China's corona restrictions created large protests.

Earlier in December, the National Health Committee announced that the extensive restrictions would be lifted.  

Since then, no one has been found dead from covid-19 - according to official statistics. 

Then the number of cases can reach its peak

But now new calculations from the American IHME, Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, predict that the number of infected and deceased may increase sharply.

In April, the number of cases is expected to reach its peak, when around a third of the country's inhabitants will be infected by the coronavirus.

And in the next year, the infection could lead to one million deaths, writes the Reuters news agency.

"Nobody thought they would stick to zero-covid as long as they did," said Christopher Murray, head of the IHME, on Friday when the calculations were released online. 

According to Murray, the policy may have been effective in keeping out earlier virus variants, but the high transmissibility of the omicron variants made the zero vision impossible to maintain.

WHO: Vaccination important

According to the World Health Organization WHO, the increased infection is not due to the lifted restrictions – the spread of infection started before any restrictions were eased.

Vaccination is China's way out of covid, says WHO. 

- The challenge that China and other countries still have is: Are people who need to be vaccinated sufficiently vaccinated with the right vaccine, the right number of doses and when did those people last get a vaccine?, says Michael Ryan, executive director at WHO.