China ends daily reporting of COVID-19 cases as global criticism intensifies

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident after the government eased curbs on the COVID-19 control, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China December 10, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/File)

Three days have passed since China last updated its daily COVID-19 data, adding to worldwide fears that the lack of information obscures the full impact of the world's largest outbreak.

Monday was the final time the country provided a daily COVID-19 situation update, including the number of cases rendered worthless by the reduction of regular testing and the number of extremely ill patients and deaths.

Health officials stated last month, without offering a particular date, that China would convert to monthly reports as part of its downgraded virus control.

Bloomberg News' calls to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Health Commission's disease control unit went unanswered.

The lack of knowledge on the impact of China's sudden pandemic pivot last month is stoking global fears that the unchecked spread of the virus could seed mutations and has spurred several nations to implement measures targeting travelers from China. Wednesday, the World Health Organization reiterated requesting further COVID-19 data from China. It highlighted the need to exchange information regarding circulating strains and if cases are increasing or decreasing in certain cities and rural areas.

The daily report's apparent conclusion amid a record-breaking infection wave stands in contrast to other nations, which continue to provide information publicly even after adapting to the virus. Major regional hubs in Asia, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea, publish daily statistics. After reopening, New Zealand continued to report COVID-19 cases daily for months until transitioning to weekly reports.

Due to the comprehensive testing and tracing efforts that underlie COVID-19 Zero, China's daily updates became the gold standard for information on every case in the country after the initial Wuhan outbreak overloaded the health system in early 2020.

However, the case statistics have become unreliable over the past month due to China's abandonment of mass testing and other control procedures. Officials' restrictive definition of a COVID-19 death has led to criticism of the disease's fatality statistics.

China recorded fewer than forty deaths after the early December diversion from COVID-19 Zero. However, reports throughout the country indicate that funeral homes and crematoriums are swamped.

On Monday, officials reported 7,557 severe cases in the United States, an increase of more than 1,100 from the previous day.

On Sunday, there were approximately 14,000 new confirmed cases.

Publish : 2023-01-12 13:52:00

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