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During the “Christmas season”, China was ravaged by the new crown, and the number of infected people may have exceeded 250 million

The entrance hall of Chongqing Fifth People's Hospital was converted into an emergency room. (23 December 2022)
The entrance hall of Chongqing Fifth People’s Hospital was converted into an emergency room. (23 December 2022)

WASHINGTON — According to a report by Bloomberg and the Financial Times on Friday (December 23), the number of infected people in China has reached nearly 250 million in just over two weeks since the Chinese government suddenly relaxed the extreme epidemic prevention and control measures of “dynamic zeroing” without warning, preparation or plan earlier this month.

If the reports are true, this means that about 18% of China’s 1.4 billion people have already been infected with the new crown. This also means that when Christmas approaches, New Year’s Day approaches, and the Spring Festival approaches, the epidemic may rise further, and people will need to endure for a long time before eventually reaching the peak of the epidemic and slowing down its changes.

Relatives in filial clothing outside a crematorium in Shanghai hold portraits of their deceased relatives. (23 December 2022)
Relatives in filial clothing outside a crematorium in Shanghai hold portraits of their deceased relatives. (23 December 2022)

The data cited by Bloomberg and the Financial Times were purportedly from an internal meeting of China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday, and sources were people familiar with the meeting. The National Health Commission meeting on that day focused on how to effectively treat people infected in the outbreak.

According to reports, a meeting of China’s National Health Commission on the same day discussed in detail how to deal with the epidemic, and revealed that the number of infected people in China on Tuesday alone was as high as 37 million, while the number of new confirmed cases in China’s official statistics on that day was only 3,049. China’s National Health Commission announced only 62,592 new confirmed cases in December.

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CNN reported that Chinese social media circulated a transcript of a meeting purportedly of the health commission meeting on Friday, but CNN could not determine its authenticity, and the contact with the National Health Commission did not receive an immediate response.

Shanghai citizens wait at the fever clinic of a hospital. (24 December 2022)
Shanghai citizens wait at the fever clinic of a hospital. (24 December 2022)

The Financial Times quoted two people familiar with the matter as reporting that Sun Yang, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, spoke to participants at a meeting of the National Health Commission about the number of 37 million infected in a single day on Tuesday. He also said that the epidemic in China is still rising, and more than half of the people in Beijing and Sichuan have been infected or infected.

As the epidemic continues to soar, the Shanghai municipal authorities on Saturday called on Shanghai residents to prioritize epidemic prevention, try to stay at home during the Christmas weekend, and avoid holding or participating in activities related to the Christmas celebration.

The Shanghai Municipal Health Commission pointed out that because the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, spreads quickly, and the cold temperature is more conducive to the spread of the virus, young people should especially avoid parties and gatherings with large numbers.

Christmas is not a traditional holiday in China, but more and more young people like to gather together at Christmas to spend the festive season.

A couple in Shanghai kiss in a fever clinic in a hospital. (23 December 2022)
A couple in Shanghai kiss in a fever clinic in a hospital. (23 December 2022)

China’s sudden lifting of the lockdown after three years of extreme lockdown measures of “dynamic zero” finally made China the last major country to follow the world trend and learn to coexist with the virus. Although the move has been welcomed by some Chinese people, the ravages of the Omicron variant and the increasing number of families infected have worried many people.

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A bustling upscale shopping mall on West Nanjing Road in Shanghai is often the best place to celebrate Christmas, with surrounding restaurants and merchants offering a variety of promotions to increase business opportunities and festive events.

But this year, due to the pandemic, Shanghai’s Christmas celebrations have been greatly reduced, even without the appeal of the city government.

Shanghai residents go shopping at Christmas markets during the coronavirus pandemic. (24 December 2022)
Shanghai residents go shopping at Christmas markets during the coronavirus pandemic. (24 December 2022)

According to the media, many restaurants in Shanghai have cancelled Christmas parties that are usually held for regulars, while hotels in Shanghai have been forced to limit the number of guests due to insufficient staff.

“Due to the current understaffing of most members of the team, we can only accommodate some guests,” Jacqueline Mocatta, a woman who works in Shanghai’s hotel industry, told Reuters.

Some people also posted on social media that because their friends all tested positive for nucleic acid, they could only be grounded at home during Christmas.

“I was planning to go to Shanghai for Christmas, but now I’m bedridden,” one netizen said on Weibo.

A hearse waiting in line outside a crematorium in Beijing. (22 December 2022)
A hearse waiting in line outside a crematorium in Beijing. (22 December 2022)

British health data company Airfinity pointed out on its official website two days ago that data simulations show that China’s current daily new crown infections are likely to exceed one million, and the number of new infections per day may exceed 5,000.

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