China Media Plays Down COVID Severity as WHO Seeks Detail on Variants

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State media in China performed down the severity of a surge of COVID-19 infections forward of an anticipated briefing on Tuesday by its scientists to the World Health Organization, which is hoping for a “detailed dialogue” on the evolution of the virus.

China’s abrupt U-turn on COVID controls on Dec. 7, as well as the accuracy of its case and mortality data, have come under increasing scrutiny at home and abroad.

China’s foreign ministry labelled travel entry curbs imposed by some countries as “simply unreasonable”, saying they “lacked scientific foundation”.

“We are willing to improve communication with the world,” overseas ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning instructed reporters in Beijing.

“But … we’re firmly against makes an attempt to govern the epidemic prevention and management measures for political functions, and can take corresponding measures in several conditions in line with the precept of reciprocity.”

China’s shift away from a “zero-COVID” coverage that had been championed by President Xi Jinping adopted protests that had marked the strongest present of public defiance throughout his decade in energy and had coincided with the economic system’s slowest development in practically half a century.

As the virus spreads unchecked, funeral parlours have reported a spike in demand for his or her providers and worldwide well being consultants predict at the least a million deaths in China this yr.

China reported three new COVID deaths for Monday, taking its official demise toll for the reason that pandemic started to five,253.

On Tuesday, the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, cited Chinese consultants as saying the sickness brought on by the virus was comparatively gentle for most individuals.

“Severe and demanding diseases account for 3% to 4% of contaminated sufferers at the moment admitted to designated hospitals in Beijing,” Tong Zhaohui, vice president of the Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, told the newspaper.

Kang Yan, head of West China Tianfu Hospital of Sichuan University, said that in the past three weeks, a total of 46 patients had been admitted to intensive care units, or about 1% of symptomatic infections.

The emergencies area at the Zhongshan Hospital in Shanghai was packed with patients on Tuesday, a Reuters witness said.

Some were in beds in the corridor receiving IV treatment while dozens were queuing around them, waiting to see a doctor. It was unclear how many were there with COVID.

WHO MEETING

The World Health Organization has urged Chinese health officials to regularly share specific and real-time information on the outbreak.

The WHO has invited Chinese scientists to present detailed data on viral sequencing at a technical advisory group meeting on Tuesday. It has also asked China to share data on hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations.

Ahead of the meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon Geneva time, a WHO spokesperson said that a “detailed discussion” was anticipated about circulating variants in China, and globally, with Chinese scientists anticipated to make a presentation.

But some consultants doubted that China can be very forthright.

“I don’t assume China shall be very honest in disclosing info,” mentioned Alfred Wu, affiliate professor on the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore.

“They would rather just keep it to themselves or they would say nothing happened, nothing is new. My own sense is that we could assume that there is nothing new … but the problem is China’s transparency issue is always there.”

The United States, France, and others would require COVID checks on travellers from China, whereas Belgium mentioned it will take a look at wastewater from planes for brand new variants.

European Union well being officers will meet on Wednesday on a coordinated response.

China will cease requiring inbound travellers to enter quarantine from Jan. 8. But it should nonetheless demand a pre-departure take a look at.

‘DANGEROUS WEEKS’

As Chinese staff and consumers fall unwell, issues mount about near-term development prospects on this planet’s second-largest economic system, inflicting volatility in world monetary markets.

A survey launched on Tuesday confirmed China’s manufacturing unit exercise shrank final month.

December shipments from Foxconn’s Zhengzhou iPhone plant, disrupted by employee departures and unrest amid a COVID outbreak, had been 90% of the agency’s preliminary plans.

A “bushfire” of infections in China in coming months is likely to hurt its economy this year and drag global growth lower, said the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva.

“China is entering the most dangerous weeks of the pandemic,” warned Capital Economics analysts.

Mobility knowledge urged that financial exercise was depressed nationwide and would possible stay so till infections subside, they added.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism mentioned the 52.71 million home journeys throughout the New Year vacation generated 26.52 billion yuan ($3.84 billion), up 4% year-on-year however had been solely about 35% of the final pre-pandemic yr in 2019.

Expectations are larger for the large Lunar New Year vacation, late this month, when some consultants predict infections may have peaked in lots of locations.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 employees and is revealed from a syndicated information company feed)

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