In a rare video speech, President Xi Jinping said China was facing tough times as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed after the government eased curbs last month – one of the most direct acknowledgments of Beijing worsening health crisis.
What Happened: Xi, addressing his people on the eve of the lunar new year, called for more efforts to contain the virus amid the increasing spread of Covid-19 to rural China.
The Chinese leader said the country is in the middle of a “fierce” outbreak and its COVID fight needs perseverance as “dawn is just ahead.”
Chinese lunar new year holidays mark the world’s biggest annual human migration. The Chinese officials have forecast that its 1.4 billion people will take 2 billion trips to see family in the coming weeks.
Xi, speaking from the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, said the authorities are now “primarily concerned about rural areas and rural residents” as the Asian nation entered a “new phase” of its pandemic response.
This came after China reported nearly 60,000 Covid-related deaths for the first five weeks of its current outbreak – which experts have warned is the “tip of the iceberg.”
Zuo-Feng Zhang, chair of the department of epidemiology at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Bloomberg that China’s COVID death toll is still likely to be underestimated given the enormous scale of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, China on Wednesday confirmed U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken‘s much-anticipated visit to the country amid souring ties.
Image and article originally from www.benzinga.com. Read the original article here.