As cases rise in China, many citizens are panic buying ventilators and oxygen machines due to the inadequate handling of the Covid-19 pandemic by authorities in Beijing, the Financial Times said in a report.
China witnessed a turbulent weekend as protest against the Covid Zero regime rocked capital Beijing, global economic hub Shanghai and other places.
There were protests also against Chinese censorship as news of 10 people dying in an apartment fire in Urumqi due to Covid Zero was also censored.
People who run medical stores told the Financial Times that the sales of devices used to treat Covid-19 and its symptoms shot up since November 11, hours after the Chinese State Council announced loosening of restrictions.
Citing data from Southwest Securities, a Chongqing-based financial firm, the news agency said that at least 12 million Chinese households may need to purchase ventilators and oxygen machines if zero-Covid restrictions were lifted.
The news agency accessed data from WeChat and saw searches for ventilators and oxygen machines and oximeters registered about a 90-fold spike.
It further added that searches for ventilators were more than 80 times higher than normal when Beijing relaxed some of the restrictions.
Chinese citizens speaking to the Financial Times said they shelled out more than $500 to buy a ventilator and more than $100 for an oxygen machine. They said that the hospitals will see an influx of patients and bed shortage.
Experts told the news agency that the panic shows that the citizens in Beijing do not want to rely on the state healthcare system.
They also said that the protests have disrupted Xi Jinping’s plan to exit Covid Zero.
China will not drop national policies due to protests since they cannot be seen as weak-willed in front of the people.
Omicron has led to mild Covid in people across the planet but due to China’s vaccination strategy that dismissed vaccines developed in the West and also failed to inoculate much of its elderly population, the variant now poses a significant threat.
One-third of those above 60 years of age have not completed a three-dose vaccination course.
China’s troubles continue to grow as the decision to ease control coincides with the one of the largest outbreaks that the country has recorded.
Discontent grows as the authorities have announced a record level of lockdowns across several megacities.
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