World News

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated on Wednesday that China’s underreporting of cases has resulted in a reduction in the number of deaths worldwide attributable to COVID-19.

“Nearly 11,500 fatalities were recorded to the WHO last week, with the Americas accounting for 40%, Europe for 30%, and the Western Pacific for 30%. However, considering the underreporting of COVID-related fatalities in China, this number is very certainly an underestimate “According to comments made by Ghebreyesus that were posted on the WHO website, he gave a briefing.

The head of the WHO urged all nations to exchange accurate statistics in order to help in the fight against the disease’s spread. Tedros requested accurate statistics on Covid hospitalisations and fatalities in China last week.

At a media briefing in Geneva, Tedros stated, “We continue to press China for more immediate, consistent, trustworthy statistics on hospitalisations and deaths, as well as more extensive, real-time viral sequencing. This statement was made following a high-level meeting between WHO and its Chinese counterparts to discuss the rise in cases and hospitalisation.

After almost three years, the Chinese government abandoned its zero COVID-19 policy toward the pandemic back in December, which caused a massive increase in cases in only a few short weeks. Mandatory PCR testing and centralised isolation for travellers arriving in China were discontinued later in January.

A number of nations, including the United States, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, have been compelled to impose stricter regulations on travellers entering from China as a result of the country’s unexpected increase in the Covid tally.

Tedros stated during the media conference that testing and sequencing throughout the epidemic assisted WHO in tracking the spread and emergence of new strains.

However, he added, “Since the Omicron wave’s apex, the number of shared sequences has plummeted by more than 90%, and the number of countries sharing sequences has fallen by a third.

The head of WHO highlighted that nations could not continue to test and sequence at the same rates they did at the height of Omicron. But he went on to say that everyone cannot just turn a blind eye and wait for the infection to go.

Tedros emphasised the continued importance of sequencing in identifying and following the emergence and dissemination of novel variations like XBB.1.5. He continued, “We implore all nations currently experiencing intense transmission to increase sequencing and to exchange those sequences.

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