As a wider spread of COVID becomes more apparent, China’s cities are facing the first wave.

Streets were quiet in Chinese major cities on Sunday. People stayed at home in order to avoid a spike in COVID-19-related cases in urban centers from the north and south.

According to Wu Zunyou, China’s chief epidemiologist Wu Zunyou, China currently faces the first of three expected COVID waves this winter. If people travel in the same way as usual, returning home to their homes by mass transit for Lunar New Year holidays next month, the chances of more cases could be high.

China has yet to report COVID deaths. This is despite the fact that the country ended all restrictions leading to a zero tolerance policy on COVIDs Dec. 7, after unprecedented protests. This strategy was championed and promoted by President Xi Jinping.

Mass testing has been stopped for the virus as part of an easing in the zero-COVID restrictions. This casts doubt on the validity of official case numbers that can accurately capture the scale of this outbreak. China had reported 2,097 COVID-related symptomatic infections as of Dec. 17.

The spread of Omicron, a highly transmissible variant, has affected services in Beijing from parcel delivery to catering. The demand is also affecting funeral homes and crematoriums in the 22-million population of Beijing.

In China’s northwest, Xian was also shown as an empty metro station in social media postings. Internet users complain about delays in delivery.

After the surge in case numbers, Chengdu’s streets became deserted, but delivery times for food were getting better, according to a Chengdu resident, Zhang.

However, it was difficult to get antigen testing kits. She said that her recent order was being redirected to hospitals.

Authorities in Shanghai advised schools to move all classes online starting Monday. In Hangzhou, most grades of school were encouraged by authorities to complete the winter semester earlier.

The education bureau in Guangzhou advised that those who are already taking online classes as well as preschoolers, should not expect to return to school.

According to state media reports, Wu, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the current epidemic would reach its peak in winter and continue in three waves for approximately three months.

A first wave of migration would occur from mid-December to mid-January in large cities. The second wave would begin from late January through mid-February next years, and would be triggered by people’s movements ahead of the New Year holiday that lasts for a week.

China’s Lunar New Year will begin on January 21. Hundreds of millions of families return home for this holiday every year.

Wu stated that a third wave would be seen from mid-February to mid March as holiday workers return to work.

The U.S.-based research center said that China may see an increase in cases, and more than a million Chinese could be affected by COVID by 2023.

Wu stated that severe cases of polio in China have declined over recent years and that vaccines that were already administered offered some protection. Wu recommended booster vaccinations to the public for those who are most vulnerable.

According to Xinhua, 87% of those over 60 have had their vaccines completed, while only 66.4% have received a complete course.


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