China Vows Victory Over COVID But Won't Admit Higher Death Toll
Global health officials tried to determine the facts of China's raging COVID-19 outbreak and how to prevent a further spread as the Communist Party's mouthpiece newspaper has rallied citizens for a "final victory" over the virus, Alessandro Diviggiano, and Bernard Orr reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: About 9,000 people in China are probably dying each day from COVID.
China's axing of its stringent virus curbs last month has unleashed COVID on a 1.4 billion population that has little natural immunity having been shielded from the virus since it emerged in the central city of Wuhan three years ago.
Many funeral homes and hospitals say they are overwhelmed, and international health experts predict at least one million deaths in China this year, but China has reported five or fewer deaths a day since the policy U-turn, earning ridicule from the Chinese who claimed that in his family alone, four died due to COVID.
China reported five new COVID deaths for Tuesday, bringing the official death toll to 5,258, very low by global standards. China has rejected foreign skepticism of its statistics as politically motivated attempts to smear its achievements against the virus.
"China and the Chinese people will surely win the final victory against the epidemic," the People's Daily, the Communist Party's official newspaper, said in an editorial.
Beijing is hitting back against some countries demanding that visitors from China show pre-departure COVID tests. Japan became the latest country to require a pre-boarding negative test, joining the US, Australia, and others.
European Union (EU) health officials are due to meet on Wednesday to discuss a coordinated response to China travel.
British-based health data firm Airfinity has said about 9,000 people in China are probably dying each day from COVID.
With COVID disruptions slowing China's $17 trillion economy to its lowest growth in nearly half a century, investors are now hoping for policy stimulus. International flight bookings have risen 145% year-on-year in recent days, state-run China Daily reported, citing data from travel platform Trip.com.
Before the pandemic, global spending by Chinese tourists exceeded $250 billion a year but the number of flights to and from China is still a fraction of pre-COVID levels.