BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese state media are rushing to play down the seriousness of the new coronavirus outbreak ahead of a meeting with the World Health Organization (WHO). The government criticized each country’s border measures against travelers from China.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it would invite two Chinese experts to a technical advisory meeting to seek a “more realistic picture” of the epidemic in China. But without going into further details, a WHO spokesman said details could be revealed at a news conference on Thursday.
Before the meeting, the World Health Organization had asked Chinese authorities to regularly share real-time and robust information on the coronavirus situation in the country.
Immigration restrictions will be relaxed from the 8th, and border measures for Chinese travelers have been announced one after the other.
China’s foreign ministry denounced the regulations as “unreasonable” and “lacking scientific basis”. “We intend to improve communication with the world,” said the spokesperson in a press conference, adding, “We are strongly opposed to attempts to manipulate epidemic prevention and control measures for political purposes. Under circumstances different, based on the principle of reciprocity. We will take action,” he said.
The People’s Daily reported on Monday, citing Chinese experts, that most cases of the epidemic are relatively mild.
According to the newspaper, the deputy director of Beijing’s Chaoyang Hospital said, “Among the infected patients currently in designated hospitals in Beijing, 3 to 4 percent are seriously ill.”
The director of Sichuan University hospital said 46 patients had been admitted to the intensive care unit in the past three weeks, accounting for only about 1% of those with symptoms.
But the emergency departments of Shanghai hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, Reuters reported on Monday.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Georgieva said China could be lagging regional and global growth, expecting further damage from the expected outbreak of coronavirus in the coming months.
“China is entering the most dangerous weeks of the pandemic,” said an economist at Capital Economics.
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