China says COVID outbreak has infected 80% of population

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The mass movement of people during the ongoing Lunar New Year holiday period may spread the pandemic, boosting infections in some areas, but a second COVID wave is unlikely anytime soon, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention. , he said on the social media platform Weibo.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese are traveling across the country for holiday reunions that had been suspended under recently eased COVID curbs, raising fears of new outbreaks in rural areas less equipped to handle large outbreaks.

China has passed the peak of COVID patients in fever clinics, emergency rooms and in critical conditions, a National Health Commission official said on Thursday.

Nearly 60,000 people with COVID had died in hospital as of January 12, roughly a month after China suddenly dismantled its zero-COVID policy, according to government data.

But some experts said that figure probably underestimates the full impact, as it excludes those who die at home, and because many doctors have said they are discouraged from naming COVID as a cause of death.

(Reporting by the Beijing newsroom; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and William Mallard)

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