Beijing: Chinese citizens have been left to fend for themselves after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) amid widespread protests against the government's zero-COVID policy, suddenly lifted its stringent COVID regulations, according to a report by Voices Against Autocracy.

The report also says that: "Continued inaction by the CCP and turning a blind eye to the people's suffering might again push people to the streets to get what is due to them."

COVID has been rapidly spreading in China. Informal reports show that about 40 percent of Beijing's residents are currently infected with COVID. The CCP has, however, changed its agenda to project COVID as a mere flu.

As cases rise in major Chinese cities, even people with mild symptoms are rushing to the hospitals. Emergency call operators are receiving 30,000 calls a day, six times the average number of calls received.

According to Voices Against Autocracy, there are queues outside fever clinics in various cities. Drugs and medicines are in short supply and hospitals are under stress as doctors and nurses catch the virus. Doctors who have tested positive or are asymptomatic are also being asked to come to work, risking further transmission.

"As per Ben Cowling, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong, the peak in Beijing is expected to be around late January, coinciding with the lunar year. Though the spread is presently concentrated in cities, it is just a matter of time before it reaches to rural areas," reported Voices Against Autocracy.

According to data from Ctrip, a China-based travel service provider, flight searches in China have increased by 160 per cent. Searches for train tickets have increased by 600 per cent.

Many rural areas in China are not prepared to handle the rise in cases. The vaccination rate is low and the vulnerable population is in high numbers. The death toll in China is thus going to remain high, according to the Voices Against Autocracy report.

Recently, Epidemiologists predicted that at least three COVID waves will hit China during the winter.

According to The Hong Kong Post, it is certain that the Chinese government was "under-prepared" as it decided to end its zero-COVID policy abruptly after people held protests across the country.

The Chinese government has so far remained silent on the number of deaths. However, the Chinese authorities have warned of successive waves of COVID infections in the coming months, as cases continue to increase after the lifting of restrictions earlier this month.