Thursday, June 13, 2024

China Covid: Hospitals under strain in wave of infections

 Hospitals in China have come under a huge strain following the country’s rapid 180-degree shift in Covid policy. Staff shortages have led to frontline medical workers being told to come in even if they have the virus leading to the possibility that doctors and nurses could be infecting patients.
Chen Xi, a Chinese professor specialising in health policy told the BBC that he has been speaking to hospital directors and other medical staff in China about the massive strains on the system right now. “People who’ve been infected have been required to work in the hospitals which creates a transmission environment there,” he said.
Hospitals across the country have increased their fever ward capacity in a rush to meet the huge influx of patients. However, even these have been filling up quickly, in part because the message that it is all right to stay at home if you catch the virus is not getting through.
Professor Chen says much more needs to be done to explain this to people. “There is no culture of staying at home for minor symptoms,” he said. “When people feel sick they all go to hospitals, which may easily crash the healthcare system.”
Pharmacies nationwide are also facing huge shortages of cold and flu medicines. Home testing kits for Covid-19 are also hard to come by. Notably, though restaurants in Beijing have been allowed to open again, customers are few. Companies are telling employees they should return to the office, but many don’t want to.
The rapid transition from when the government was saying that there will be no swerving from zero-Covid, that those infected must go to centralised quarantine facilities, and that lockdowns were necessary to the sudden reopening has everyone confused.
Street protests occurred nationwide with demonstrators demanding their old lives back. They wanted to be free to move around again forcing the government to abandon the zero-covid policy.

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