The World Health Organisation (WHO) says data remains essential for the organisation to carry out regular, rapid and robust risk assessments of the current situation of COVID-19, telling China to share the data on COVID-19 and conduct studies on how to prevent future pandemics.
WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus said this during an online media briefing on COVID-19.
“With circulation in China so high and comprehensive data not forthcoming, it is understandable that some countries are taking steps they believe will protect their own citizens. This data is useful to WHO and the world and we encourage all countries to share it,” said Mr Ghebreyesus. “We continue to ask China for more rapid, regular, reliable data on hospitalisations and deaths, as well as more comprehensive, real-time viral sequencing.”
The WHO boss said the organisation was concerned about the risk to life in China and has reiterated the importance of vaccination, including booster doses, to protect against hospitalisation, severe disease, and death.
According to him, this is especially important for older people, those with underlying medical conditions, and others at higher risk of severe outcomes.
Mr Ghebreyesus said that the dawn of a New Year in many countries offered a collective moment for both reflection and ambition for the year ahead.
“Now into the fourth year of the pandemic, the world is in a much better place than it was several years ago, due to clinical care management, vaccines and treatments. For most of last year, COVID-19 was on the decline,” he explained.
He added, “Vaccination increased across the world, and there was sustained progress in many low- and middle-income countries that had been left far behind in 2021. Such is due to vaccine nationalism and manufacturing capacity being restricted to just a handful of countries.”