Data from China shows no new coronavirus variant has been found there, but it also under-represents how many people have died in the country, World Health Organization officials said on Wednesday.

Iran PressAmerica: The U.N. agency was releasing data provided by the Chinese Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a day after WHO officials met Chinese scientists. China has been reporting daily COVID deaths in single figures.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the U.N. agency was continuing to seek more rapid and regular data from China on hospitalisations and deaths.

"WHO is concerned about the risk to life in China and has reiterated the importance of vaccination, including booster doses to protect against hospitalisation, severe disease and death," he said.

China's People's Daily, the Communist Party's official newspaper, stressing what it calls a "final victory" over COVID-19, rebuts criticism of its policy of strict isolation that triggered rare protests last year.

Health officials abroad have been struggling to work out the scale of the outbreak and how to stop it spreading, with more countries introducing measures such as pre-departure COVID tests for arrivals from China, moves that Beijing has criticised.

European Union health officials meet on Wednesday to discuss a coordinated response to it.

China says it recognises domestic outbreaks are inevitable, and its policies are not geared towards having zero cases at all times but instead, are about "dynamically" taking action when cases surface.

China's cabinet said on Wednesday it would step up medicine distribution and meet demand from medical institutions, nursing homes and rural areas, state media reported.

Beijing has hit back against some countries demanding visitors from China show pre-departure COVID tests, saying the rules were unreasonable and lacked a scientific basis.

Japan, the United States, Australia and several European states are among countries requiring such tests.

China will stop requiring inbound travellers to quarantine from Jan. 8, but they must be tested before arrival.

China reported five new COVID deaths for Tuesday, bringing the official death toll to 5,258, very low by global standards.


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