The World Health Organization (WHO) has again urged Chinese officials to share real-time data on the country’s surging COVID-19 infections so that other nations can respond effectively. “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 hospitalizations, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and deaths,” the United Nations agency said in a statement on Friday after a meeting between Chinese and WHO officials.“WHO stressed the importance of monitoring and the timely publication of data to help China and the global community to formulate accurate risk assessments and to inform effective responses,” the world health body said.
A steep rise in infections in China following the country’s lifting of a strict “zero-COVID” policy has triggered concern around the globe and again raised questions about China’s data reporting, which continues to show low official infection figures and few deaths despite evidence that some hospitals and morgues are being overwhelmed. The talks came after WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged Beijing to be more forthcoming on the pandemic situation. The strict measures triggered unprecedented public protests, marking the strongest show of public defiance in Xi’s decade-long presidency.
Meanwhile, the WHO said that officials from China’s National Health Commission and the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration have briefed the UN body on China’s evolving strategy and actions on epidemiology, variant monitoring, vaccination, clinical care, communication, research, and development. “The WHO reiterated the importance of vaccination and booster shots to protect high-risk people from serious illness and death,” said the Geneva-based organization. “WHO called on China to strengthen virus sequencing, clinical management, and impact assessment, and agreed to provide support in these areas and vaccination risk communication to counter its hesitation.”660 More than 10,000 deaths have been reported, but the United Nations Health Organization recognizes that is a gross underestimate.