As mass testing is no longer required, China declared on Wednesday that it would stop reporting asymptomatic COVID-19 cases because they are now “difficult” to track.
This is another step in the country’s unclear exit from some of the harshest antivirus laws in the world.
There are worries that China’s health system would be overburdened, as other nations’ systems were during the early COVID waves, after last week’s announcement of the country’s most substantial loosening of antivirus measures.
However, there hasn’t been much evidence of increased patient numbers, and many recently ill people are staying at home.
However, obtaining a precise picture of the virus’s spread is challenging, and the new reporting requirements might make it even more difficult.
According to reports, several hospitals have had trouble keeping their staffing levels up due to increased employee infections.
Since it was “impossible to accurately grasp the actual number of asymptomatic infected persons,” who have typically accounted for a large majority of new infections, the National Health Commission stopped publishing daily figures on COVID-19 cases where no symptoms are detected, according to a notice on the website on Wednesday.
The figures the commission is disclosing are only confirmed instances found at open testing sites where symptoms are present.
Many people also conduct home tests, where promising findings would likewise go unnoticed.
The government-provided statistics from China have not been independently validated, and it has been questioned whether the Communist Party in power has attempted to reduce the number of cases and fatalities.
Although many governments have traditionally concentrated mainly on the most severe instances, China’s most recent action represents a paradigm shift for the country, which has long maintained a “zero COVID” policy that aims to stop all viral transmission.
This included regular mass testing campaigns and the isolation of everyone who tested positive in a government institution, regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms. If no medical attention is required, patients can heal at home.
Although many people expressed satisfaction with the relaxed limits, the quick change has also raised some questions, mainly since the Chinese government has long described the virus as a serious threat.
Beijing is currently very confused, according to a local named Zhu.
“Without even going through a transitional period, they did a complete 180.”
Zhu claimed he couldn’t find a test after getting a sore throat and a fever, declining to give his full name to talk on what would be considered a delicate subject in China.
Following a spike in demand for such supplies, the authorities have announced they will give Beijing pharmacies 25 million fast test kits.
Despite the lessening, the streets of several large Chinese cities have gotten eerily silent as many people choose to stay at home rather than go out at a time when social media is exploding with stories of diseases rather than do so out necessity.