China to stop disclosing daily COVID numbers

The government's latest move comes after a leaked document indicated that Covid-19 may have infected 250 million individuals

Taking a new turn, China will stop releasing daily statistics for Covid-19 cases and fatalities, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced on Sunday, ending a practice that started in early 2020.

After Beijing quickly demolished its zero-Covid approach, cities all around China have grappled with rising infection rates, a related lack of medications, and overcrowded hospital rooms.

The NHC announced the policy change but did not provide an explanation, saying, “Starting today, we will no longer publish daily information on the pandemic.” The government’s latest move comes after a leaked document indicated that Covid-19 may have infected 250 million individuals in China in just 20 days following the relaxation of ‘zero-covid policy’

While authorities have restricted the medical definition of a Covid death, a move experts predict may reduce the number of fatalities attributed to the virus, the elimination of tight testing standards has made caseloads practically hard to manage.

The National Health Commission (NHC) stated that “the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publish information regarding the outbreak for reference and research purposes,” but it did not specify the kind or frequency of information that would be released by the CDC.

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People in China responded cynically to the decision because they observe a significant gap between official data and infections in their families and social networks.

While state media has mostly dismissed the sudden increase in bodies arriving at crematoriums, they have, to some extent, reported that hospitals are under pressure due to an influx of patients and a lack of anti-fever medications.

The new methodological change, under which only individuals who have passed away due to respiratory failure caused by Covid are counted as having been killed by the virus, has also thrown into doubt official figures.

Since China’s pandemic limitations were relaxed, China has only reported six Covid-19 deaths.

But this week, a top health official in the eastern city of Qingdao was quoted by the media as saying that half a million people are contracting the disease every day.

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