Renowned Chinese director Zhang Jizhong is reportedly suffering severe symptoms from COVID-19, which makes it difficult for him to speak.

In an online vlog, Zhang, who made his name via the TV series Journey to the West and other Ming dynasty classics, remains in  bed, appearing frail and grimacing in pain.

The illness made him unable to turn on his bed, he suffered from a sore throat and couldn’t speak.

His wife Du Xinglin updated on December 22 that he caught the virus three days earlier and the symptoms started with a mild fever. His conditions suddenly worsened in the following days. She herself has also been infected but quickly recovered. In another update, his wife said his body temperature has risen to over 38°C.

In a social media post, Zhang said the severe development of the illness was unprecedented for him.

Multiple other Chinese celebrities have shared on social media that they caught the virus. Actor Xiaoshenyang amused fans for his peculiar reaction after being infected. His selfie showed a swollen face with visible red rashes scattering around.

On December 23, singers Yuan Yawei and Yamy canceled their concerts, telling expectant fans that they had contracted coronavirus. Yuan said that her voice was hoarse and she was unable to speak.

Omicron subvariant BF.7 is spearheading China’s current outbreak. It is considered extremely adept at traversing immunity. Although it is causing havoc in the country, experts believe other countries have stronger immunity, either via vaccination or from previous infections.

James Wood, an infectious disease expert at the University of New South Wales, told the New York Times the rest of the world had already been infected at large. 

He said, “We’ve had a huge number of infections internationally. That’s a lot more infections than have occurred in China alone.”

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