The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is setting up makeshift hospitals and quarantine sites with capacity for nearly 250,000 beds for COVID-19 infections, officials said on Thursday, as cases across the country hit their highest level since April.
China is battling coronavirus outbreaks in numerous major cities, including Chongqing and the capital Beijing, while it takes steps to try to ease the burden of its strict zero-COVID policy, which has caused severe economic damage and widespread frustration nearly three years into the pandemic.
In the hard-hit central city of Zhengzhou, authorities said they would investigate the death of a 4-month-old whose father said she was denied timely treatment while they were in central quarantine, the latest such case to stir online anger.
Guangzhou, a manufacturing hub home to 19 million people, is currently battling China’s largest, latest outbreak, with new daily infections of COVID-19 rising to 8,761 and raising concerns that it is reaching a scale matching Shanghai’s outbreak earlier this year.
On Monday night, people rampaged through the city’s worst-hit district, which has been under lockdown, in a rare demonstration of protest that was scrubbed from China’s heavily-censored social media.
A Guangzhou official told a Thursday news conference that the city was accelerating construction of makeshift hospitals and isolation sites, with plans to build space for 246,407 beds.
“It is better to be prepared, even if they go unused,” said Wang Baosen, the official, saying the situation in the city was at a critical stage.