| 24 July 2024, Wednesday |

China to speed up vaccinations, build more designated COVID hospitals

China intends to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations and will make information available to the public in due course, according to the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

Shen Hongbing made the remarks when asked if foreign vaccines would be made available at a regular National Health Commission (NHC) news conference. He did not elaborate on how vaccinations would be accelerated.

China, which has pursued a strict zero-COVID policy that results in frequent snap lockdowns, has recently seen a surge in cases with more than 23,000 new infections reported on Thursday – the most since April.

The country has begun to loosen some curbs related to mass-testing and quarantine for overseas arrivals, boosting optimism that China is moving towards a re-opening and economic activity could pick up again.

Authorities highlighted the need to build more designated COVID hospitals and increase the number of beds in intensive care units.

“ICU beds need to account for 10% of total beds,” NHC official Guo Yanhong said.

Several cities where cases are rising like Guangzhou and Beijing are conducting mass-testing but other cities have pulled back on testing.

The NHC said it was not expanding the scope of who should be tested but was rather “increasing the number of people conducting tests and the number of testing sites in busy areas.”

  • Reuters