WASHINGTON: Shortly after the WHO said that China was under-reporting virus deaths, US President Joe Biden raised concerns about China’s strategy for handling its COVID-19 outbreak.
“They’re very sensitive … when we suggest they haven’t been that forthcoming,” he told reporters while on a visit to Kentucky.
The comments from the WHO on the lack of data were some of the most critical to date and could earn a critical response from Beijing when it holds a regular foreign ministry press briefing later on Thursday.
The US like several other nations has imposed restrictions on travelers from China since it scrapped stringent COVID controls last month that had shielded its 1.4 billion population from the virus for three years.
According to Mike Ryan, emergencies director at the World Health Organisation (WHO), the current numbers being published from China misguide the actual hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths.
Chinese health officials have said only deaths caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure in patients who had the virus are classified as COVID deaths. Health experts predict at least 1 million COVID-related deaths in China this year without urgent action.
The methods for counting COVID deaths have varied across countries since the pandemic first erupted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.