China says it will reopen its border with Hong Kong this weekend, after three years of pandemic restrictions that left the city largely cut off from the Chinese mainland. The reopening comes after the World Health Organization accused China of downplaying the severity of a massive COVID-19 surge that’s going largely unreported in China’s official statistics. This is the WHO’s emergencies director, Mike Ryan.
Dr. Michael Ryan: “We believe that the current numbers being published from China underrepresent the true impact of the disease in terms of hospital admissions, in terms of ICU admissions, and particularly in terms of deaths.”
China has been reporting daily COVID deaths in the single digits — even as experts say it’s in the midst of a surge that could kill hundreds of thousands of people. Meanwhile, the European Union has urged member nations to require travelers from China to show proof of a recent negative coronavirus test, and suggested governments should expand genomic surveillance at airports for new coronavirus variants. Chinese officials rejected the restrictions as “discriminatory” and politically motivated; they also denied underrepresenting the severity of China’s COVID outbreak.