Officials claim Henan has more than 88 million Covid infected residents

Covid infection has already spread to about 90% of the population in Henan, China's third most populated province, according to local health officials.

At a press conference, provincial official Kan Quancheng presented the number, which showed around 88.5 million people in Henan have tested positive for Covid. 

Since giving up its zero-Covid rules in December, China has been dealing with an extraordinary rise of cases.

Following rare protests against lockdowns, quarantines, and mass tests, the action was taken.

Mr. Kan could not provide a date for when all the infections occurred, but given that China’s prior zero-Covid policy had successfully reduced incidence, it is likely that most of Henan’s infections took place during the course of the previous several weeks.

According to him, attendance at fever clinics in the province of Henan peaked on December 19 and then “showed a consistent downward trend.”

The provincial data from Henan contrasts sharply with the Covid data from the federal government.

Only 120,000 out of the 1.4 billion people in the country have been sick, and 30 have died since the change in Covid policy, according to official statistics.

In the meantime, authorities in mainland China recorded three Covid deaths on Sunday, one more than the day before.

However, since mass testing is no longer required and the definition of Covid fatalities has been reduced, government data is no longer accurate in capturing the full scope of the outbreak.

Information from other municipal and provincial officials has been substantially different from that from the federal government.

A top health official in the port city of Qingdao said that 500,000 people were contracting the disease every day. 

Those case numbers were promptly taken out of news articles.

In the meantime, Chinese health regulators declared that due to the high cost cited by the US company, they would not cover Pfizer’s antiviral Covid medication Paxlovid in their basic medical insurance systems.

Since the number of Covid cases in China spiked last month, the medication has seen a rapid increase in demand.

It is currently covered by China’s comprehensive healthcare insurance programme until March 31.

As the nation celebrates Lunar New Year later this month and millions of people travel from big cities to see elderly relatives in the countryside, infections are predicted to surge.

According to officials, more than two billion individual journeys are anticipated to happen overall.

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