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China clearly not being transparent about covid case or deaths

2022 Dec 31, 14:26, New Delh
Elderly patients receive IV drip treatment at a clinic in a village of Lezhi county in Ziyang, Sichuan province, China December 29, 2022. (Photo Credit: ANI)

 Since China relaxed its controversial zero covid policy last month, the second-largest economy is struggling to deal with the meteoric rise in coronavirus cases throughout the country which is putting a burden on its healthcare system.

British virologist and biologist Jonathan Latham, Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project, a New York non-profit based in said that Beijing is clearly not being open and transparent about case numbers or deaths and that only accurate data can lead to good decisions in China and elsewhere.

"China is early not being open and transparent about case numbers or deaths. This is true for many countries though. It would be great to have truly accurate information on those points, however, since only timely and accurate data can lead to good decisions in china and elsewhere. Good data would also test the theory that newer variants such as omicron have a lower inherent death rate," said Jonathan to ANI.

"The pandemic response of authorities has generally been very poorly thought out and executed. It is doubtful that warnings from China would have made a difference, either today or back in 2019/2020. Even western warnings in late 2019 were ignored," he added.

Jonathan, who is a virologist, has been studying the origins of Covid-19 and the early events in china, before and after the pandemic outbreak. On controversial China's zero-covid policy, Jonathan further said that due to reduced vigilance, it seems that China has lost control over the infection.

"From afar it is difficult to be truly certain but it seems that china has lost the control over covid that it had for so long. Probably this is because the newer variants that have arrived are more infectious than those with which it dealt successfully in the past. Reduced vigilance in china likely also played a role too," he said.

The WHO covid experts met Chinese officials on Friday and "again stressed the importance of transparency and regular sharing of data to formulate accurate risk assessments and to inform effective response," said the WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"A high-level meeting took place on 30 December between WHO and China about the current surge in COVID-19 cases, to seek further information on the situation, and to offer WHO's expertise and further support," the WHO release said.

WHO again asked for regular sharing of specific and real-time data on the epidemiological situation -- including more genetic sequencing data, data on disease impact including hospitalisation, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and deaths -- and data on vaccinations delivered and vaccination status, especially in vulnerable people and those over 60 years old.

The UN agency reiterated the importance of vaccination and boosters to protect against severe disease and death for people at higher risk.

A surge in Covid infections across China and doubts about its official data have prompted the return of health checks. China is set to significantly loosen its travel restrictions on inbound and outbound travel from 8 January.


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