With the meteoric rise in China’s Covid cases in recent weeks and a dearth of Covid data emanating from the country, questions have been raised about the actual numbers of cases in relation to official Chinese figures presented to the world.
On Saturday, China announced that nearly 60,000 Covid-19 deaths were reported since the country lifted its strict “Zero Covid Policy” on December 7, last year. However, these figures contradict a research report published by the National School of Development of Peking University that said that 900 million people, or 64 per cent of the total population in China, had been infected as of January 11, Asia Times reported.
60,000 figure was only 7 per cent of the number of normal deaths in China, given that 10.14 million people died in mainland China in 2021, according to a Guangdong-based writer. The writer said the figure could not explain why funeral services in major cities had been so numerous as to strain facilities since mid-December.
The number of Covid deaths in China may have reached 584,000 so far and could reach 1.7 million by the end of April, Asia Times reported citing UK-based health data firm Airfinity.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week spoke with Minister Ma Xiaowei, director of China’s National Health Commission about the COVID-19 situation in the country and sought deeper cooperation on the origins of the pandemic.
“Spoke with Minister Ma Xiaowei about the #COVID19 situation in #China. I appreciated the release of detailed information, which we request they continue to share. Asked for the sharing of further sequences and cooperation on understanding the virus origins,” WHO chief tweeted.
The phone call came on the same day as China announced that nearly 60,000 Covid-19 deaths were reported since the country lifted its strict “Zero Covid Policy”, state media outlet Global Times reported.
On the call on Saturday, Tedros reiterated the importance of China’s deeper cooperation and transparency on understanding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in carrying out the recommendations detailed in the report of the Strategic Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens.
In a statement posted on its website, WHO said Chinese officials provided information to WHO on a range of topics, including outpatient clinics, hospitalizations, patients requiring emergency treatment and critical care, and hospital deaths related to COVID-19 infection.
The WHO requested that this type of detailed information continue to be shared with them. Additionally, they noted the efforts by Chinese authorities to scale up clinical care for its population at all levels, including critical care.
The UN health agency said it would continue to work with China, providing technical advice and support and analysing the situation. (ANI)