Beds run out at Beijing hospital as COVID-19 spreads

BEIJING (AP) — Patients, mostly elderly, lay on stretchers in hallways or took oxygen in wheelchairs as the COVID-19 outbreak stretched the resources of public health facilities in the Chinese capital, Beijing, beyond its peak.

Chuyangliu Hospital in the eastern part of the city was crowded with new patients on Thursday. Even though ambulances were bringing in more people, the beds ran out by morning. Troubled nurses and doctors rushed to get information and attend to the most urgent cases.

The souls of people who ask for help at the hospital China lifted its most severe pandemic restrictions last month, prompting unusual street protests in the country after three years of lockdowns, travel bans and school closures that have hit the economy hard and undermined political dissent.

The disease seems to have first spread rapidly in densely populated cities. Now authorities are worried because it is reaching small towns and rural areas with weaker health systems. Several local governments began asking people to stay home for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday on Thursday, citing concerns about the reopening.

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The number of governments in foreign countries is increasing Travelers from China are demanding virus tests because they believe the Chinese government is not sharing enough information about the outbreak. European Union On Wednesday, it “strongly encouraged” its member states to get tested for COVID-19, but not all.

Italy – the first place in Europe to be hit by the pandemic in early 2020 – last week became the first EU member to require tests for passengers from China, while France and Spain took measures of their own. This comes after the US required a negative test result within 48 hours of departure.

China criticized the demands and warned of countermeasures against the countries that imposed them.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday he was concerned about the shortage. Chinese government information on the outbreak.

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At a daily briefing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said Beijing has consistently “openly and transparently shared information and data with the international community.”

“Currently, China’s COVID-19 situation is under control,” Mao said. “Also, we hope that the WHO Secretariat will take a scientifically based, objective and impartial position to play a positive role in the fight against the global pandemic.”

Local authorities are urging people to avoid travel over the Lunar New Year holiday, until many remaining restrictions are officially lifted on Sunday, some of which have yet to be enforced.

“We advise everyone not to return to their hometowns,” the government of Shaoyang County in central China’s Hunan Province said in a statement on Thursday. “Avoid visiting relatives and traveling between regions. Reduce trips.”

Similar appeals were made by Shouxian County in Anhui Province, southeast of Beijing, and Qingyang in Gansu Province in the northwest, and Weifang in Shandong on the east coast.

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Repeated appeals for the severe pandemic-related restrictions of the past few years have shown some officials are worried about lifting them too soon.

A statement from the Weifang government said residents should celebrate the holiday with video and phone meetings.

“To protect yourself and others, avoid visiting relatives and friends,” it said.

Despite these concerns, Hong Kong has announced that it will reopen Some of its border crossings with mainland China opened on Sunday, allowing tens of thousands of people to cross without quarantine every day.

The city’s mainland, land and sea border crossings have been closed for nearly three years, and the reopening is expected to provide a much-needed boost to Hong Kong’s tourism and retail sectors.

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Associated Press reporters Joe Macdonald in Beijing and Canice Leung in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

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