Chinese City Plans Flu Lockdowns as Outbreaks Surge Across the Country; Top Virologist Warns of Next COVID-19 Wave

Alex Wu
By Alex Wu
March 12, 2023China News
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Fever cases in major cities across China are surging during the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) top Two Sessions annual meeting.

CCP officials said it’s an outbreak of influenza A, as Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, plans a citywide flu lockdown. However, people are worried about a resurgence of COVID-19, following the massive wave of infections over December 2022 and January that collapsed the country’s medical system and overwhelmed crematoria.

Dr. Zhang Wenhong, China’s top virologist and the director of the Infectious Diseases Department of Huashan Hospital Affiliated with Fudan University in Shanghai, responded to issues of influenza A and COVID-19 resurgence at a press conference during the Two Sessions meeting held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 10.

He said the next wave of COVID-19 infections may soon arrive. According to Zhang, the COVID-19 pandemic in China reached its peak of infections at the end of December 2022, and the antibodies acquired by the infected will gradually decline after five to six months. He warned that attention needs to be paid to the pathogenicity of the virus and vulnerable groups in preparation for the next wave of COVID-19.

He also said the next round of infections won’t be as uniform as the previous one and that there will be differences among regions.

He said the country is “fully prepared” and that the next wave won’t have as major an impact as the previous.

Since late February, many elementary and middle schools across the country have reported students with high fevers and have suspended classes, and some have even closed. Authorities said the fevers were caused by influenza A.

However, the public isn’t convinced.

Mr. Zhao, a resident of Zhumadian city in Henan Province, told The Epoch Times on March 9: “The flu is rampant. A large number of elderly people died in our local area due to the COVID-19 epidemic around the New Year. This time, the influenza A virus has started to kill people in batches, people of all age groups. My aunt is 62 years old and passed away at the end of February.

“We all suspect that they have changed the name from COVID-19. People who have died recently may have been infected with COVID-19 because my aunt died after her lungs turned white. During the funeral, I saw that the crematorium was running 24 hours a day, with too many corpses to burn.”

On March 8, Xi’an’s municipal government posted on its official website a notice for a possible citywide lockdown for a flu outbreak.

“When necessary, in outbreak and endemic areas, schools, workplaces, and businesses will be suspended; public places will be closed; and crowd gathering will be restricted or prohibited,” the notice reads.

Flu Outbreaks Across China

Beijing city government’s official newspaper “Beijing Daily” reported on March 8 that flu outbreaks in Beijing have recently been on the rise and that flu infections have increased in schools and nursery institutions.

A viral video shows that Beijing Children’s Hospital was packed with sick children and their parents on March 7.

When The Epoch Times contacted Beijing Children’s Hospital on March 9, the doctor said there are currently many children with a fever who need to get in line for treatment. The hospital also requires that patients wear N95 masks all the time during their hospital visits.

A Beijing resident using the pseudonym He Yunlin told The Epoch Times on March 9 that the flu in Beijing is quite serious among adults. Several friends of his all got the flu a few days ago, and they’re experiencing fevers reaching 102 degrees Fahrenheit. The situation in other districts of Beijing is similar.

Hong Kong media outlet Ming Pao reported on March 9 that the fever clinics of Beijing hospitals have become crowded.

Ms. Wang, who works in a hotel in Liangmaqiao, arrived at the hospital at 2 p.m. on March 8 and found that the number for the morning visit was more than 400, and it was not until 3:30 p.m. that the patient with an afternoon visit number could start to be treated.

Wang wanted to go to other hospitals, but she heard that there were long lines in other hospitals, too.

On March 9, Hu Yang, deputy chief physician of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, posted an article on social media, saying that “influenza A is running rampant, and some colleagues, family members, and patients around have been infected and showing symptoms.”

Doctors from the emergency department of Shanghai Children’s Hospital confirmed to The Epoch Times on March 9 that many children with fevers came to the hospital for treatment.

Parents in Puxian district in Shanghai told The Epoch Times that the schoolteacher asked them to take their children home on March 7 because of influenza A, saying that “many children had fever and diarrhea.” Schools in other districts of Shanghai also asked parents to take their children home for similar reasons.

According to Ming Pao, a middle school student in Shandong Province who went to Beijing for medical treatment for a viral throat infection said nearly half of the students at her school have been infected. An outpatient doctor of a children’s hospital in Hebei Province told the media that among the patients he sees every day, there are about 60 people with fever, and more than half of them are diagnosed with influenza A.

U.S.-based current affairs commentator Tang Jingyuan, who has a medical science background, told The Epoch Times: “The symptoms of influenza A and COVID-19 do have many similarities and overlaps. It is difficult to accurately distinguish them based on the symptoms alone. But for the CCP, because high-level leaders have publicly declared that they have achieved a ‘victory in combating COVID-19’ and created a ‘miracle’ in the fight against it, etc., if COVID-19 resurges in China, it will deal a heavy blow to the credibility of the CCP. Therefore, the CCP has every motive to claim that a COVID-19 outbreak is a flu outbreak.”

Xiao Lusheng and Yi Ru contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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