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China’s provinces should set up at least two to three temporary hospitals each to treat COVID-19 patients, Beijing said Tuesday, a potential sign the country is anticipating an increase in cases as it battles an omicron outbreak and ponders how to exit its isolationist virus strategy.

The order from the National Health Commission came after China updated its COVID-19 treatment guidelines last week to reserve actual hospitals for those with severe COVID-19 conditions. Patients with mild or no symptoms will now be sent to the makeshift facilities to isolate so as to avoid overwhelming the medical system.

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