The World Health Organization has again called on China to share detailed information on the pandemic as the country witnesses a massive surge in cases. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that although the number of cases and deaths had significantly declined, the pandemic was far from over.
“Certainly, we are in a much better place than we were a year ago… Since the end of the peak in January, the number of reported Covid deaths has dropped to nearly 90%. However, there are still uncertainties and gaps for us to say that the pandemic is over,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“We continue to call on China to share their data and conduct the studies we have requested and which we continue to request. All hypothesis about the origin of this pandemic remain on the table,” he said.
China is grappling with a surge in Covid-19 cases, resulting in serpentine queues outside pharmacies to buy medicines to alleviate flu-like symptoms.
Even after three years since SARS-CoV-2 first emerged in China’s Wuhan, the issue of how the respiratory pathogen is capable of sustained human-to-human transmission remains a subject of debate.
Experts have shared two dominant theories on the origins of the virus. One of the theories say SARS-CoV-2 is the result of a natural zoonotic spillover. The other theory says the virus infected humans as a consequence of a research-related incident.
Ghebreyesus further said that the WHO is “very concerned” over the rising Covid cases in China. “WHO is very concerned over the evolving situation in China with increasing reports of severe disease,” he said. He pointed out that for a comprehensive risk assessment of the situation, WHO would need detailed information on the Covid severity, hospital admissions, etc.
He also said that the WHO is supporting China in its vaccination efforts and clinical care.
The WHO chief said that he was “hopeful” that the COVID-19 pandemic would no longer be considered a global health emergency next year.