China’s COVID-19 death toll is rising, as the country racked up sixty thousand related fatalities in only a single month. The WHO is now demanding the Chinese government be more forthcoming with their figures by releasing more official data.
The removal of the government’s zero-COVID policy came after mass protests in December 2022 led to a reconsideration of its position. Critics complained of the heavy-handedness of measures that had been in place since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.
Certain key parts of the policy, such as holding people in quarantine camps, were only discontinued at the end of December, but a rapidly increasing mortality rate is already plaguing the country.
Protests over zero-COVID policy
Mass protests over China’s strict zero-COVID policy began in early December 2022 in most major cities. It was the the largest anti-government movement since the Tiananmen Square massacre that took place in 1989.
The death of ten people in a high-rise apartment building in Urumqi, a remote northwestern university town, was what initially led to the protests. Following the incident, anger and frustration at the government’s continued lockdown merely added fuel to what a November 22nd strike at the Foxconn Factory in Zhengzhou in Henan province had already started.
Foxconn Zhengzhou is the world’s largest Apple iPhone factory. Dissent against lack of payment and unlivable work conditions due to harsh COVID-19 restrictions within the workplace became widespread, and workers protested. There were even calls for President Xi Jinping to step down.
Al Jazeera reported on one activist named Ming Li. In an interview with the news organization, Li related how a protester kept shouting “Xi Jinping” to which the crowd then responded with “step down!” It became a sort of protest chant.
People across several cities in China have had enough of the country's 'zero-COVID' policy, with protests mounting after the deaths of 10 people in an apartment fire pic.twitter.com/SuUe0Mky9c
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 30, 2022
60,0000 COVID-19 deaths in China in one month
There have been almost sixty thousand—or 59,938 to be exact—COVID-19 related deaths in China following the decision of President Xi Jinping’s government to relax the rules. These deaths all occurred between December 8, 2022 and January 12, 2023. Ninety percent of victims were evidently over the age of sixty-five, and most had underlying heart conditions.
However, according to recent news reports, the head of China’s Bureau of Medical Administration told reporters that “the cases had peaked and were declining.”
“The number of fever clinic visitors is generally in a declining trend after peaking, both in cities and rural areas,” he was quoted as saying. Outside media has also reported that the only known COVID-related deaths were of individuals in the hospital rather than those at home.
Given that a large portion of China’s older population has yet to receive the vaccine, the Shanghai Health Commission has now promised to increase its efforts to reach that age group. After all, they are the most high-risk group.
In terms of travel to Greece, however, tourists and businessmen from China may still enter the EU country, despite an increase in COVID fatalities. Similarly, many Greeks will be traveling to China for the 18th China International Beverages Expo in April of this year. Greece will be honored at the event.