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WHO's Message to China, IMA Urges People to Follow COVID Protocols: What We Know

Surging COVID-19 cases in China has put health authorities across the world on edge. Here's what the WHO is saying.

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Surging COVID cases in Beijing have set off alarm bells in other parts of the world as well. Experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) have now taken cognisance of the matter, and have asked China to share 'thorough and reliable' data.

Health authorities in other countries, including India have called to ramp up tracking and tracing of the virus, after a lull for a few months.

What's happening in China?

In a nutshell, it's difficult to say. Without official statements from the country, partial numbers and unverified sources, according to experts, paint a vague picture.

On Wednesday, for instance, the official death toll released by China was 5,241 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, with no new deaths recorded on Tuesday, reported Al Jazeera.

The data, however, came with little explanation and was heavily criticised on social media. Many have pointed out that these figures seem implausible and that the real numbers are likely far higher.

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What WHO is saying: In a media briefing on 21 December, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, "WHO is very concerned over the evolving situation in China."

He went on to echo the request of other experts at the WHO, who have been calling on China to share accurate data of the situation there.

"In order to make a comprehensive risk assessment of the situation on the ground, WHO needs more detailed information on disease severity, hospital admissions and requirements for ICU support."
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
"Since the peak at the end of January, the number of weekly reported COVID-19 deaths has dropped almost 90 percent."
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General

Yes, but, the WHO Director-General also said that the COVID pandemic has overall declined considerably.

Moreover, it's encouraging that most cases being reported are mild or asymptomatic, with fewer patients needing hospitalisation. This means the vaccines are still working in protecting against severe illness.

In India, Union Health Ministry Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday, 21 December, said that although COVID is not over yet, 'we are prepared to manage any situation.'

There won't be a lockdown in India "since 95 percent of the people here are vaccinated...India needs to go back to COVID basics - testing, treating, tracing," said Dr Anil Goyal of the Indian Medical Association.

Health Authorities have also been asked to ramp up COVID testing and genome sequencing.

Be smart: Experts reiterate that there is no cause for panic yet, however, it's wise to keep your guards up.

  • Continue COVID appropriate practices of masking, social distancing, and handwashing.

  • Get vaccinated, and boosted if you haven't already.

  • Avoid engaging with and spreading misinformation.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  COVID-19   What We Know 

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