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Beijing: China reported on Saturday that nearly 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died in hospitals since it abandoned its zero-COVID policy last month. It is a huge increase from previously reported figures that follows global criticism of the country's coronavirus data.

In early December, Beijing abruptly dismantled its strict three-year anti-virus regime of frequent testing, travel curbs and mass lockdowns after widespread protests in late November, and cases have surged since then across the nation of 1.4 billion.

A health official said on Saturday that COVID fever and emergency hospitalisations had peaked and the number of hospitalised patients was continuing to



decline.

Between the 8th of December and the 12th of January, the number of COVID-related deaths in Chinese hospitals totalled 59,938, Jiao Yahui, head of the Bureau of Medical Administration under the National Health Commission (NHC), told a media briefing. Of those fatalities, 5,503 were caused by respiratory failure due to COVID and the remainder resulted from a combination of COVID and other diseases, she said.

While international health experts have predicted at least one million COVID-related deaths this year, China had previously reported just over 5,000 deaths since the pandemic began, one of the lowest death rates in the world.




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