Lack of info on China’s Covid outbreak stirs global concerns

BEIJING: The move of the United States, Japan and other countries to mandate Covid -19 tests for passengers arriving from China reflect global concern that new variant may emerge during an ongoing outbreak — and governments may not notify the rest of the world quickly enough.
There are no reports of new variants so far. But given the country’s track record, it’s worrisome that China may not be sharing data on any signs of developing strains that could cause new outbreaks elsewhere.
The United States, when it announced a request to test negative on Wednesday for passengers arriving from China, cited both an increase in infections and what it said was a lack of information, including the sequence genomes of virus strains in this country.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed similar concerns about the lack of information when he announced testing requirements for passengers arriving from China earlier this week.
More broadly, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently said the WHO needs more information on the severity of the outbreak in China, particularly on the number of hospitalizations and ICUs, “to assess the global risk. about the actual situation.”
India, South Korea, Taiwan and Italy have also announced different screening requirements for passengers arriving from China. German health authorities are monitoring the situation but have not taken similar precautionary steps.
“We have no indication that a more dangerous variant has developed during this outbreak in China, which would be the basis for declaring a variant region of the virus, which would lead to corresponding travel restrictions,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Health. Sebastien Guelde speak.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning last week said China has always shared its information responsibly with the WHO and the international community.
“We stand ready to work together with the international community to tackle the Covid challenge more effectively, better protect people’s lives and health, and restore stable economic growth together. and build a global community of health for all,” she said.
China lifted many of its strict pandemic restrictions earlier this month, allowing the virus to spread in a country with relatively few infections since the initial devastating outbreak in the city of Wuhan in December. early 2020.
The rise of infections has led to shortages of cold medicine, long lines at fever clinics, and emergency rooms turning patients away because they are full.
The number of cremations has multiplied, with requests from overcrowded funeral homes in the city of Guangzhou asking families to postpone funeral services until next month.
China did not report this widely and blamed Western media for exaggerating the situation. The government has been accused of controlling information about the outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic.
An AP investigation found that China is controlling the dissemination of its own internal research on the origins of Covid-19 in 2020. A group of WHO experts said in a report this year that “the “important piece of data” is still missing on how the pandemic started and calls for a deeper investigation.


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