China increases hospitals and ICUs as COVID soars again

China is installing more intensive care facilities and focusing on strengthening hospitals as facing a surge in COVID cases. “The current trend of the rapid spread of the epidemic in Beijing still exists,” said city health commission spokesman Li Ang at a briefing Monday.

This comes at a time when the country is re-opening some locked-down areas and rolling back several COVID-19 rules after huge protests across the country. Beijing authorities said more than 22,000 patients had visited hospitals across the city in the most recent day.

“The number of fever clinic visits and flu-like cases increased significantly, and the number of… emergency calls increased sharply,” added Li Ang. On Sunday, Beijing looked deserted as residents avoided going out even though most malls, shops and restaurants remained open.

However, several restaurants had to be shut down because some staff members caught the infection. “Only a few thousands (positive infections) have been truly diagnosed and we see that hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of people infected in several cities,” said Zhong Nanshan, China’s top respiratory expert.

He added that “One infected person can spread it (the infection) to 18 others. The Omicron variant currently circulating in China is more transmissible, but a majority of infected people can fully recover within a week”.