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China estimates 37 million infected with Covid in a single day


early 37 million people in China may have been infected with Covid-19 on a single day this week, according to reports.

Minutes said to be from an internal meeting at the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) reveal that 284 million people – almost 18 per cent of China’s population – are believed to have caught the virus in the first 20 days of December.

Bloomberg News reports that around 37 million cases are estimated for Tuesday, December 20. However, it marks a big shift from the official tally of 3,049 infections publically reported by the Chinese government for that day.

It comes as modelling from London-based research firm Airfinity this week found that China is likely suffering more than 5,000 Covid deaths and one million infections per day.

Cases are estimated to hit a high of 3.7million a day in January, with a second peak of 4.2million daily cases in March, according to Airfinity.

Louise Blair, Airfinity’s head of vaccines and epidemiology, said: “China has stopped mass testing and is no longer reporting asymptomatic cases. The combination means the official data is unlikely to be a true reflection of the outbreak being experienced across the country.”

Official figures have confirmed about 1,800 cases and just seven deaths in the past week.

In total, China has reported around 5,240 Covid deaths since the start of the pandemic three years ago.

It comes after Chinese authorities reportedly began counting only those who die from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its Covid death toll.

Wang Guiqiang, head of infectious diseases at Peking University First Hospital, said on Tuesday that patients who die with pre-existing conditions will no longer be counted as Covid deaths.

The change in how deaths are tallied will mean that numbers will appear far lower than during previous surges.

The move could be an attempt to protect the regime from criticism. The virus is rife across the country after restrictions were belated relaxed following protests and riots.

The overall number of cases in China is unclear, as the country has stopped requiring daily PCR tests and many people are testing at home.

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