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World worries over a surge in Covid cases in China and its fallout


HQ Team

December 20, 2022: A resurgent Covid wave in China has the world worried about the possible effect on the global economy, supply chain bottlenecks and the possibility of new variants forming.

World healthcare officials are worried that China, with a population of 1.4 billion people and inadequate vaccination coverage, may not have the healthcare tools to treat a new wave, which is expected to kill more than one million people through 2023.

US and European officials are brainstorming on how to help China to stop this spread from turning into a crisis situation. “We have made that point that we are prepared to help in any way they might find acceptable,” U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.

Open communication and advance preparations are important to fight the Covid spread from getting out of hand. Other nations are trying to find ways to help the Chinese government accept any outside help considering the global and domestic health and economic implications of another worldwide infection spread.

“China’s vaccine nationalism is deeply tied to Xi’s pride, and accepting Western assistance would not only embarrass Xi, it would also pierce his oft-propagandized narrative that China’s governance model is superior,” said Craig Singleton, deputy director of the China program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

All efforts are centred towards persuading China to accept BioNTech’s (22UAy.DE) updated mRNA vaccine that is more effective against the currently circulating Omicron-related virus variants than the Chinese shots. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin discussed the issue on his visit last month.

Beijing has said “institutional advantages” will help it get through the epidemic without foreign assistance, and China’s estimated COVID death toll is still lower than the 1.1 million U.S. deaths and Europe’s 2.1 million.

The Associated Press reported a widespread wave of new coronavirus cases and an increase in deaths tied to COVID-19. 

The National Health Commission on Tuesday reported five Covid-related deaths in Beijing, taking the country’s total death toll to 5,242. The numbers may seem low compared to the global figures but the government is planning to end “zero-COVID” policy of lockdowns, quarantines and compulsory testing in the face of rare anti-government protests and a stumbling economy.

People are not testing and recuperating at home, and the Chinese government says it has no means to keep tabs on the actual number of Coivd cases in the country. Some scientific models have estimated numbers will rise with an eventual death toll in the tens or hundreds of thousands.

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