The World Health Organization has once again called on China to share real-time data on the country’s massive surge in coronavirus cases, amid dire predictions that China could face over 1 million COVID deaths this year. The WHO is seeking information on hospitalizations, infections and deaths, and wants genetic sequencing data that could help identify the emergence of dangerous new coronavirus variants. In a New Year’s address, Chinese President Xi Jinping defended his government’s handling of the pandemic while acknowledging that the former “zero-COVID” policy had taken a toll on China.
President Xi Jinping: “After arduous efforts, we have overcome unprecedented difficulties and challenges, which were not easy for everyone. At present, the epidemic prevention and control is entering a new phase. It is still a time of struggle. Everyone is persevering and working hard, and the dawn lies ahead.”