HomeWorldAsiaUnderreporting of Covid-19 Deaths in China: WHO Issues Warning

    Underreporting of Covid-19 Deaths in China: WHO Issues Warning

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

    As the world continues to grapple with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, new concerns have arisen regarding the accuracy of data coming out of China. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed skepticism over China’s official Covid death figures, which have remained low despite a recent surge in cases.

    According to WHO emergencies director Dr. Michael Ryan, China’s strict criteria for what constitutes a Covid death are too narrow and “under-represent the true impact of the disease in terms of hospital admissions, in terms of ICU admissions, and particularly in terms of deaths.” This comes after China abandoned key parts of its “zero-Covid” strategy last month, leading to reports of hospitals and crematoriums being overwhelmed.

    Furthermore, China has stopped publishing daily cases data and has announced only 22 Covid deaths since December. This has led to estimates from UK science data company Airfinity that there are in fact more than two million Covid cases a day in China, and 14,700 deaths.

    Dr. Ryan has called on China to increase its engagement with the WHO and provide more comprehensive data on the situation in the country. He also suggested that individual health workers could report their own data and experiences, stating that the WHO “has an open approach to be able to record the actual impact of disease in society.”

    The situation in China has also sparked concern among other nations, with more than a dozen countries implementing travel restrictions on travelers from China. The European Union has also issued new guidance “strongly” recommending that member states require passengers flying from China to provide a negative Covid test before their departure.

    As the Lunar New Year approaches, a major travel period in China, the WHO has warned that the country may see another wave of infections. The Chinese authorities have announced plans to send medical supplies to rural hospitals in preparation for this potential surge.

    With questions surrounding the accuracy of China’s Covid data, it is crucial that the WHO and other international organizations continue to monitor the situation closely and work towards a more transparent and comprehensive understanding of the pandemic’s impact in China.


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