- The US ambassador to Japan said ‘full cooperation’ is a ‘public health imperative’
- China has claimed its outbreak is due to seasonal respiratory illnesses
- READ MORE: China claims a new virus is NOT the culprit in pneumonia outbreak
A US ambassador has broken diplomatic ranks and called for China to stop the ‘deception’ and be transparent about a new disease outbreak.
Chinese hospitals in a number of cities have been ‘overwhelmed’ by a spike in pneumonia among children that began in May but was not reported to international authorities until now.
In an unusual move that renewed questions about transparency, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a public call to China to hand over health records earlier this week.
Chinese authorities said Thursday they have no evidence of ‘unusual or novel’ pathogens and that the influx of respiratory illnesses was due to common infections rebounding after the country’s brutal lockdowns.
Last night, Rahm Emanuel, America’s ambassador to Japan, said there were still ‘serious questions’ about the outbreak.
Rahm Emanuel, the US ambassador to Japan, said on X (formerly Twitter ) that ‘full cooperation with the international community is ‘not an option’ but a ‘public health imperative,’ asking, ‘Will Beijing step up?
Chinese officials have insisted no new pathogen is to blame and instead have blamed a surge in common winter bugs as the country faces its first full winter without anti-Covid measures
In a tweet on X (formerly Twitter) he said: ‘China’s recent pneumonia outbreak raises serious questions, and the World Health Organization is asking them.
‘It’s time to abandon Covid deception and delays as transparent and timely information saves lives. Full cooperation with the international community is not an option, it’s a public health imperative. Will Beijing step up?’
Doctors and health agencies in China believe Covid, RSV, flu and mycoplasma pneumoniae, a common bacterial disease also known as ‘walking pneumonia,’ are responsible for the surge.
They claim these illnesses are causing harsher illness because children’s immunity was weakened during the country’s strict lockdowns – which is not dissimilar to what happened in the US and UK last year.
But there are still doubts about China’s transparency and many point to the eerie similarities between this outbreak and the initial weeks of the Covid crisis.
China covered up the original SARS epidemic in 2003 and its delay in reporting Covid in late 2019 left countries flat-footed in their responses.
Local media reported earlier in the week that hospitals in Beijing and 500 miles northeast in Liaoning were ‘overwhelmed with sick children’ with unusual symptoms that include inflammation in the lungs and a high fever but no cough.
The situation prompted an alert from ProMed — a disease surveillance system that also sounded the alarm of a mystery infection in Wuhan in the closing days of 2019, which would later emerge as the global Covid pandemic.
After issuing an unusual ‘official request’ for more information, WHO said on Thursday it had spoke with officials from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Beijing Children’s Hospital.
The data handed over suggested there had been an increase in cases of Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia since May, and RSV, adenovirus and flu since October.
The WHO said in a statement: ‘Chinese authorities advised that there has been no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens or unusual clinical presentations.’
Hospitals in Beijing and almost 500 miles northeast in Liaoning are among those ‘overwhelmed with sick children,’ according to local news reports
It added: ‘Some of these increases are earlier in the season than historically experienced, but not unexpected given the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, as similarly experienced in other countries,’ the WHO said in a statement.
‘No changes in the disease presentation were reported by the Chinese health authorities.’
The statement noted: ‘They further stated that the rise in respiratory illness has not resulted in patient loads exceeding hospital capacities.’