As China ushered in its Lunar New Year this past week, the city of Beijing has reported 11 new cases and 1 death due to H1N1 since February 2nd. So far in 2011, 195 cases and 4 deaths due to H1N1 have been confirmed for the city. Chinese New Year is a time of great excitement but also of public health concern due to the great amount of movement and travel among the population and also due to large group gatherings, both publicly and at home. During this holiday period, it was reported that people within Beijing sought outpatient care 263,000 times, a 17.4% increase from last year, and emergency care 110,000 times.
The Hong Kong Center for Health Protection also reported today that in the brief past two weeks, 9 individuals have died from H1N1 since January 24th. The Center’s director explained that H1N1 is the main virus circulating this flu season, causing rates of severe complications and care-seeking to be higher in comparison to the same time period last year. He predicts that the peak period for this flu season may continue until March. Since the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, Hong Kong has accumulated over 80 deaths.