China halts reporting of daily Covid numbers amid greater scrutiny on data: Bloomberg

Major concern over China's reopening amid Covid surge.

Yen Zhi Yi | January 13, 2023, 12:03 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

China has stopped reporting its daily Covid tallies for a few weeks since the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the country.

A report by Bloomberg revealed that China has stopped doing so since Jan. 9 while China's National Health Commission (NHC) website had stopped making their daily Covid tallies available online since Dec. 24, 2022.

This comes amidst concerns on China’s alleged underrepresentation of Covid data as the country faced its first major coronavirus outbreak after easing its zero-Covid policy in early December 2022.

Scrutiny on Covid data provided by China

China had been reporting daily Covid cases since 2020 as the country implemented extensive testing, quarantine and tracing rules to combat the virus.

In a press conference on Dec. 27, 2022, Chinese health officials said that the country would make necessary adjustments and eventually switch to a monthly publication schedule of his Covid-related data, though no timeline was given.

The country also changed its definition of Covid deaths on Dec. 20, lowering its Covid-related death count.

Bloomberg said that while China stopped releasing daily Covid tallies, other regions like Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea had continued to release Covid-related data as they reopened.

The report added that China’s case reporting became increasingly unreliable after easing its previously stringent Covid restrictions in December 2022, with reports depicting overcrowded hospitals and crematoriums within the country.

In a briefing on Jan. 11, Mike Ryan, WHO's executive director of health emergencies, has reiterated that WHO believes “deaths are heavily underreported from China”. WHO also urged China to provide more data for the agency to do a comprehensive risk assessment.

WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the global number of Covid-19 deaths has remained constant, ranging between 10,000 and 14,000 per week, since mid-September 2020.

Despite a surge in Covid cases within the country, China reopened its borders on Jan. 8, after more than two years of stringent Covid measures.

Several countries has since imposed entry restrictions on travellers arriving from China, sparking a retaliation from the Chinese government.

Related articles:

Top images by Nuno Alberto & Joshua Fernandez via Unsplash