WHO urges China to release more information on COVID-19

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The World Health Organization has urged China to continue releasing information about the wave of COVID-19 infections after the government announced nearly 60,000 deaths since early December following weeks of complaints that it was not telling the world what was happening. The announcement on Saturday was the first official death toll since the ruling Communist Party abruptly lifted anti-virus restrictions in December despite a surge of infections that overwhelmed hospitals. As a result, WHO and other governments have appealed for information, while the US, South Korea and other countries have imposed controls on visitors from China. The government said 5,503 people died of respiratory failure caused by COVID-19, and 54,435 people died of cancer, heart disease and other diseases associated with COVID-19 between December 8 and January 12. The announcement “enables a better understanding of the epidemiological situation,” the WHO said in a statement. It said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke by phone with Health Minister Ma Xiaowei. “WHO has requested that we and the public continue to provide this detailed information,” the agency said. The National Health Commission said only deaths in hospitals were counted, meaning those who died at home would not be included. He did not say when or if he might release updated figures. A health official said the “national peak of the emergency has passed”, based on an 83% drop in the daily number of people attending clinics for fever, compared to the high on 23 December. The report more than doubles China’s official death toll from COVID-19 to 10,775 since the disease was first identified in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019. China only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its official count, which excludes many deaths that could be linked to the virus in other countries. Meanwhile, high-speed trains between mainland China and Hong Kong resumed on Sunday under restrictions that allow 5,000 passengers from each side to travel daily and require a negative virus test within the previous 48 hours. Both sides are resuming tourism links that were suspended under Beijing’s “zero COVID” strategy, which aims to keep the virus out of China. Hong Kong has imposed different but equally strict restrictions that have blocked most international travel. Candice Zhong, a resident of the nearby mainland city of Shenzhen who arrived in Hong Kong, said she plans to visit the city’s two main theme parks. “I want to come to Hong Kong to see what it’s like now,” Zhong said at a Hong Kong train station. “I’ll go to Disneyland and Ocean Park.”___Associated Press video producer Alice Fung in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

The World Health Organization has urged China to continue releasing information about the wave of COVID-19 infections after the government announced nearly 60,000 deaths since early December following weeks of complaints that it had failed to tell the world what was happening.

The announcement on Saturday was the first official death toll since the ruling Communist Party abruptly lifted anti-virus restrictions in December despite a surge of infections that overwhelmed hospitals. That prompted the WHO and other governments to appeal for information, while the US, South Korea and others imposed controls on visitors from China.

The government said 5,503 people died from respiratory failure caused by COVID-19, and there were 54,435 deaths from cancer, heart disease and other diseases associated with COVID-19 between December 8 and January 12.

The announcement “enables a better understanding of the epidemiological situation,” the WHO said in a statement. It said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke by phone with Health Minister Ma Xiaowei.

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

The National Health Commission said only deaths in hospitals were counted, meaning those who died at home would not be included. He did not say when or if he might release updated figures.

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

The report more than doubles China’s official death toll from COVID-19 to 10,775 since the disease was first identified in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019. China only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its official count, which excludes many deaths that may be linked to the virus in other countries.

Meanwhile, the high-speed train resumed Sunday between mainland China and Hong Kong under restrictions that allow 5,000 passengers on each side to make the trip daily and require a negative test for the virus within the previous 48 hours.

Both sides are resuming tourism links that were suspended under Beijing’s “zero COVID” strategy, which aims to keep the virus out of China. Hong Kong has imposed different but equally strict restrictions that have blocked most international travel.

Candice Zhong, a resident of the nearby mainland city of Shenzhen who arrived in Hong Kong, said she plans to visit the city’s two main theme parks.

“I want to come to Hong Kong to see how it is now,” Zhong said at a Hong Kong train station. “I’m going to Disneyland and Ocean Park.”

___

Associated Press video producer Alice Fung in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

WHO urges China to release more information on COVID-19

Source link WHO urges China to release more information on COVID-19