As China battles an unprecedented COVID surge, nearly 90% of Henan – the third most populous province – has been infected with the virus, a senior health official said Monday.
Kan Quancheng, director of the central Henan province health commission, said as of Jan. 6, the infection rate was 89%.
With Henan’s population at around 99.4 million, data suggests that 88.5 million people have tested positive for COVID.
Visits to fever clinics peaked on December 19 – just weeks after China began easing its brutal “zero-COVID” policies.
After that spike late last month, the number of COVID cases “showed a continuous downward trend,” Kan said at a Monday news conference.
Henan’s data is very different from the COVID figures that China’s central government has been sharing since early December. Officials say only 120,000 out of 1.4 billion people have been infected and only 30 have died since the end of “zero-COVID”.
After three years, China’s borders reopened on Sunday, marking the official end of the country’s “zero-COVID” policies, which involved requiring incoming travelers to self-quarantine.
But even as Beijing drops its quarantine requirements, many countries around the world are requiring Chinese visitors to test negative in hopes of containing the outbreak that is overwhelming Chinese hospitals and funeral homes.
COVID cases are expected to rise, especially as China looks to celebrate the Lunar New Year later this month, when millions are expected to leave cities and visit family in more rural areas.
With post wires