China reported a large jump in COVID-19 hospitalisations in the week through to January 15 to the highest since the pandemic began, according to a weekly report published by the World Health Organization on Thursday.
However, the WHO said it awaited "detailed provincial data disaggregated by week of reporting" on nearly 60,000 additional COVID-related hospital deaths reported by China last week and did not include them in the tally.
The number of people hospitalised with the disease in China rose by 70 per cent to 63,307 versus the previous week, according to the WHO report based on data submitted by Beijing. This is the highest weekly figure China has reported since COVID-19 first emerged more than three years ago.
In early December, Beijing abruptly dismantled its strict three-year anti-virus regime of frequent testing, travel curbs and mass lockdowns after widespread protests in late November, and cases have surged since then across the nation of 1.4 billion.
The WHO and others have said China has been under-reporting the scale of the outbreak and has repeatedly called for more detailed data, including on deaths, excess mortality and genetic sequences.