The World Health Organization on Saturday called on China to provide more data on its Covid situation, after Beijing reported almost 60,000 Covid-related deaths there in just over a month.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the request in a conversation with Ma Xiaowei, director of China’s National Health Commission, said a statement from the organisation.
“Dr Tedros also reiterated the importance of China’s deeper cooperation and transparency,” said the statement.
The Chinese government has been widely accused of underreporting the number of coronavirus fatalities since the abandonment of its zero-Covid policy.
Only a few dozen deaths had been recorded officially in December before Saturday’s announcement, despite evidence of crematoriums and hospitals being overrun.
But a National Health Commission (NHC) official said Saturday that China had recorded 59,938 Covid-related deaths between December 8 and January 12.
The figure refers only to deaths at medical facilities, with the total number likely to be higher.
The World Health Organization, in its statement, said it is “analysing this information, which covers early December 2022 to 12 January 2023, and allows for a better understanding of the epidemiological situation and the impact of this wave in China.
“WHO requested that this type of detailed information continue to be shared with us and the public,” the statement added.
“WHO notes the efforts by Chinese authorities to scale up clinical care for its population at all levels, including in critical care.”