WHO Chief Says China Under-Reports COVID-19 Deaths
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said the organization’s data on COVID-19 deaths worldwide was downgraded due to underreporting by China. disease cases.
“Last week, nearly 11,500 deaths were reported to WHO: about 40% from the Americas, 30% from Europe and 30% from the Western Pacific region. However, this number is almost certainly an underestimation, due to underreporting of COVID-related deaths in China,” Ghebreyesus said in a briefing, according to comments published on the WHO website.
The head of WHO called on all countries to share honest statistics to contribute to a more effective fight against the spread of this disease. Last week, Tedros asked China for reliable data on the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the country.
“We continue to ask China to provide faster, more frequent, more reliable data on hospitalizations and deaths, as well as more comprehensive, real-time virus sequencing,” Tedros said. said at a press conference in Geneva. This comment comes after WHO held a high-level meeting with partners in China to discuss the increase in cases and hospitalizations.
Back in December, the Chinese government dropped its COVID-19-free policy for the pandemic after nearly three years, leading to a spike in cases in just a few weeks. At the end of January, mandatory PCR testing and centralized isolation for people arriving in China were canceled.
The spike in the number of infections in China has forced several countries, including the United States, Italy, Japan and South Korea, to tighten measures for passengers arriving from the country.
During a media briefing, Tedros said that throughout the pandemic, testing and sequencing have helped WHO track the spread and development of new variants.
“But since the peak of the Omicron wave, the number of shared sequences has decreased by more than 90% and the number of countries sharing sequences has decreased by a third,” he said.
The WHO chief noted that countries cannot maintain the same level of testing and sequencing as they had during Omicron’s peak. However, he added that the world cannot close its eyes in hope that the virus will go away.
Tedros stressed that sequencing remains important to detect and monitor the emergence and spread of new variants, such as XBB.1.5. He added: “We urge all countries currently experiencing intense transmission to increase sequencing and sharing of those sequences.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)
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