China is building more intensive care facilities and working to improve hospitals as the country saw a surge in COVID cases. Earlier, China announced a nationwide relaxation of its COVID restrictions. 

After rolling back its “zero-COVID” policy, Chinese authorities have now allowed COVID-infected people to quarantine at home. Testing requirements and travel restrictions between provinces were also eased.

Reuters cited a state media report as saying that a cabinet on December 8 ordered the “full mobilization” of hospitals. The order includes hiring more staff to ensure “combat effectiveness” and increase drug supplies. 

Officials were instructed to monitor the health of people aged 65 and older in their community.

On December 18, authorities reported over 10,800 new cases, including some 8,400 cases with no symptoms.

According to The Paper, Yun Chunfu, an official of the provincial health commission, said Shaanxi province has set aside 22,000 hospital beds for COVID-19 and is prepared to convert other beds to increase its intensive care capacity 20%. 

Yun added that cities are “accelerating the upgrade” of hospitals for “critically ill patients.”

Jiao Yahui, general director of the Bureau of Medical Administration of the National Health Commission, stated at a news conference on December 9 that China had 138,000 intensive care beds. That amounts to fewer than one in 10,000.

Experts warn that China is likely to impose COVID restrictions again if it fears that hospitals will become overcrowded. 

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