Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Monitoring, t a press briefing on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the U.N. agency needs more information on COVID-19 severity in China, particularly regarding hospital and intensive care unit admissions, “in order to make a comprehensive risk assessment of the situation on the ground.”
“WHO is very concerned over the evolving situation in China with increasing reports of severe disease,” Tedros said. He added that while COVID deaths have dropped more than 90% since their global peak, there were still too many uncertainties about the virus to conclude that the pandemic is over, Associated Press reported.
Some scientists have warned that the unchecked spread of COVID-19 in China could spur the emergence of new variants, which might unravel progress made globally to contain the pandemic.
“Vaccination is the exit strategy from omicron,” WHO emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan said.
Ryan said the explosive surge of cases in China was not exclusively due to the lifting of many of the country’s restrictive policies and that it was impossible to stop transmission of omicron, the most highly infectious variant yet seen of COVID-19.
Like Tedros, he said WHO had insufficient information about the extent of severe disease and hospitalization, but he noted that nearly all countries overwhelmed by COVID-19 had struggled to share such real-time data.
Ryan also suggested China’s definition of COVID deaths was too narrow, saying the country was limiting it to people who have suffered respiratory failure.
Globally, nearly every country has grappled with how to count COVID deaths, and official numbers are believed to be a major underestimate. In May, WHO estimated there were nearly 15 million coronavirus deaths worldwide, more than double the official toll of 6 million.