The head of the World Health Organization spoke with Chinese authorities and the agency welcomed new information on the situation in the country, the WHO said on Saturday, after Beijing released new data showing a big jump in the number of deaths related to COVID-19.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke with Ma Xiaowei, director of China’s National Health Commission, about the wave of infections that broke out after the country abruptly lifted its anti-virus regime last month.
The Geneva-based agency said in a statement “WHO appreciates this meeting, as well as the public release of information on the overall situation, chinese officials provided WHO and at a press conference with information on a range of topics, including ambulances, hospitalizations, patients requiring urgent treatment and critical care, and hospital deaths related to COVID-19 infection,”.
Earlier on Saturday, China said nearly 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died in hospital since it abandoned its zero-Covid policy in early December, a big jump from previously reported figures. The release follows global criticism of the Chinese data.
The UN agency said “WHO is analyzing this information, which covers the beginning of December 2022 to January 12, 2023, and allows a better understanding of the epidemiological situation and the impact of this wave in China”.
WHO said the epidemiology of the latest outbreak, with a rapid and intense wave of infections caused by Omicron variant types – which mainly affected the elderly or those with underlying conditions – was similar to what was seen in other countries.
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