WHO warns that China is under-representing Covid-19 impact



The World Health Organization has warned that China is under-representing the true impact of Covid in the country – in particular deaths.

The removal of most restrictions last month has led to a surge in cases.

But China has stopped publishing daily cases data, and has announced only 22 Covid deaths since December, using its own strict criteria.

“We believe that definition [of a Covid death] is too narrow,” WHO emergencies director Dr Michael Ryan said.

Dr Ryan said China’s figures “under-represent the true impact of the disease in terms of hospital admissions, in terms of ICU admissions, and particularly in terms of deaths”.

No new Covid variants have been detected in China, despite the surge in cases. However, the WHO has warned this could be due to a decrease in testing.

However, more than a dozen nations have introduced travel restrictions on travellers from China. Beijing has criticised these as politically motivated and threatened to retaliate.

On Wednesday, the European Union issued new guidance “strongly” recommending that all member states introduce the requirement that passengers flying from China provide a negative Covid test before their departure.

However, also on Wednesday, the New Zealand government said it will not require travellers from China to produce a negative COVID-19 test on arrival.

(Excerpts : BBC / Aljazeera)


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