Chinese officials claimed that the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic did not significantly rebound during the Spring Festival holiday, and no new mutant strains appeared. However, there are still reports of corpses in rural areas that were too late to be cremated and buried in the ground, and simple mourning halls can be seen everywhere on the roadside.

The picture shows the funeral ceremony in Jinghong City, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province.

(AFP file photo)

China says it was slapped in the face near the end of the epidemic

[Compiled by Chen Chengliang/Comprehensive Report] The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on the 30th that the world may be in a transitional period of the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic, but it is still at the highest alert level "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" (PHEIC), calling on all countries to be cautious respond.

As China officially announced that the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic during the Spring Festival holiday has not rebounded significantly, and no new virus variants have emerged, so this wave of epidemics is coming to an end, WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus bluntly said that China really The number of deaths is definitely much higher than the number reported by the WHO.

Three years after the WHO first announced that the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic constituted a PHEIC, the WHO Emergency Committee held a three-day meeting on whether the Wuhan pneumonia should still be listed as the highest alert level in the world starting from the 27th.

On the 30th, Tan Desai agreed with the committee's recommendation to still list the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic as a PHEIC, and emphasized that the global death toll from the epidemic in a single week fell below 10,000 in October last year, but rose again in early December, when China lifted the epidemic prevention and control measures , causing the death toll from the epidemic to peak again.

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Mi Feng, spokesman of the National Health Commission of China, claimed on the 30th that the overall epidemic situation in the country has entered a "low epidemic level" and that the epidemic situation in various places has maintained a "steady decline" trend; From January to 27th, the volume of diagnosis and treatment in the fever clinics of township health centers and community health service centers was "at a low level", about 40% lower than before the Spring Festival, and 94% lower than the peak on December 23rd last year.

As for whether there are more mutant strains of the Omicron variant virus, Chen Cao, a researcher at the Institute of Viral Diseases of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, pointed out that during the Spring Festival, a total of 1421 virus genome sequences were reported from various provinces and regions across the country, and there were 11 evolutions. Branches are still dominated by BA.5.2 and BF.7, and no new mutant strains have been imported.

Coffins and chrysanthemums are hot sellers Netizens: Spring Festival becomes Qingming

Compared with the positive news sent by the government, there are rumors in rural China that simple mourning halls can be seen everywhere on the roadside, and the Taoist priests who perform rituals are too busy.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that medical equipment in rural areas is scarce, and most of those who died at home were not counted in the death toll data. Officials did not even estimate how many people died in rural areas.

A BBC reporter personally visited the rural areas of Shanxi Province, and even witnessed the scene that the coffins were sold out and the funeral industry was busy.

The Think Global Health website of the American think tank Association for Foreign Relations published an article on the 27th, pointing out that on the way to the rural areas of Hubei Province, they saw many mourning halls set up in tents.

The British "Financial Times" reported that people in many cities in Hubei Province used chrysanthemums to commemorate their deceased relatives and friends during the Spring Festival. The chrysanthemums were almost sold out, and the price rose sharply.

In addition, according to the Voice of America (VOA) Chinese website, the war in Ukraine has affected the supply of natural gas. Now the price of natural gas in China has soared, and people cannot turn on the heating all night. The "dynamic zeroing" policy has exhausted the local government's budget and is unable to guarantee it. Natural gas heating for homes and businesses cannot even pay ordinary wages. As a result, in this cold winter, the phenomenon of "difficulty heating" has been staged in many places in China, exposing the systemic weaknesses of China's energy regulation and infrastructure. President Xi Jinping is facing an energy crisis for the third time in the past five years.