|China is battling its biggest spike in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. (Photo by=AFP/File/Hector RETAMAL)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] BEIJING: China is battling its biggest spike in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with millions under lockdown and the healthcare system feeling the pressure. One of the last countries sticking to a zero-COVID strategy, China aims to stamp out every infection with strict lockdowns and by sending all cases to secure facilities, AFP reported.
That is placing a strain on China's already under-pressure medical system, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant rapidly moves through the population. Beijing says more than 1.2 billion people in China had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by mid-March -- nearly 90 percent of the population. It has also launched a booster campaign but more than half of the population has yet to receive a third shot. A major challenge is protecting the elderly, with only around half of Chinese people aged above 80 double-vaccinated and fewer than a fifth having received a booster.
China's healthcare system was understaffed and struggling to cope with its huge and aging population even before the pandemic. According to the National Health Commission, China has only 2.9 general practitioners per 10,000 people. Britain has around the same number for every 1,000 people. Some Chinese regions are woefully under-resourced.