Beijing: China's medical system is straining as the number of seriously ill COVID patients is reportedly surging in Beijing and other parts of the country, reported NHK World.

Coronavirus infections have been spreading rapidly in many regions since the Chinese government eased its strict pandemic restrictions on December 7.

However, the Chinese Government continue to downplay the Covid related deaths in the country even though the hospitals are getting overwhelmed.

In order to conceal the actual figures of deaths related to Covid, the Government has now decided (December 20) that only deaths caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure would now be counted as Covid deaths.

The number of such patients is also increasing in China's inland provinces, where medical facilities and personnel are less equipped to deal with an outbreak, reported NHK World.

At an emergency care department at a hospital in Anhui Province, the entire medical staff have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.

With no backup available, they are apparently staying on duty while taking fever medication.

The department is reportedly examining more than 1,000 people a day, prioritizing those at higher risk, such as the elderly and patients with underlying health conditions, reported NHK World.

Meanwhile, with the Lunar New Year approaching, there is a high probability that the number of Covid cases in China may witness a further steep rise.

Although there is a high vaccination rate, the low effectiveness of Sinopharm and Coronovac vaccines against Omicron variants means that 80 per cent of the population is susceptible to Covid.

The Government is, however, yet to take measures to support hospitals, re-implement social distancing & mask mandates and impose restrictions on movements to reduce the /transmission of Covid.

Amidst the rapidly escalating covid situation across the country, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been rushing healthcare workers to Beijing to assist the hospitals, which have come under intense pressure.

The health infrastructure in the country is stretched due to insufficient medical supplies and a shortage of critical drugs, reported NHK World.

Consequently, the authorities have imposed restrictions on the distribution of critical medical equipment/drugs. The scarcity of medical resources has also impacted the CCP officials below the Vice-Minister rank and the retirees, who have been finding it difficult to access the necessary medical facilities.

President Xi Jinping is deeply concerned over the rising number of Covid cases in the country following the recent relaxation of the zero-Covid policy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Consequently, in his first public response to the deteriorating Covid situation in the country, Xi urged (December 26) for a targeted public health campaign for the prevention and control of Covid as the country has been facing new challenges on this front.

Xi also appealed for additional efforts to guide the public on promoting health knowledge and skills, developing good personal hygiene habits and practising a civilized & healthy lifestyle.

Chinese social media platforms have been reflecting the worsening Covid scenario in the country including mounting dead bodies as morgues and funeral homes could not cope with the unprecedented spurt in Covid deaths.

Meanwhile, the Government's handling of the Covid situation also came under intense criticism from academia and intelligentsia. Many Chinese experts from academia have also been accusing the Government of abdication of its responsibility and have been censuring it for failing to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

These experts have also questioned the rationale behind the Government's sudden change of stance, stipulating that only pneumonia and respiratory failures would be counted as Covid related deaths.

Despite the spike in Covid cases, the Chinese Government is keen to project to the international community that the country's Covid situation is under control.

In this regard, the NHC of China has downgraded (December 27) the Covid situation from Category 'A' to Category `B' from January 8, 2023, which implies: the reopening of borders; no designation of high-risk areas; and no quarantine for foreign visitors.

However, contrary to this projection, the Covid situation is now severe in Chaoyang (Beijing), Shijiazhuang, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Shanghai and Tianjin.

Incidentally, ICU beds are exhausted in most Beijing hospitals, with Jingxi Hotel (Haidan, Beijing) being converted into ICU for the treatment of senior party leaders/cadres.

In addition, China has also approved the use of Covid anti-virals viz. Pfizer's Paxlovid' and locally manufactured `Azvudine' to contain the situation.

Meanwhile, there is rising demand for 'India-made generic medicines in China including Primovir, Paxista and Molnatris', despite these medicines being on the restricted list of China, as the supply of Paxlovid' and `Azvudin' is limited.

Following the relaxations announced recently by the CCP in its "zero-Covid" poke) Provincial Government authorities from Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Sichuan and Shandong have been sending business delegations to various countries for participating in the trade fairs with the objective of fostering new business relations.

The move is also a part of the CCP's strategy to bring the Chinese economy back on track by rebuilding the supply chains, -- and stem the declining trend in the country's exports.

The initiatives are also aimed at diversifying the Chinese supply chains to the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asian countries in the wake of decisions by the US and some Western countries to reduce their dependency on China.