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After the sudden end of zero-Covid, China’s authorities now look for ways to at least appear to be responding to the Omicron wave. Hastily erected fever clinics, for example, are supposed to help shorten the waiting lines outside existing treatment centers.
However, when it comes to breaking the infection chains, the authorities have given up. But the true magnitude of the situation is impossible to assess. This is because the authorities no longer publish any infection numbers, as Finn Mayer-Kuckuk reports.
Will the country now descend into Covid chaos after the extreme zero-Covid policy? Images of overwhelmed clinics at least suggest as much. And the upcoming New Year in the second half of January could make the situation even worse.
In the first year of the pandemic, Beijing presented itself as a pioneer and showed its generosity, for example by donating masks. Serbia, for example, received aid from the People’s Republic – the EU, on the other hand, had little presence in the country in the Western Balkans at the time. For Beijing, this was an enormous image boost, explains Stefan Vladisavljev at the Table.Live briefing on China’s influence in Central and Eastern Europe. My colleague Michael Radunski recapped the event for you.
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Publication of infection numbers discontinued
China’s state apparatus responds to the alarming rise in the number of new Covid infections with a variety of instructions. However, the goal is no longer to break the chains of infection, as it was during zero-Covid times. The new measures now only try to cope with the high number of infected people. The government thus surrenders to the spread of the Omicron variant. Meanwhile, the situation becomes increasingly unclear as the authorities release fewer data.
The National Health Commission speaks of a “rapid increase in demand for diagnosis and treatment” of the disease. As a result, the government has already set up 47,000 new Covid treatment centers at hospitals nationwide. These so-called fever clinics already treated Covid patients in the past. They are usually located at larger institutions. In the future, they will also be set up at smaller community hospitals.
Treatments at fever clinics have been streamlined, with only 40 minutes available per patient. The Health Commission also ordered the expansion of online doctor consultations, which are to be accessible 24 hours a day. Patients with mild symptoms should ideally no longer see a doctor at all and recover at home.