After Showing That Omicron Subvariants BA.5.2 and BF.7 Cause 97.5 Percent of China’s COVID-19 Infections, the Who Requested Information From Beijing
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that China’s recent Covid-19 outbreak is primarily driven by the Omicron subvariants BA.5.2 and BF.7, which account for 97.5 percent of all local infections, and urged Beijing to provide timely and accurate data on hospitalizations and deaths in the country.
This comes as China’s National Health Commission (NHC) has stopped publishing daily Covid-19 infections and deaths due to a lack of reliable figures following an outbreak of infections after Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed in the country.
“We keep asking China for more complete, real-time viral sequencing and faster, more reliable data on hospitalizations and deaths. WHO is worried about the risk to life in China. At a media briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “It’s important to get vaccinated and get booster shots to protect against hospitalization, serious illness, and death.”
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed more than 2,000 genomes to find that Omicron subvariants BA.5.2 and BF.7 were most common in the current Covid-19 wave in China. The WHO also said that XBB.1.5 was the most contagious Omicron sub-variant so far, but the severity of the disease hasn’t changed.
The WHO said that China’s lack of Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths data doesn’t give an accurate picture of the situation in the country and that the number of hospitalizations and deaths from the disease is underreported.
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At a media briefing, WHO’s director of emergencies, Mike Ryan, said, “We believe that the current numbers coming out of China don’t show the true impact of the disease in terms of hospital admissions, ICU admissions, and most of all, deaths.”
Health officials in other countries have been trying to figure out how big the outbreak is and how to stop it from spreading. More countries are putting in place things like pre-departure Covid tests for people coming from China, which Beijing has criticized.