China stops publishing daily Covid figures: Key points


NEW DELHI: China’s National Health Commission (NHC) stopped publishing daily Covid-19 data on Sunday, amid doubts about their reliability as infections have exploded in the wake of an abrupt easing of tough restrictions.
The NHC’s halt to reporting daily infection and death totals comes as concerns grow around the lack of vital information since Beijing made sweeping changes to a zero-Covid policy that had put hundreds of millions of its citizens under relentless lockdowns and battered the world’s second-largest economy.
Despite the record surge of infections, the NHC had reported no Covid deaths nationwide for four consecutive days before halting the data release. China narrowed its definition for reporting Covid deaths, counting only those from Covid-caused pneumonia or respiratory failure, raising eyebrows among world health experts.
Here are the key points:
Covid cases rising in many countries, be vigilant: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked people to be vigilant and take precautions against Covid-19, as he noted that the virus is spreading in many countries.
In his last ‘Mann ki Baat’ broadcast of the year, PM Modi said many people are on a vacation or will go on one during Christmas and New Year and urged them to follow protocols like wearing masks and washing hands to ensure that their enjoyment is not affected adversely by the virus.
The central government has stepped up measures against the virus, with the cases on a rise, especially in China where the lifting of zero-Covid policy has caused a spread of the pandemic.
Mock drills to be conducted at all health facilities in India
The government has decided to hold mock drills at all health facilities across India on December 27 in the wake of the Covid alarm due to a surge in infection in many countries. This will be done to ensure readiness in the availability of oxygen support and ICU beds among other preparedness measures in case of a surge of Covid cases in India.
According to the Union health ministry, the objective of the exercise is to ensure the operational readiness of the health facilities for the management of Covid.
Meanwhile, China has stopped publishing daily Covid-19 data amid doubts about their reliability as infections have exploded in the wake of an abrupt easing of tough restrictions.
‘Expect close to 1 million Covid deaths in China’
Doctors are expecting approximately 100 million Covid and one million deaths in China amid the recent rise in infection.
“Based on mathematical calculations, we expect close to 100 million Covid cases in China, five million admissions and one million deaths, which is a huge number,” said Dr Neeraj Kumar Gupta, HOD of Pulmonary Medicine at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Saturday.
Gupta said that China is at the same stage where India was earlier but India is now well-experienced in fighting the virus. “We faced the first wave, second wave of a much serious Delta variant and the third wave of the Omicron variant which was not that serious but very infectious,” Gupta said.
He said that Chinese citizens have low immunity due to the country’s strict lockdown strategies.
‘India develops herd immunity; BF.7 variant may not be serious’
The severity of BF.7 variant of coronavirus in India may not be as serious as it is currently prevailing in China as Indian have already developed “herd immunity” a top official of CSIR- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) said.
CMB director Vinay K Nandicoori, stressing the need to follow Covid appropriate behaviour, said there is always a concern that all these variants have the ability to escape the immunity and can infect people who are vaccinated and even sometimes infected with the previous variants of Omicron.
“The severity of the infection is not as much as they used to be with Delta. That’s because of the fact that we do have herd immunity to an extent. Actually we have herd immunity because we are exposed to the other viruses,” he said.
Mandatory RT-PCR tests for int’l flyers from 5 nations
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday announced that RT-PCR test has been made mandatory for passengers coming from five countries including China.
“The RT-PCR test to be mandatory for international arrivals from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand. On arrival, if any passenger from these countries is found symptomatic or tests positive for Covid-19 infection, then he/she will be put under quarantine,” health minister Mandaviya said in a conversation with ANI.
He also said that the Air Suvidha form filling to declare the current health status will also be made compulsory for international passengers arriving from these Asian countries.
– With inputs from agencies

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