China has sounded a new alarm bell as it faces a resurgence of Covid cases due to the omicron XBB variant, which has become predominant in the country since the end of April. The number of infections is expected to reach 40 million per week by the end of May and peak at 65 million in June. The epidemiologist of the World Health Organization (WHO), Maria van Kerkhove, has warned of the situation: «The threat of Covid has not disappeared, although the world does not want to hear about it, governments must be prepared to responding to a resurgence of infectionssays van Kerkhove. Although the situation is less serious than last January, when China experienced an explosive increase in cases, this new peak should not overwhelm Chinese hospitals. In the first wave, close to 80% of the population of large cities was affected, which generated a immunity level that has decreased in the last six months. The XBB variant has increased its prevalence in China, from 0.2% in February to 83.6% today. Although the virus could evolve into a more lethal version, so far it has not happened, and the probability of it happening is no higher in China than in the rest of the world. Dr. Wang Guangfa, a specialist at Peking University Hospital, said that this second peak will not pose a serious collapse problem for Chinese hospitals.
China works on the development of its own vaccines
Zhong Nanshan, at the Guangzhou forum, urged vaccinate vulnerable groups again and noted that the immunity of people who had previously been infected has been weakened, making them susceptible to new infections due to virus mutations. China is working on developing own vaccines to deal with new strains, including XBB. The country has already given preliminary approval to two vaccines and another three or four are expected to be licensed soon. China seeks to lead the international development of more effective vaccines. The Chinese government has changed its approach and seeks to revive the economy and reassure foreign companies. It has adopted a moderate response to avoid business interruptions and maintain stability.