Coronavirus WHO is asking Beijing to further detail its new data
As China announced at least 60,000 Covid-related deaths in a month on Saturday, the head of the health organization and the Chinese health minister spoke on Saturday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) asked China on Saturday to provide more data following the announcement at least 60,000 dead in relation to Covid since the abolition of restrictions, and called for “greater transparency” to understand the origins of the pandemic.
WHO ‘analyzes this information’
“Today, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke with Minister Ma Xiaowei, director of the National Health Commission of China, on the situation of the COVID-19 in the country,” the organization said in a statement. WHO “appreciates this meeting, as well as the public dissemination of information on the general situation” in China. Dr. Tedros and other WHO officials had criticized in recent weeks China’s reluctance to share reliable data on the Covid surge sweeping the earthas well as the “very strict” definition of death attributed to Covid.
After three years of some of the most draconian restrictions in the world, China abruptly lifted most of its coronavirus health measures in early December, prompting a sharp rebound in the epidemic. But contrary to the situation observed on the ground, so far only a handful of deaths had been reported by the authorities, before the new data was released at a press conference on Saturday. WHO said it “is analyzing this information, which covers the period from early December 2022 to 12 January 2023 and provides a better understanding of the epidemiological situation and the impact of the this wave in China“, and asks Beijing that” this kind of detailed information continues to be shared “with the organization and the public. The organization also indicates that it takes note of the “efforts made by the Chinese authorities to strengthen” clinical assistance, including in terms of intensive care.
In its statement, WHO does not comment on the new death toll reported by China, but does indicate that “the general epidemiology – which reflects a rapid and intense surge of the disease caused by known subvariants of Omicron that have a greater clinical impact on elderly people and people with pre-existing diseases – is similar to the waves of infection that other countries are experiencing, as well as the growing pressure on health services”. Furthermore, adds the WHO, “the data reported indicate a decrease in the number of cases, hospitalizations and people in need of critical care,” before adding that it has asked Beijing for “a more detailed breakdown of the data by province over the years.” . It also calls on Chinese scientific authorities to share more genetic sequencing data to better monitor the evolution of the virus.
Origin of the virus
WHO assures that it will continue to work with China, providing advice and technical support. During the call with the Chinese official, Dr. Tedros also reiterated “the importance of greater cooperation and transparency from China in understanding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the press release read. Dr Tedros has repeatedly asked China to share his information on the origin of the virus – first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 – to better understand its genesis. Debate has raged since the start of the pandemic among experts trying to unravel the mystery of the origin of the virus. Studies have concluded that the virus is most likely of animal origin. A scenario questioned by proponents of the theory of a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan.