China changes how it defines 'Covid death' to death from pneumonia

China changes how it defines a ‘Covid death’ to only patients who passed away from pneumonia or respiratory failure as cases soar

  • This resulted in no fatalities reported yesterday, despite virus surging in China
  • Those with pre-existing conditions will no longer be counted as Covid deaths
  • Move could be an attempt to protect regime from criticism after cases surged

China will count only those who die from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its Covid-19 death toll, a health official has said.

It resulted in no fatalities being reported yesterday – despite the virus surging after the government abandoned its hated ‘zero-Covid’ policy.

Patients who die with pre-existing conditions will no longer be counted as Covid deaths, Wang Guiqiang, head of infectious diseases at Peking University First Hospital, said on Tuesday. 

China has always been conservative in how it counts illnesses, whether from the flu or Covid-19.

China will count only those who die from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its Covid-19 death toll, a health official has said (pictured: travellers entering the Shanghai Railway Station, in Shanghai, China, on December 21)

It resulted in no fatalities being reported yesterday – despite the virus surging after the government abandoned its hated ‘zero-Covid’ policy

But the change in how deaths are tallied will mean that numbers will appear far lower than during previous surges.

The move could be an attempt to protect the regime from criticism. 

The virus is rife across the country after restrictions were belated relaxed following protests and riots.

Yesterday China reported no new Covid deaths among its 1.4billion population and even subtracted one from the overall toll, lowering it to 5,241 since the pandemic began, according to the National Health Commission. 

In most countries guidelines stipulate any death where the virus is a factor or contributor is counted as a Covid-related death.

Yesterday China reported no new Covid deaths among its 1.4billion population and even subtracted one from the overall toll, lowering it to 5,241 since the pandemic began, according to the National Health Commission

The overall number of cases in China is unclear, as the country has stopped requiring daily PCR tests and many people are testing at home

Despite the claims of low death figures, crematorium workers have said they are struggling to keep up with fatalities

The overall number of cases in China is unclear, as the country has stopped requiring daily PCR tests and many people are testing at home. 

Despite the claims of low death figures, crematorium workers have said they are struggling to keep up with fatalities.

Beijing last week admitted the outbreak has become ‘impossible’ to track following the end of mandatory mass testing.

But authorities are determined to push ahead with re-opening, as many cities and regions call for infected people with no symptoms to go into work as normal this week.

Yesterday one crematorium in the northwestern city of Xi’an said they were ‘particularly busy’.

And in the central city of Changsha, two companies specialising in burial clothing said they had seen an uptick in customers. 

Beijing has insisted that the virus is under control.

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