The overall rate of COVID-19 infections during the Spring Festival, from January 21 to 27, has been low, and the cases were in steady decline in various places across China, said Mi Feng, spokesperson of the National Health Commission (NHC) on Monday.
Fu Wei, an official at the Department of Primary Health of the NHC, said that the number of visits seeking treatment at fever clinics, general outpatient and emergency departments in township and community health centers – the grassroots medical and health institutions – were low during the Spring Festival.
The number of people visiting fever clinics was the lowest on January 22, said Fu, adding that though it picked up later, there was still a 40 percent decrease than the number before the Chinese New Year, and a 94 percent decrease compared with the peak daily figure on December 23.
People seeking treatment at general outpatient and emergency departments totaled nearly 2.04 million on January 27, a decrease of nearly 30 percent from that of January 20, a day before the festival, according to Fu.
The number is about 44 percent of the peak daily number on December 29, Fu added.
Fu concluded that medical treatment and epidemic prevention and control in grassroots medical and health institutions during the Spring Festival was "smooth and orderly."
Mao Dezhi, deputy head of the Department of Rural Cooperative Economy under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, further confirmed that the epidemic remained stable on the whole in rural areas during the Spring Festival.
Mi urged that rural areas remain the top priority of epidemic prevention and control, and efforts should still be made to ensure people's needs for medication and treatment.
Coronavirus mutation monitoring
The BA.5.2 and BF.7 sub-variants remain the two dominant strains in China, Chen Cao, a research fellow at the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention under the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), told the press conference.
The China CDC had received 1,421 genome sequences of the novel coronavirus across the country during the Spring Festival. A total of 11 cases of concern subvariant mutants were found and no new variant was found, said Chen.