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WHO asks China for more detailed data on COVID surge and viral sequencing after Beijing reports nearly 60,000 deaths

January 15, 2023, 3:16 PM UTC
A nurse works in the ward for COVID patients in a hospital in Fuyang in central China's Anhui province earlier this month.
AN MING—Feature China/Future Publishing via Getty Images

The World Health Organization urged China to share more detailed information on its coronavirus situation after Beijing reported that there had been almost 60,000 Covid-related deaths in the country since early last month. 

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated the importance of China’s deeper cooperation and transparency in talks with Ma Xiaowei, director of the Asian nation’s National Health Commission, according to a statement on Saturday.  

While Beijing reported earlier that the omicron sub-lineages BA.5.2 and BF.7 are currently circulating in the country, the WHO asked for a more detailed breakdown of Covid data from China, including information on further sequences.

Chinese authorities reported on Saturday that there had been a total of 59,938 Covid-linked deaths at hospitals across the country between Dec. 8 and Jan. 12. Global health officials have expressed concern about on a lack of timely information sharing in China, with some countries imposing restrictions on Chinese travelers.

WHO said it is analyzing the latest information and the overall epidemiology situation in China, which is experiencing a rapid and intense wave of infections with higher clinical impact on older people and those with underlying conditions. The outbreaks are similar to the experiences of other countries, with increased pressure on health services.

China will continue to support the role of the WHO in pooling international efforts to fight the virus, the National Health Commission cited Ma as saying in a statement

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