China Stops Reporting COVID Statistics As Cases Spike

China Stops Reporting COVID Statistics As Cases Spike
China will no longer be publishing daily figures for COVID-19 cases and deaths, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Sunday. This notification ends a practice that began in early 2020.

Beijing admitted last week that the scale of any COVID outbreak has become “impossible” to track or contain after the end of mandatory daily mass testing. Earlier this week, China said that nearly 37 million people may have been infected with COVID-19 on a single day.

Cities across China are struggling with surging virus cases after Beijing dismantled its zero-COVID regime earlier this month following widespread protests. The strict regime of lockdowns and testing had largely kept the virus away for three years, but at great economic and psychological costs.

The abrupt change of policy seems to have caught the country’s health system unprepared, with hospitals scrambling for beds and blood, pharmacies for drugs, and authorities racing to build special clinics. Harrowing videos on social media, allegedly from overcrowded Chinese hospitals, show relatives struggling to resuscitate their loved ones.

International media reporting paints a grim picture with pharmacy shelves stripped bare, overflowing hospitals and packed crematoriums. Officially, only six COVID deaths have been reported in Beijing since the end of most of the "Zero COVID" restrictions.

Many unconfirmed videos of mortuaries, allegedly showing people who had passed away due to COVID in China, were also circulating on social media.

The decision to scrap the daily virus count came amid concerns that the latest wave of infections is not being "accurately reflected" in official statistics.

On Sunday, the industrial province of Zhejiang reported one million positive COVID cases, and expected the figure to double in the coming days.

The lifting of the lockdown in China and freer travelling has also increased the risk of a new COVID variant entering Pakistan. The threat is posed by a new coronavirus variant which experts suspect to be behind the surge of positive cases in China.

However, Pakistani officials claimed that Pakistan is fully prepared to deal with any new variant of COVID-19, including sub-variant BF.7 or BA. of the highly infectious Omicron variant. This sub-variant is presumed to be driving the rapidly increasing infection rates in China.

Pakistani health experts explained that the threat posed by this new sub-variant was low because almost 90 per cent of the eligible population in Pakistan had been completely inoculated against the coronavirus.