Health

China lifts travel restrictions despite surging COVID circumstances, prompting concern in U.S. and other nations

Tokyo — Many hospitals and funeral properties say they’re being overwhelmed by a worsening COVID-19 outbreak in China, at the same time as the federal government reviews only a handful of recent deaths from the virus. The surge in circumstances throughout China is drawing a response from other international locations, together with the U.S.

Japan, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia have already mentioned they’ll require virus assessments for guests from China, and Japanese authorities have sharply restricted the variety of flights to and from China. 

U.S. officers are contemplating related measures, with officers telling CBS News on Wednesday that concern is mounting over the rise in infections and the shortage of clear knowledge from Beijing, which is making it more and more troublesome for public well being officers to make sure that they will be capable of establish any potential new variants and take immediate measures to cut back the unfold. 


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The U.S. officers informed CBS News that, together with worldwide companions, Washington was contemplating “potential steps” that might be taken to observe the rising circumstances in China, establish any potential new variants of concern that emerge there, and “to protect the American people.”

Among the brand new restrictions imposed by Japan, vacationers from China getting into the nation and discovered to have COVID-19 should quarantine at a chosen facility for one week.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida mentioned the brand new restrictions have been non permanent — spurred by an data void in regards to the true state of the pandemic in China.

Since dramatically reversing its years-old “zero-COVID” coverage, which aimed to stamp out each case of the coronavirus, China has been lifting restrictions rapidly. Authorities plan to take away all travel bans early subsequent year — a transfer prone to set off a flood of Chinese vacationers overseas for the brand new year vacation after almost three years of rolling lockdowns underneath the draconian zero-COVID method.

News that worldwide inbound vacationers will not need to undergo quarantine, coupled with the lifting of a ban on passports being issued or renewed for Chinese nationals, have gotten folks excited throughout the huge nation.

Within quarter-hour of the coverage change being introduced, searches for well-liked worldwide locations had elevated 10-fold, with well-liked Chinese travel reserving website Qunar reporting a seven-fold enhance in worldwide flight searches.

But aid over the tip of lockdowns in China has been tempered, and a lot of the nation is now in excessive misery. Some estimates counsel greater than half of all residents in Beijing are at present contaminated with the virus.


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Dr. Howard Bernstein mentioned the hospital the place he works in Beijing has run out of beds and “is simply overwhelmed from prime to backside.

While Chinese officers say COVID has claimed solely about 5,000 lives, latest scenes at funeral properties inform a grimmer story. The strains of coffins at one unidentified constructing in northern China this week appear infinite.

By at the very least one estimate, the explosion of circumstances in China, the place many individuals stay unvaccinated or under-vaccinated, might kill 1 million folks by the tip of 2023, and additionally it is threatening to unleash new, extra harmful mutations of the virus. 

CBS News’ Tucker Reals, Gillian Morley and Shuai Zhang contributed to this report.

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