Reports from Beijing revealed that China is rapidly enacting lockdown policies as hospitals continue to fill up with children and adults experiencing a new strand of acute respiratory virus.
The Chinese National Health Commission called for the return of COVID-19-era lockdown measures to help curb the outbreak, which, according to officials, is a result of influenza, rhinovirus, mycoplasma pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus, and adenovirus.
The South China Morning Post noted that Chinese officials have called on schools, childcare buildings, and nursing homes to lock down. Chinese officials have also ordered ordinary citizens to decrease personal movement and visits” as the mysterious outbreak continues.
People inside and outside of China are comparing the situation to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Friday, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) acting director of its Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention, Maria Van Kerkhove, told STAT News that the UN-affiliated entity asked China about the comparisons “prior to the pandemic.”
“The waves that they’re seeing now, the peak is not as high as what they saw in 2018-2019,” she said. “This is not an indication of a novel pathogen. This is expected. This is what most countries dealt with a year or two ago,” she added. The WHO has called upon Beijing to provide more information to the public about the outbreak.
Current data suggests rates of flu-like illnesses in China are more than double those of past years. State and local authorities have urged calm, attributing the increase in cases to the start of the first flu season following the government’s decision to remove its strict COVID-19 lockdown policies.
“We also remind everyone to adhere to the hygienic habits of wearing masks, ventilating frequently, and washing hands frequently, and encourage key groups such as the elderly and the young to actively receive relevant vaccines,” said Wang Huaqing, head of China’s Center for Disease and Control’s (CDC) immunization program.
“Those who can be vaccinated should try their best to get vaccinated to prevent the occurrence of infectious diseases,” Huaqing added.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese government, under its Communist leader Xi Jinping, called on state and local officials to crack down on scientists, citizens, journalists, and government officials who leaked information about the country’s lockdown policies. Following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has still not provided the WHO and the international community with information regarding the COVID-19 virus origins and the number of deaths in China throughout the pandemic.