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

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) has stopped publishing daily Covid-19 data, amid concerns about the reliability of the numbers after infections exploded in the wake of the sudden easing of strict restrictions.

“Relevant Covid information will be released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for your reference and research,” the commission said in a statement, without specifying the reasons for the change or how frequently the CDC updates the public with new Covid information.

The abrupt halt in reporting the total number of daily infections and deaths comes as concerns grow about a lack of vital information available since Beijing made sweeping changes to its Covid non-spread policy, which has put hundreds of millions of its citizens under lockdown and hit the world’s second-largest country. – the largest economy.

Despite the record rise in infections, the NHC reported no Covid deaths nationwide for four consecutive days before halting data release. last week China has narrowed its definition of Covid deathcount only those with pneumonia caused by Covid or respiratory failure.

The World Health Organization last week warned about this China may struggle to keep down the number of Covid-19 infections. The World Health Organization has not received any data from China on new Covid hospital admissions since Beijing eased its restrictions. The lack of data transparency has made it difficult to monitor the scope of the recent Covid outbreak.

Officially, China has reported fewer than 10 Covid-related deaths in the past two weeks, but the surge in demand for crematoriums has been interpreted as evidence that the true number of deaths is much higher.

Britain-based health data company Airfinity estimated last week that China was seeing more than 1 million infections and 5,000 deaths a day.

On Friday, a local health official in Qingdao reported that the city was watching “Between 490,000 and 530,000” new Covid cases per day. The report was shared by several other news outlets but appears to have been edited on Saturday morning to remove case numbers.

The country’s healthcare system is under enormous strain, with staff being asked to work while rehiring sick and retired medical workers in rural communities to assist in grassroots efforts, according to state media.

Reinforcing the urgency is the approaching Lunar New Year in January, when a large number of people travel across the country.

Reuters contributed to this report

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