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Leaked document suggests 250 million fresh cases in just 20 days in China; Beijing stops publishing daily data

Amid a massive surge in COVID cases, China's National Health Commission has now decided not to publish daily COVID data. Hospitals and morgues in China are fully packed as COVID cases are sweeping across the country with experts forecasting million to 2 million COVID deaths next year. The report said that China recorded 37 million COVID infections on Tuesday alone. However, the figure contradicted the official number of 3,049 new infections reported that day.

Leaked document suggests 250 million fresh cases in just 20 days in China Beijing stops publishing daily data gcw
First Published Dec 25, 2022, 3:20 PM IST

Around 250 million people in China may have been infected with COVID-19 in the first 20 days of December, multiple reports have said according to an internal estimate from the nation’s top health officials. According to estimations, the epidemic would affect almost 18% of China's 1.4 billion people, making it the biggest COVID-19 infection ever identified globally, according to various media reports. According to sources, the statistics were given on Wednesday during a National Health Commission (NHC) internal meeting.

The numbers are in sharp contrast to the NHC's publicly available statistics, which showed that in the first 20 days of December, there were only 62,592 symptomatic COVID cases.

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In the meanwhile, the NHC has ceased posting daily COVID-19 statistics on Sunday due to concerns about their validity of light of the sudden loosening of severe restrictions that caused an explosion in infections.

Without elaborating on the reasons behind the shift or how frequently China CDC will update COVID information, the commission stated in a statement that "Relevant COVID information will be released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for reference and research."

Also Read | Millions getting infected by COVID in China; official data reveals 17.56% population already affected

The NHC stopped disclosing statistics after reporting no COVID fatalities nationally for four days in a row despite the record-breaking spike in infections. This month, there were just eight COVID fatalities reported. China has narrowed its definition for reporting COVID deaths, counting only those from COVID-caused pneumonia or respiratory failure, raising eyebrows among world health experts.

People in China are also now using rapid antigen tests to detect infections and are under no obligation to report positive results.

Rising infection rates have left pharmacy shelves empty, hospital wards full, and it appears even crematoriums and funeral houses are seeing backlogs as cities throughout the nation battle to keep up.

Also read: Ensure regular oxygen supply, functional life support at hospitals: Centre tells States, UTs amid Covid surge

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