China stops publishing daily Covid-19 infection report

Shanghai, China, Dec 25 (EFE).- China announced Sunday it would stop publishing the daily report on new Covid-19 cases and deaths it has kept since the beginning of 2020, after the spread of the virus across the country cast doubt on the reliability of the official figures.

“From now on, the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention will not release information about the pandemic on a daily basis,” the National Health Commission said in a brief statement.

The agency added it would “publish relevant information on the pandemic for reference and investigation,” but did not say what type of data it would offer from now on or with what periodicity.

In recent weeks, health authorities had already stopped disclosing the number of infections that, according to their standards, were considered asymptomatic. These were only reported in the daily report but never added to the official case balances, to which only those infected who did present the required symptoms were added.

In addition, the end of the obligation to undergo routine PCR tests for most of the population resulted in a significantly lower detection of cases than the actual spread of the virus, since those who were asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms received the green light of the government to quarantine at home.

The last official report, published Saturday, listed only 4,128 new infections and no deaths, placing the sum of symptomatic infections since the start of the pandemic at almost 400,000 and the number of deaths at 5,241.

However, the supposed minutes of a meeting of the National Health Commission echoed by Bloomberg said the real number of new daily infections could have reached 37 million and that, in the first days of this month, some 248 million people – 18 percent of the national population – contracted Covid-19.

In recent days, doubts have also arisen about the fidelity of data on deaths offered by health authorities, according to an expert quoted by the state press, as deaths caused by underlying diseases in patients infected with coronavirus are not counted as Covid-19 deaths.

The British health sector analysis company Airfinity said this week that China would currently be registering some 5,000 deaths a day on estimate from Covid-19, while its study places the number of new infections each day at about 1 million new cases, well below the figure quoted by Bloomberg but infinitely higher than those reflected in the official reports.

Also this week, the World Health Organization was “very concerned” about the evolution of Covid-19 in China and demanded “more information” about it, to which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that Beijing has shared its data “from open, punctual and transparent manner” since the start of the pandemic. EFE

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