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China Seizes Control of Pharmacies; Experts Predict Two Peaks

BEIJING: According to experts China is expected to record a peak in COVID-19 infections in the coming days. Two peaks have been suspected- one in mid-Jan and second in early March. Authorities are predicting at least 5,000 deaths every day.

As the mainland witnessed a record rise, Chinese authorities reportedly requisitioned medical supplies production as medical stores reported a draught as infections catapult. In order to address the rising demand and secure medications for the future- Chinese officials have tapped into more than a dozen Pharma firms to help store key drugs. 11 out of the 42 licensed test kit makers have been seized by the govt.

In Beijing, additional staff has been stationed at six manufacturers of antigen kits to help them “increase production”, according to the municipality’s website. Meanwhile, in the eastern city of Hangzhou, authorities urged citizens to place medicine orders “rationally”, rather than hoarding them “blindly”.

The recent uptick has been attributed to the BF.7 variant- a subvariant of Omicron BA. 5. Earlier in December, China pulled back protocols of its ‘zero-Covid’ regime- a tactic the country has followed since the beginning of the pandemic to keep the number of infections low. This involved mass testing and strict quarantining. China has become the last major country to move towards living with the virus.

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