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Impossible to track exact number of COVID cases in China: Chinese health agency

Beijing: With the Chinese government abandoning its zero-COVID policy, it has now become impossible to track the exact number of COVID cases in the country, China's top health agency has announced.
China's National Health Commission on Wednesday said that since many of the government's COVID regulation have ended including a lift on mandatory COVID tests, the number of cases reported no longer reflect the actual number of infections. "Many asymptomatic people are no longer participating in nucleic acid testing, so it is impossible to grasp the actual number of asymptomatic infected people," The New York Times quoted the National Health Commission as saying in a statement on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, China reported 2,249 "confirmed" COVID infections. This puts the country's total tally of infections at 369,918, double the total from October 1. This, however, does not include the asymptomatic cases which are currently not being tracked.
China's top official in charge of the pandemic, Sun Chunlan, while visiting hospitals on Wednesday said that China's capital, Beijing, has for the first time been hit by a significant outbreak.
Chunlan explained that the country's focus needs to shift from preventing infections to bolstering its treatment of those suffering from the virus, a far cry from the country's previous stance, which involved strict isolation of the infected in order to put an end to infections, reported The New York Times.
Chunlan called for opening more fever clinics around the capital.
Work arrangements in China are shifting as more people are getting infected with COVID. Many who fear infection, now prefer to stay at home.
According to a tweet from Beijing-based lawyer and former American Chamber of Commerce in China chairman James Zimmerman, nearly 90 per cent of his office is infected by COVID, jumping from about half from a few days earlier.
"Our 'work at the home' policy is now 'work at home if you're well enough.' This thing came on like a runaway freight train," Zimmerman tweeted on Wednesday.
The recent surge has brought complete chaos to China's hospitals. According to analysts, the country is unprepared for a wave of infections that could easily overwhelm its health system and cripple businesses and the economy, reported The New York Times.
Amidst the chaos, Chinese state media has been asking citizens with mild symptoms to stay at home and avoid calling Beijing's emergency medical hotline. (ANI)

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