WHO urges China to provide more information on COVID-19

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BEIJING — The World Health Organization has called on China to continue publishing information about the wave of COVID-19 infections, after claims the government failed to tell the world what was happening, with nearly 60,000 deaths reported since early December.

Saturday’s announcement was the first official report since the ruling Communist Party abruptly lifted virus restrictions in December despite a surge in infections that flooded hospitals. This prompted the WHO and other governments to request information, while the United States, South Korea and others imposed controls on visitors from China.

Between December 8 and January 12, the government said 5,503 people died from respiratory failure caused by COVID-19 and 54,435 died from cancer, heart disease and other conditions related to COVID-19.

According to a WHO statement, the announcement “allows for a better understanding of the epidemiological situation.” He said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had a phone conversation with Health Minister Ma Xiaowei.

“WHO has requested that this type of detailed information continue to be shared with us and the public,” the agency said.

The National Health Commission said only deaths in hospitals are counted, meaning all deaths at home are not counted. It did not say when or if it might release updated numbers.

A health official said “the peak of the national emergency has passed” based on an 83% drop in the daily number of people visiting fever clinics since the peak on December 23.

The report more than doubles China’s official COVID-19 death toll, to 10,775 since late 2019 in the central city of Wuhan. In its official report, China only counted deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure, which excludes many deaths. . This may be due to the virus in other countries.

ABC News

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