China is seeing a rise in respiratory infections as the country prepares for its first full winter season since strict COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in December last year.

Earlier, a spokesman for the National Health Commission said the latest wave of respiratory infections is caused by the interference of common viruses such as influenza, rhinovirus, or respiratory syncytial virus, as well as bacteria such as microplasma pneumoniae, a common cause of respiratory infections.

The ministry called on local authorities to open more fever clinics and step up vaccination campaigns for children and the elderly as the country battles a wave of respiratory illnesses in the first winter since COVID-19 restrictions were abandoned.

"Efforts should be made to increase clinics and related treatment facilities, extend service hours and increase the supply of medicines," the ministry spokesman said.

He advised people to wear masks and called on local authorities to focus on preventing the spread of the disease in crowded places, such as schools and nursing homes.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally asked China to provide information about the alarming rise in respiratory diseases and pneumonia in children, as cited by several media reports and the global body for infectious disease surveillance.