China races to bolster health system as COVID surge sparks global concern –

  • Authorities rush to add hospital beds, build fever clinics
  • U.S. raises concerns over possibility of COVID mutations
  • Beijing reports five more deaths on Tuesday
  • Security tight at crematoriums amid doubts over death toll

BEIJING/SINGAPORE, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Cities across China scrambled to install hospital beds and build fever screening clinics on Tuesday as authorities reported five more deaths and international concern grew about Beijing’s surprise decision to let the virus run free.

China this month began dismantling its stringent “zero-COVID” regime of lockdowns and testing after protests against curbs that had kept the virus at bay for three years but at a big cost to society and the world’s second-largest economy.

Now, as the virus sweeps through a country of 1.4 billion people who lack natural immunity having been shielded for so long, there is growing concern about possible deaths, virus mutations and the impact on the economy and trade.

“Every new epidemic wave in another country brings the risk of new variants, and this risk is higher the bigger the outbreak, and the current wave in China is shaping up to be big,” said Alex Cook, vice-dean for …….


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