China stops publishing daily Covid data amid reports of explosion in cases | China

China stops publishing daily Covid data amid reports of explosion in cases | China

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China’s National Health Commission (NHC) stopped publishing daily data on Covid-19 amid concerns about the reliability of the figures after infections spiked following a sharp easing of strict restrictions.

“Relevant information on Covid will be published by the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention for reference and research,” the commission said in a statement, without specifying the reasons for the change or how often China CDC will update the public with new information on Covid .

The sudden halt in reporting daily totals of infections and deaths comes as concerns grow about the lack of vital information available since Beijing made sweeping changes to its zero-Covid policy, which put hundreds of millions of its citizens in isolation and hit the world’s second- the largest economy.

Despite the record spike in infections, the NHC had not reported nationwide Covid deaths for four consecutive days before it stopped releasing the data. Last week China has narrowed its definition of a death from Covidcounting only those from Covid-induced pneumonia or respiratory failure.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned about this China may struggle to contain the number of Covid-19 infections. The WHO has not received data from China on new Covid hospitalizations since Beijing eased its restrictions. The lack of data transparency has made it difficult to monitor the scale of this latest Covid outbreak.

China has officially reported fewer than 10 Covid-related deaths in the past two weeks, but a surge in demand for crematoria has been interpreted as evidence that the true death toll is much higher.

British-based health data firm Airfinity last week estimated that China was experiencing more than one million infections and 5,000 deaths a day.

On Friday, a local health official in Qingdao reported that the city was sick “between 490,000 and 530,000” new cases of Covid per day. The report was shared by several other news outlets, but appeared to have been redacted by Saturday morning to remove details of the case.

The country’s health system is under enormous strain, with staff forced to work while sick and retired medical workers in rural communities being rehired to help local efforts, according to state media.

Adding to the urgency is the approach of the Lunar New Year in January, when huge numbers of people travel around the country.

Reuters contributed to this report

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