China Covid protests: coronavirus infection rates, deaths and vaccination figures – how it compares to UK

China has recorded a very low death toll in comparison to other nations during the Covid-9 pandemic, according to figures published by Johns Hopkins University.

China’s crippling ‘zero-Covid’ policy has sparked a wave of demonstrations across the country with protesters demanding an end to strict lockdown measures –  but how badly has the country been affected by the virus?

As the rest of the world more or less returns to normal in the wake of the pandemic, China continues to pursue one of the toughest approaches to Covid in the world. Anti-virus measures have seen communities put in total lockdown even after only a handful of cases have been identified.

In October visitors at Shanghai Disneyland were put into lockdown with people unable to leave without a negative test, while  last weekend the lockdowns were blamed for the deaths of 10 people in an apartment block fire in Urumqi. Police are clamping down on protestors who are calling on President Xi to stand down.

How badly affected has China been by the Covid-19 pandemic? How does it compare to the UK? Here we reveal what the numbers tell us about China’s approach to managing the virus.

How many cases have been recorded in China?

Despite having a population of 1.5 billion, China has recorded relatively low infection rates in comparison to other countries. Since the start of the pandemic the country has registered 3.6 million cases, according to the Covid-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

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In comparison, the UK has recorded 24 million cases, out of a population of 67.5 million. Cases have been surging recently in China which has led the government to keep its ‘zero-Covid’ measures in place.

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Figures show Hong Kong has recorded the greatest number of cases since the start of the pandemic with 2.1 million, followed by Hubei with 68,500 and Shanghai with 64,500. The interactive map below will show you how case numbers have increased across each province since the start of the pandemic.

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How many Covid deaths have been recorded in China?

China has also recorded a very low death toll in comparison to other nations, according to figures published by Johns Hopkins University.

Since the start of the pandemic the country has recorded 15,956 deaths while the UK has recorded 212,585 – 13 times greater than China despite having a population 21 times smaller. It means a stark difference in the death rates recorded in each country –  in the UK, there have been 314.9 deaths per 100,000 people, 281 times greater than China which has a death rate of 1.1 Covid death per 100,000 people.

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But separate figures published by the World Health Organization show China has recorded 30,166 deaths since the start of the pandemic – almost double the number reported by Johns Hopkins University.

Health experts believe China’s death toll is not entirely accurate. Earlier this year Jin Dong-yan, a virologist at Hong Kong university, told the Financial Times that Chinese hospitals tend to record chronic illness like cancer or heart disease as the cause of death even when people had Covid, so these deaths would be missed from official Covid stats.

Defining a Covid death is complicated as people can die many weeks or months after initial infection and there is no universal way to count Covid deaths. In the UK, if Covid is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate it will be counted as a Covid-related death.