Medical staff in China’s hospitals say COVID-19 ripping through their ranks

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A growing number of China’s doctors and nurses are catching Covid-19 and some have been asked to keep working, as people showing mostly moderate symptoms throng hospitals and clinics, according to medical staff and dozens of posts on social media.

China’s health authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment on infections among medical staff. Health experts say China’s sudden loosening of strict Covid-19 rules is likely to trigger a surge in severe cases in coming months and hospitals in big cities are already showing signs of strain.

Health officials have been recommending that people with mild Covid-19 symptoms quarantine at home and have also said most of the cases reported in the country are mild or asymptomatic.

“Our hospital is overwhelmed with patients. There are 700 800 people with fever coming every day,” said a doctor Li at a tertiary hospital in Sichuan province.

In capital Beijing 50 patients are currently in a serious or critical condition in hospital with Covid-19. The sudden loosening of restrictions has sparked long queues outside fever clinics since last week in a worrying sign that a wave of infections is building, even though official tallies of new cases have trended lower recently as authorities eased back on testing.

”Some hospitals in Beijing have up to 80% of their staff infected, but many of them are still required to work due to staff shortages,” a doctor in a large public hospital in Beijing said.