China stops announcing newly confirmed COVID cases

Ichiro Ohara / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Possibly infected patients visit a fever clinic at a hospital in Beijing on Sunday.

BEIJING — The Chinese government announced Sunday that it will stop announcing new COVID-19 cases, which it had been doing every day thus far.

It did not give a reason, but said the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a subordinate organization of the government, will from now on provide relevant data, including on the number of infected cases, for research and other purposes.

On Dec. 14, the government stopped announcing the number of asymptomatic cases, explaining that it had become difficult to ascertain the number of those infected cases with no symptoms following the suspension of large-scale PCR testing. The government appears to have given up the idea of continuing to announce even the number of new cases of COVID-19 due to the massive surges in the infected cases.

The World Health Organization asks member states to report data on the number of infected people and deaths related to COVID-19 every week. The fact that it will become even more difficult to ascertain the actual state of infections of the novel coronavirus in China might cause international concerns to grow.

In Beijing, many residents visited makeshift fever clinics set up in gymnasiums in the capital on Sunday. On the same day, the provincial government of Zhejiang announced at a press conference that the number of newly infected people exceeded 1 million a day. The province indicated its view that the infections could peak at 2 million new cases daily for a week spanning the end of the calendar year and start of the next.

Ichiro Ohara / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Residents visit a temporary fever clinic in a gymnasium in Beijing on Sunday.

According to Chinese media and other sources, a senior health official in the city of Qingdao, Shandong Province, also indicated Friday that the number of newly infected cases had been hovering between 490,000 and 530,000 a day. In the city of Dongguan, Guangdong Province, the health department also said Friday that the number of infected people had been increasing, around 250,000 to 300,000 per day, stressing that “many medical institutions and health care workers have been under enormous pressure.”

The number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide announced by the Chinese government on Saturday was approximately 4,100.