The World Health Organization (WHO) accused China of not being transparent about the true impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese mainland or about its death toll.
The WHO believes Beijing is massaging data since it removed its strict restrictions and mass-testing last month.
Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies director, said…
“We believe that the current numbers being published from China underrepresent the true impact of the disease in terms of hospital admissions, in terms of ICU admissions, particularly in terms of death.”
Ryan’s comments came on the back of countries imposing travel restrictions on visitors from China amid the rise in Covid-19 infections in the country, reported Aljazeera.
Unofficial reports reveal that hospitals and crematoriums in China have been overwhelmed with people and bodies since the mainland scraped its tough zero-Covid restrictions last month after more than three years of mass lockdowns, testing and quarantine measures.
On Tuesday, a senior doctor at a top hospital in Shanghai reported that 70% of the city’s population has been infected with Covid. International health experts warned that if no urgent action is taken, there could be at least one million Covid-related deaths in China this year.
Remarkably, China has only recorded 22 Covid deaths since December and has changed the criteria for classifying such fatalities, now only counting cases that involve Covid-caused pneumonia or respiratory failure. The WHO, and others, believe that the official statistics from Beijing do not accurately reflect the reality of the current situation in the country.
Ryan reported that Beijing is using “requires a respiratory failure” associated with a Covid infection for a death to be registered as a Covid death.
“That is a very narrow definition.
“The reality for China is that many countries [now feel] they don’t have enough information to base their risk assessment. We still do not have complete data.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added that the world is “concerned” about the surge in Covid infections in China.
“WHO is concerned about the risk to life in China and has reiterated the importance of vaccination, including booster doses to protect against hospitalisation, severe disease and death.”
China appeared to change its zero-Covid policy in December on the back of protests following the tragic death of 10 people trapped in an apartment building fire on November 25.
It was reported that victims had been locked in their apartments as part of Covid measures.
Since then, several countries have imposed travel restrictions on people coming from China.
Bejing criticised the restrictions as being “discriminatory.”
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the restrictions lacked any scientific basis.
“We believe that the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China lack scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable.”
The WHO empathized with the countries planning travel restrictions on Chinese travellers to protect their citizens amid the disease outbreak in China and urged Beijing to share the Covid data.
The story looks set to keep on running.
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