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China seeing ‘9000 deaths a day’ as its state media calls travel restrictions ‘discriminatory’

Around 9,000 people are estimated to be dying in China every day from Covid-19, a UK-based health data firm assessed, spiking the estimate by almost double from a week ago as most parts of the country remain gripped by the infection outbreak.

China’s Covid infections are set to hit their first peak on 13 January with 3.7 million cases expected in a day, said the UK’s Airfinity.

At the same time, the deaths due to the virus outbreak are expected to peak to around 25,000 per day with cumulative deaths reaching 584,000 since December, the health data firm said.

Till 1 December, China’s cumulative deaths likely reached 100,000 and the total infections recorded are expected to be totalling 18.6 million, Airfinity said.

The data and estimates on Covid casualties have been made using modelling based on data from Chinese provinces before the Xi Jinping administration altered the changes in reporting and counting cases.

China saw historic violent protests in November end from millions of residents in major cities who were fatigued from the strict zero-Covid policy prohibiting people from stepping out of months-long lockdown. However, the Xi administration stripped down all the regulations and curbs in a swift move at the time China’s cases started surging from more than 30,000 per day in an unexpected U-turn.

Officials have only recorded 10 Covid deaths since 7 December after the restrictions were removed.

This comes as countries across the world, especially South Asian nations, are contemplating and rolling out travel restrictions on passengers coming from China – which has simultaneously allowed travel from early January – requiring negative RT-PCR tests from those coming from the virus-struck country.

Chinese state media has called the Covid testing requirements as “discriminatory” and targeting China’s efforts to re-open even as it struggled with overflowing funeral homes and hospitals due to thousands of cases every day.

"The real intention is to sabotage China‘s three years of Covid-19 control efforts and attack the country’s system," said China’s state-run tabloid Global Times in an article late on Thursday,

The restrictions are “unfounded” and “discriminatory”, the state media wrote.

Nations recovering from almost three years of pandemic which have thwarted their economies have expressed scepticism over Beijing undercounting cases disproportionate to the scale of the outbreak.

South Korea and Spain joined the list of countries like the US, India and others on Friday who are seeking Covid tests for travellers coming from China.

Officials in Malaysia have called for screening of all international arrivals for fever.