GENEVA: The World Health Organization said it is working with China to manage the risks of COVID-19 surging again as people travel for Chinese New Year celebrations but the country’s response continues to be challenged by a lack of data.
COVID-19 is spreading unchecked in China after the country lifted its zero-COVID policy in December, but the WHO said it still does not have enough information from China to make a full assessment of the dangers of the surge.
That is also an issue in working with China on how to mitigate the risks of travel ahead of the Chinese New Year public holiday, which officially runs from Jan 21, the WHO said. The holiday was known pre-pandemic as the world’s largest annual migration of people.
“We’ve been working with our China colleagues,” said Abdi Rahman Mahamud, director of the WHO’s alert & response coordination department, who said the country has a number of strategies around people travelling from high-risk to low-risk areas as well as around testing and clinics.
“But to understand better we require that data,” he added.
The WHO also said China is still heavily underreporting deaths from COVID-19, although it is now providing more information on its outbreak.