January 02, 2023: -People are returning to China’s capital as it appears from a wave of Covid infections.
According to Baidu data, Beijing’s traffic surged by about 90% from a week before during the Monday morning rush hour to “heavily congested” levels.
Over the weekend, orders for Beijing city attractions doubled from the before a week, according to data cited by the Chinese business news site 21st Century Business Herald. CNBC was unable to verify the figures.
Christmas is not considered a leave in mainland China but is often celebrated by younger people. Anecdotally, foot traffic in the malls and Universal Beijing Resort’s CityWalk was up significantly to modestly crowded levels more than the weekend. Only some stores have reopened.
In contrast to the increase in Beijing city traffic, the Baidu data showed that Shanghai and Shenzhen still saw deficient levels of congestion Monday morning. The two cities began to see the wave of Covid infections following Beijing.
The rebound in social activity in Beijing from the previous few days illustrates how it might take for the place to shake off the economy, which impacts zero-Covid controls.
A month ago, Beijing residents dealt with an increase in apartment lockdowns and subsequent public protests. In December, municipal and central authorities ended many Covid authorities amid a rise in infections.
The city said visits to fever clinics are zooming by 16-fold in a week to 22,000 on December 11. Four days later, the daily number had increased to 73,000 visits, but by December 21, the figure had eased to 65,000, according to an official Saturday report. The city has a population of nearly 22 million.
The share of severe Covid cases and patients has increased, the report added. It cites a director at a local hospital who says the percentage of visits by the elderly had surged from below 20% to almost 50%.
China’s people have lower Covid vaccination rates prices have underlying health steps that make them more helpless to the virus. Anecdotally, deaths have ticked up.
Although, there are fewer and fewer official disclosures. China’s National Health Commission stopped sharing daily figures on Covid infections and deaths, which ends a practice of almost three years.
One of the official fights for maintaining strict Covid controls was that the stretched national health system would need help to handle a surge in infections.