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WHO chief asks China for rapid reliable data on COVID deaths

2023 Jan 05, 18:32, Geneva
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (AP: Photo)

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has once again asked China for reliable data on Covid hospitalizations and deaths in the country.

"We continue to ask China for more rapid, regular, reliable data on hospitalizations and deaths, as well as more comprehensive, real-time viral sequencing," Tedros said at a media briefing in Geneva Wednesday, according to the script of the media briefing posted on the WHO website.

This comes as WHO held a high-level meeting with counterparts in China last week to discuss the surge in cases and hospitalisations. Subsequently, WHO's Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution and the COVID-19 clinical management expert network groups both met with Chinese experts.

The WHO chief said that the UN agency is concerned about the risk to life in China and has reiterated the importance of vaccination, including booster doses, to protect against hospitalization, and death.

"This is especially important for older people, those with underlying medical conditions, and others who are at higher risk of severe outcomes," he added.

Last week, a number of countries imposed mandatory Covid testing for travellers from China amid a "rapidly developing situation" in the country. They made the Covid-19 test mandatory for flyers coming from mainland China due to a surge in coronavirus infections after the country rolled back its stringent "zero-Covid" policy.

On Tuesday, Beijing accused these countries are imposing COVID-19 entry restrictions without the presence of a scientific basis to support such measures.

"Some of these measures are disproportionate and simply unacceptable. We firmly reject using COVID measures for political purposes and will take corresponding measures in response to varying situations based on the principle of reciprocity," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said during a regular press conference on January 3.

The WHO chief said it is understandable that some countries are taking steps they believe will protect their own citizens.

"With circulation in China so high and comprehensive data not forthcoming - as I said last week it is understandable that some countries are taking steps they believe will protect their own citizens," he said at the briefing. 


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