China’s new strategy to reduce official COVID numbers during reopening: Stop counting many new infections

China will only release data on symptomatic COVID cases, the country announced Wednesday as it struggles to contain the virus after easing so-called “Zero COVID” restrictions. .

With the abolition of mandatory testing, officials can no longer accurately assess the number of infected people who show no symptoms, the National Health Commission said in a statement Wednesday. Bloomberg report.

China hit its second-highest level of recorded COVID-19 cases late last month — the seven-day average was nearly 50,000 on Nov. Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. It reported only 20,957 new COVID cases in the last 24 hours, possibly as a result of a change in reporting.

Cases rose before China eased measures, possibly due in part to widespread COVID policy protests may have acted as a “super-spreader” event..

Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization’s emergencies director, said on Wednesday that China’s easing of lockdown measures was not responsible for its current rise.

“There were rumors that China lifted restrictions and suddenly the epidemic got out of control,” he told a press conference in Geneva. many news agencies.

“The disease is spreading rapidly because, I believe, control measures by themselves do not stop the disease. And I believe China has strategically decided that is not the best option anymore.”

Experts have urged China to let outside experts like those from the WHO advise its transition, as well as allow the use of better vaccines such as the one from Pfizer and modern. In a sign of progress, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical team leader on COVID-19, said on Wednesday that the agency was giving advice to the country on easing restrictions, Reuters fourth report.

And earlier this week, China’s Meheco Group said it had reached an agreement with Pfizer to import its COVID-19 vaccine. Reuters report. China has developed vaccines domestically, but there is a lack of data on their effectiveness. The same company will soon sell Pfizer’s anti-COVID drug Paxlovid in China, Bloomberg fourth report.

Dr Ali Mokdad, given China’s lack of “population immunity” due to lack of widespread exposure, below-average vaccines and low vaccination rates among the elderly, the virus is likely to spread throughout the country. , causing “hundreds of millions” of infections, said Dr. Ali Mokdad, professor at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, recently said Luck.

“If you look at the numbers, only about 25% of people in China are immune to Omicron.” he said Luck earlier this month, before the country reopens. “If they open their doors, 75% of the population will be infected. They can’t handle the explosion of infections and hospitalizations.”

“This will spread like wildfire.”

Earlier this month, Ryan said he hoped China would find a new approach to fighting COVID that would “balance the control of the virus with the lives, livelihoods and welfare of the Chinese people, ” he said.

“When you can’t stop a fire, you push people in danger out of the way,” he said. Luck. “And in this case, we do it with vaccines.”

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