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Up to 70% of Shanghai population infected with COVID-19, top city doctor fears

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GUANGZHOU, CHINA: Citizens are seen in a street on December 23, 2022 in Guangzhou, China. With the ease of the pandemic restrictions, people's lives have gradually improved. (Stringer - Anadolu Agency)
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Jan 04, 2023 - 06:59 AM

BEIJING (AA) – Up to 70% of the population in Shanghai may have already been infected with COVID-19 after China eased restrictions last month, a leading city doctor said on Tuesday.

Chen Erzhen, vice president at Ruijin Hospital and member of Shanghai’s Covid-19 expert advisory panel, told state media People’s Daily that the situation has changed remarkably compared with last spring when the city was under strict lockdown.

Authorities in Shanghai imposed a two-month lockdown from April, during which over 600,000 residents were infected, nearly 600 died and many were put into mass quarantine centers.

“At that time … the infected were screened by nucleic acid tests and many of those in makeshift hospitals showed no symptoms. The epidemic now is so widespread that it has probably reached 70% of the population, more than 20 to 30 times the number at that time,” Chen said.

He further said the number of patients in the emergency unit of his hospital has risen to 1,600 people per day, as 80% of them are coronavirus-related and vulnerable groups such as the elderly or immunocompromised make up nearly half of these infections.

China is facing an explosive spike in infections after dumping its strict “zero-COVID” policy last month following unrest and unprecedented protests in parts of the country.

It has shifted to a policy of treating confirmed patients rather than trying to curb the virus’ spread.

 

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

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