Lack of Information on COVID-19 Surge in China Causes Global Concern

Actions by the US, Japan and other countries to mandate COVID-19 testing for passengers arriving from China reflect global concern that new options may emerge there.

Beijing, China. The move by several countries to mandate COVID-19 testing of passengers arriving from China reflects global concern that new options may emerge in the ongoing explosive outbreak and that the government may not inform the rest of the world quickly enough.

No new variants have been reported to date, but China has been accused of not reporting anything on the virus since it first emerged in the country in late 2019. Worryingly, he may not be sharing data on any signs of development right now. strains that could cause new outbreaks elsewhere.

The US, Japan, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Italy have announced testing requirements for passengers from China. The US cited both a spike in infections and a lack of information, including genomic sequencing of the virus strains in the country.

Authorities in Taiwan and Japan expressed similar concerns.

“Currently, the pandemic situation in China is not transparent,” Wang Pi-Sheng, head of the Taiwan Epidemic Control Center, told The Associated Press. “We have a very limited understanding of this information and it is not very accurate.”

The island will begin testing anyone arriving from China on January 1, ahead of an expected return of about 30,000 Taiwanese for the Lunar New Year holiday later in the month. New Japanese rules that have restricted flights from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau to designated airports since Friday are already disrupting holiday travel plans.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that many countries have not changed their policies regarding travelers from China and said any measures should treat people from all countries equally.

Each new infection gives the coronavirus a chance to mutate, and it is spreading rapidly in China. Scientists can’t say if this means the surge will release new mutants into the world, but they fear it could happen.

Chinese health officials said the current outbreak is caused by versions of the omicron variant that have also been found elsewhere, and a surveillance system has been put in place to detect any potentially alarming new versions of the virus. Wu Zunyu, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control, said on Thursday that China has always been timely in reporting the strains of the virus it has detected.

“We don’t keep anything secret,” he said. “All works are shared with the world.”

German health ministry spokesman Sebastian Gelde said local authorities “have no indication that a more dangerous variant has developed during this outbreak in China” but are monitoring the situation. The European Union is also evaluating the situation, although its executive branch has noted that a variant common in China is already active in Europe.

More broadly, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the body needed more information on the severity of the outbreak in China, especially admissions and admissions, “in order to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of the situation on the ground.” .”

Earlier this month, China lifted many of its tight pandemic-related restrictions, allowing the virus to spread rapidly in a country that has seen relatively few infections since the initial devastating outbreak in the city of Wuhan. Spiral infections have led to shortages of cold medicines, long lines at fever clinics, and overcrowded emergency rooms turning patients away. The number of cremations has increased several times: overwhelmed funeral homes in one city have asked families to postpone funerals until next month.

Chinese state media has not reported extensively on the aftermath of the surge, with government officials accusing Western media of blowing things up.

The global fears, tinged with anger, are a direct result of the ruling Communist Party’s sudden abandonment of some of the world’s most stringent anti-virus policies, said Miles Yu, director of the China Center at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in the US. Washington.

“You can’t do insane ‘zero COVID’ lockdowns for such a long period of time… and then suddenly release a lot of infected people from caged China into the world,” Yu said in an interview. email.

Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the US move may be more about increasing pressure on China to share more information than preventing a new variant from entering the country.

Previously, China was accused of hiding the situation with the virus in the country. The AP investigation found that the government delayed releasing genetic information about the virus for more than a week after deciphering it, frustrating WHO officials.

The government also tightly controlled the spread of Chinese research on the virus, preventing collaboration with international scientists.

Research into the origin of the virus has also stalled. A WHO panel of experts said in this year’s report that “key data” about how the pandemic began was missing and called for a deeper investigation.

Wu reported from Taipei, Taiwan. Contributions were made by Associated Press reporters Geir Moulson in Berlin, Carla K. Johnson in Seattle and Kanice Leung in Hong Kong, and video producer Liu Zheng in Beijing.

Content Source

News Press Ohio – Latest News:
Columbus Local News || Cleveland Local News || Ohio State News || National News || Money and Economy News || Entertainment News || Tech News || Environment News

Related Articles

Back to top button