The World Health Organization has received no data from China on new COVID-19 hospitalizations since Beijing lifted its COVID-free policy, leading some health experts to question whether they could hide information about the extent of the outbreak.
However, the WHO said the gaps in the data could be due to Chinese authorities simply having difficulty tallying cases.
WHO weekly reports showed an increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 in China until Beijing decided to relax travel restrictions on December 7 to prevent any further transmission of the virus. -withdrawal but caused extraordinary public protests and made it difficult for the world’s second-largest economy.
They peaked at 28,859 through December 4, according to the WHO chart, the highest reported number in China since COVID-19 first emerged three years ago, but no number any of the two most recent reports.
WHO spokeswoman, Margaret Harris, spoke to direct questions about reporting data for the country concerned. China’s diplomatic mission in Geneva did not respond to questions from Reuters.
China is frequently accused of downplaying the COVID-19 outbreak, and some experts say the narrow criteria for determining the number of deaths would underestimate the true number. Some estimates predict large numbers of deaths to come, and China is racing to strengthen its health system.
Lawrence Gostin, a law professor at Georgetown University who closely follows the WHO, called the missing data “very suspicious”.
“What it tells me is that China is hiding important data to understand the full impact of its decision to end its COVID-free strategy,” he told Reuters.
Adam Kamradt-Scott, professor of Global Public Health at the European University Institute, said countries often try to hide the extent of disease outbreaks.
“It’s hard to criticize China when there are other countries that haven’t (completely) reported COVID cases,” he said.
WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan pointed to possible capacity issues. “I don’t want to say that China is actively not telling us what’s going on. I think they’re behind the curve,” he said.
Global outbreak rules require countries to communicate information about ongoing outbreaks, but they cannot be enforced.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)
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