The World Health Organization’s weekly report on Thursday showed China reported a large jump in Covid-19 hospitalisations in the week up to January 15. This is the highest weekly figure China has recorded since the virus first emerged more than three years ago, the WHO noted, according to the news agency Reuters.
The number of people hospitalised with the infection in China rose by 70 per cent to 63,307 compared to the previous week, the WHO said based on data submitted by Beijing.
However, the global body said it is still waiting for “detailed provincial data disaggregated by the week of reporting” on nearly 60,000 additional Covid-related hospital deaths reported by China last week which was not included in the tally.
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In early December, Beijing eased its strict anti-virus regime that lasted for three years and included frequent testing, travel curbs and mass lockdowns following nationwide protests in late November. It is since then that the cases have surged across the nation by 1.4 billion.
While the WHO and others have raised the concern that China has been under-reporting the scale of the outbreak and called for detailed data, including deaths, excess mortality and genetic sequences.
Meanwhile, China on Friday said the worst was over in its battle against the disease amid the busiest day of travel in years that has instilled fears of a surge in infections.
Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, overlooking China’s virus response, noted that the outbreak was at a “relatively low” level, Reuters said citing state media report. Health officials said the number of Covid patients in clinics, emergency rooms and with critical conditions had peaked.
Some health experts expect more than one million people will die from the disease in China this year, with British-based health data firm Airfinity forecasting COVID fatalities could hit 36,000 a day next week.