In the wake of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, China's National Health Commission (NHC) has now decided to stop publishing the country's reported cases on the daily basis, as per the Global Times. The decision came in the backdrop of a report which stated that after Beijing's 'zero-covid policy' was diluted almost 250 million people in China may have been affected by the virus in just 20 days.
According to the NHC's statement, "China's National Health Commission will stop publishing daily COVID-19 case data from Sunday. Instead, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention will release COVID-related info for study and reference".
On the NHC website, China reported 4,128 new cases of confirmed infections and no new death in the country on December 23. On the same day, 1,760 patients were released from the hospital after being cured and 28,865 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation. The number of serious cases increased by 99. However, government officials released December 20 COVID cases data is different from the reality as nearly 37 million were estimated, stated report.
According to the leaked government documents that are doing rounds on social media, 248 million people were infected with Covid-19 from December 1 to 20 which is 17.65% of China's population. A senior Chinese journalist stated that the document accessed was genuine as it was leaked by someone who was part of the government meeting.
The rapid surge in COVID cases has severely impacted the hospitals in Beijing and other main cities. The cases have posed an unprecedented challenge for medical workers. A Beijing hospital official said that about 500 patients daily are received at its emergency unit. That's more than twice the usual times and about 20% of them have developed serious symptoms. Taking stock of the increasing cases, hospitals in Beijing are setting up makeshift intensive care units and increasing the number of beds for patients with serious symptoms.
Following the Chinese government's rollback of its stringent and much-criticised zero-COVID policy that involved curbs on basic movement, Beijing has seen a wave of new cases. Reports coming in from China say hospitals are filling up quickly and pharmacies are running die. Crematoriums too are piling up with dead bodies. The elderly in China are being regarded as the most vulnerable as BF.7, a subvariant of Omicron BF.5 wreaks havoc across the country.
The worsening situation in China has become a cause of concern across the world. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also expressed his concern. "WHO is very concerned over the evolving situation in China with increasing reports of severe disease," Ghebreyesus said while addressing a press conference.
Amid the chaos in China, the Indian government has also ramped up its alertness over COVID-19. India has decided to conduct RT-PCR tests on foreign arrivals from China and four other nations.
Indian Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya recently conducted a meeting with health ministers of all states and called on them to work together to fight a potential rise in COVID-19 cases. Hospitals have been asked to conduct mock drills and states have been asked to keep oxygen and other medical infrastructure ready. The Indian government has also asked people to wear masks and take precautions against COVID-19.
(With agency inputs)