COVID: China releases hospital data again

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has received data from China on new hospitalizations related to COVID-19 after a period in which Beijing had transmitted nothing, figures released on Thursday showed an increase of almost 50% last week.

The WHO did not receive any data from China in the weeks after Beijing suddenly abandoned its “zero COVID” policy in early December, leading some health experts to suspect the Chinese authorities to conceal the extent of the epidemic in the country.

The WHO on Thursday reported 22,416 new COVID-19 hospitalizations in mainland China in the week to Jan. 1, compared with 15,161 the previous week. However, this level remains below the peak of nearly 29,000 admissions recorded in early December.

This report lists 218,019 contaminations by the coronavirus responsible for the disease and 648 deaths from COVID-19 last week in China, even if these data generally include Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported nine deaths that week.

The WHO on Wednesday issued strong criticism of China’s recent handling of the epidemic, accusing it of imprecise data and an underestimation of the number of hospitalizations and deaths.

(Reporting Jahnavi Nidumolu in Bengaluru and Emma Farge in Geneva; with contributions from Brenda Goh in Shanghai; French version Jean Rosset)

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