China’s COVID-19 cases soar as worst affected city sees 500,000 new cases daily

China COVID-19 centre - Image Abdul Razak Latif /

The change in China’s COVID-19 strategy has seen cases soar across the country with the worst Qingdao seeing as many as 500,000 new cases daily.

According to the AFP news agency as reported by rfi on Saturday, December 24 cities across China are struggling to cope with the speed the virus is spreading, emptying pharmacies, filling hospitals and causing long queues at crematoriums and funeral homes.

With the government having moved away from its strict testing programme it is unclear what the true numbers are. To make the situation worse the ruling party has changed the medical definition of a COVID-19 death effectively suppressing the true number.

Despite attempts to hide the figure, some officials are speaking out with a news outlet operated by the ruling Communist Party in Qingdao on Friday quoting a local municipal health chief who put the numbers of new cases “between 490,000 and 530,000” a day.

This is a city of around 10 million residents which officials say is approaching its peak transmission rate with the number of daily affected expected to grow over the weekend by as much as 10 per cent.

Authorities responsible for managing the pandemic have claimed only 4,103 new domestic infections nationwide and have said there were no deaths. They have also said there were only 31 new cases in the whole of Shandong providence where Qingdao is located.

Politically sensitive the Chinese government is trying to contain the bad news as they try to justify the steps they have taken. However, the evidence is clear to anyone who has visited a hospital or crematorium recently.

Some regions have, however, chosen to be a little more open with the government of eastern Jiangxi province saying on social media that 80 per cent of its population would have been infected by March. That’s around 36 million people.

Despite that openness, they are still adhering to the government line saying that although 18,000 people had been hospitalised over the last two weeks there had been no COVID-19 deaths.

Experts around the world have expressed concern as China’s COVID-19 cases soar, saying that it is not good news for the world with the country’s management of the virus potentially leading to the next pandemic.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]