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Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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    China to stop publishing daily COVID figures: NHC

    BEIJING (AFP) – China will no longer publish daily figures for COVID-19 cases and deaths, the National Health Commission (NHC) said yesterday, ending a practice that began in early 2020.

    Cities across China have struggled with surging infections, and a resulting shortage of pharmaceuticals and overflowing hospital wards, after Beijing rapidly dismantled its zero-COVID strategy.

    “From today, we will no longer publish daily information on the epidemic,” the NHC said, without giving an explanation for its policy shift.

    But the end of strict testing mandates made caseloads virtually impossible to track, while authorities narrowed the medical definition of a COVID death in a move experts said will suppress the number of fatalities attributable to the virus.

    “The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publish information about the outbreak for reference and research purposes,” the NHC said, without specifying the type or frequency of data to be published by the CDC.

    Crematorium workers interviewed by AFP reported an unusually high influx of bodies.

    Meanwhile, state media said hospitals are under stress from an influx of patients and a shortage of anti-fever drugs.

    China has announced only six COVID-19 deaths since its pandemic restrictions were lifted.

    But in a rare acknowledgement this week, a senior health official in Qingdao was quoted by the media as saying half a million people are being infected daily.

    A man holds a framed picture of a loved one at a crematorium in Beijing. PHOTO: AFP
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