China gives up reporting Covid figures as virus rips through population
The announcement came as China said on Monday that beginning January 8, it will put an end to a mandatory quarantine on arrival for overseas travelers that had been in place since March 2020
China's National Health Commission has announced that it will no longer be publishing daily Covid-19 infection figures, as the virus rips through the population with the abandonment of rolling lockdowns, mass tracking of citizens and compulsory testing, according to a media report.
"As of today, we will no longer release daily statistics on the pandemic, with any data released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for the purposes of reference and research," the health ministry said on its official website, RFA reported.
The announcement came as China said on Monday that beginning January 8, it will put an end to a mandatory quarantine on arrival for overseas travelers that had been in place since March 2020.
It also followed a leaked ministerial document dated December 20 -- which analysts said was likely the result of computer modeling in the absence of widespread testing -- said around 250 million people may now be affected with Covid-19 following the lifting of control measures, RFA reported.
Officials had already warned that the development of the current outbreak had become "impossible to track" in the absence of mass testing.
High-profile pro-government commentator Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, said the figures released in recent days had been "seriously distorted", and believed by no one, RFA reported.
The announcement came amid anecdotal evidence of skyrocketing death rates and overwhelming pressure on hospitals. A hospital in Taizhou city recently announced that it had passed two million emergency room visits in recent days, while a video clip uploaded on social media by a Shanghai resident on Sunday showed hundreds of people lining up to get served at the city's Baoxing funeral parlor, with the line stretching out of the gate and onto the street.
An official in China's political and legal committee system, the ruling Chinese Communist Party's law enforcement hierarchy, said the massive pressure on crematoriums in the city had prompted municipal civil affairs bureau officials to take control of the sector, RFA reported.
Nobody is now allowed to transport the remains of their dead relatives to funeral homes, but must wait for them to be picked up by funeral home staff.
The official said the current wave of infections is driven by government pressure to reboot the economy after months of damage under Xi Jinping's zero-Covid policy, and suggests the government is pursuing "herd immunity".
"They are expressly telling people who have tested positive to go to work, to spread the infection as fast as possible," the official said.
"It's like this all over the country now," he said, RFA reported.