BEIJING (AP) — Patients, mostly elderly, lie on stretchers in corridors and sit in wheelchairs to get oxygen as COVID-19 surges in the Chinese capital, Beijing.
Suiyaryu Hospital in the eastern part of the city was packed with new arrivals on Thursday. By the morning, the beds were exhausted, even though ambulances continued to carry people in need.
The beleaguered nurses and doctors rushed to gather information and triage the most urgent cases.
The surge in critically ill patients requiring hospital care followed last month when China abandoned its most stringent pandemic restrictions, including nearly three years of lockdowns, travel bans and school closures, weighing on the economy and plunging into the 1980s. It sparked street protests not seen since the second half.
It also comes as European Union On Wednesday, it “strongly encouraged” member states to impose pre-departure COVID-19 tests on passengers from China.
Last week, EU countries reacted to various restrictions on travelers from China, ignoring previous promises to act in solidarity.
Italy, where the pandemic first hit Europe hard in early 2020, was the first EU member state to require coronavirus testing for airline passengers coming from China, but France and Spain quickly followed suit on their own. was taught. This follows the US imposition of a requirement that all passengers from China show negative test results obtained in the last 48 hours before departure.
China has warned of “countermeasures” if such policies were imposed across the bloc.
Still, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday he was concerned about shortages. of outbreak data from the Chinese government.
China is trying to get more of its elderly vaccinated, but these efforts have been hampered by past scandals involving counterfeit medicines and previous warnings about side effects of vaccines in the elderly.
Also, China’s domestically developed vaccine is believed to be less effective than the mRNA jabs used in other countries.