China’s top health authority has announced that it has stopped publishing daily Covid-19 case numbers, as reports claimed that the true toll of the country’s ongoing outbreak is much worse than the official figures published by authorities.
The National Health Commission (NHC) said Sunday that “relevant outbreak information” would instead be published by China’s CDC, a sub-department managed by the NHC. The decision to delegate its case counts to a lower authority comes as China experiences an unprecedented coronavirus wave following a drastic easing of restrictions.
The statement did not say how often China’s CDC would publish its Covid reports. Traditionally, China’s CDC only publishes monthly digests for all infectious diseases regulated under Chinese law, ranging from seasonal flu to Hepatitis B and plague.
Zhao Wei, a professor in the School of Public Health, at Southern Medical University, told the People’s Daily that the move indicates that it is already unnecessary to release epidemic information every day and the move will also help to shift more resources to related authorities to other key steps like clinical treatment.
Releasing epidemic information is used to serve as a reference for the public so that they can avoid going to places that are encountering outbreaks. But as the epidemic has spread, releasing information every day becomes unnecessary, Zhao explained.
“Relevant COVID information will be published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for reference and research,” the NHC said in a statement, without specifying the reasons for the change or how frequently China CDC will update COVID information.