Coronavirus

Large scale COVID-19 outbreak in China unlikely in near term: Expert

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The possibility of a large scale rebound of COVID-19 in China over the next two or three months is very small as 80 percent of the population has already been infected, the chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday.

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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 in the near term, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on the Weibo social media platform.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese are travelling across the country for holiday reunions that had been suspended under recently eased COVID-19 curbs, raising fears of fresh outbreaks in rural areas less equipped to manage large outbreaks.

China has passed the peak of COVID-19 patients in fever clinics, emergency rooms and with critical conditions, a National Health Commission official said on Thursday.

Nearly 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died in hospital as of January 12, roughly a month after China abruptly dismantled its zero-COVID-19 policy, according to government data.

But some experts said that figure probably vastly undercounts the full impact, as it excludes those who die at home, and because many doctors have said they are discouraged from citing COVID-19 as a cause of death.

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