Beds run out at Beijing hospital as COVID-19 spreads

BEIJING (AP) — Patients, mostly elderly, lay on stretchers in hallways or sat in wheelchairs taking oxygen as the Covid-19 outbreak stretched the resources of public health facilities in China’s capital, Beijing, even after its peak.

Chuiyangliu Hospital in the city’s east was overflowing with new patients on Thursday. Even as ambulances brought in more people, the beds ran out by midnight. Hard-pressed nurses and doctors rushed to get information and provide emergency treatment.

A wave of people seeking hospital China abandoned its most stringent pandemic restrictions last month after nearly three years of lockdowns, travel bans and school closures that have hurt the economy and sparked unusual street protests in the country fueling political discontent.

The outbreak appears to have first spread rapidly in densely populated cities. Now, officials are worried about reaching small towns and rural areas with weak health care systems. Several local governments began asking people to stay home for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday on Thursday, signaling lingering concerns about reopening.

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Abroad, the number of governments is increasing Travelers from China are required to undergo virus tests because the Chinese government says they are not sharing enough information about the outbreak. European union On Wednesday it “strongly encouraged” its member states to impose pre-departure Covid-19 testing, but not all have done so.

Italy – the first place in Europe where the pandemic took its toll in early 2020 – last week became the first EU member to require tests for travelers from China, and France and Spain followed suit with their own measures. The US imposed a requirement for a negative test result within 48 hours of departure.

China has criticized the demands and warned of countermeasures against the countries that impose them.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday he was concerned about the shortage Explosive data from the Chinese government.

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At a daily briefing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said Beijing continues to “share information and data with the international community in an open and transparent manner.”

“Currently, China’s Covid-19 situation is under control,” Mao said. “Furthermore, we hope that the WHO Secretariat will take a science-based, objective and impartial stance to play a positive role in addressing the epidemic globally.”

The local government’s appeals to avoid travel during the Lunar New Year holiday come days before the formal lifting of many remaining restrictions – some not already implemented – on Sunday.

“We recommend that everyone not return to their hometowns unless necessary during the peak of the epidemic,” the government of Shayang County in central China’s Hunan Province said in a statement dated Thursday. “Avoid meeting relatives and traveling between regions. Minimize travel.

Shoxian County in Anhui Province, southeast of Beijing, Qingyang in Gansu Province to the northwest, and Weifang in Shandong on the east coast have issued similar appeals.

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Appeals for a return to tighter epidemic controls over the past few years show some authorities are nervous about lifting them too quickly.

The Weifang government announcement said residents should celebrate the holiday with video and phone gatherings.

Avoid visiting relatives and friends to protect yourself and others,” it said.

Despite such concerns, Hong Kong has announced that it will reopen Some of its border crossings with China closed on Sunday and allow tens of thousands of people to cross each day without quarantine.

The city’s land and sea border checkpoints with the mainland have been closed for nearly three years, and the reopening is expected to provide a much-needed boost to Hong Kong’s tourism and retail sectors.


Associated Press reporters Joe McDonald in Beijing and Kanis Leung in Hong Kong contributed to this report.


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