country, but it has also prompted huge lines outside mass testing stations and stringent inspections at ports, suggesting the possibility of a halt in international commerce.