WHO asks China to continue releasing COVID data after country reports nearly 60,000 deaths

China said that nearly 60,000 people had died with COVID since early December.
Chinese soldier checks man's temperature

The World Health Organization asked China to continue to release COVID-19 data after the country reported that nearly 60,000 people have died with the virus since early December. 

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke with China's National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei on Saturday about the virus in China, the United Nations health organization said.

"WHO appreciates this meeting, as well as the public release of information on the overall situation," the agency said.

China on Saturday said nearly 60,000 people had died with COVID-19 since Dec. 8, The Associated Press reported. Those numbers do not include people who died at home. Additionally, China's definition of COVID deaths is far more narrow than many other areas of the world. Just 5,503 of the deaths were listed as being from COVID respiratory failure while the remaining deaths were due to COVID combined with other ailments.

"WHO requested that this type of detailed information continue to be shared with us and the public. WHO notes the efforts by Chinese authorities to scale up clinical care for its population at all levels, including in critical care," the health agency said.

Before Saturday, China had said that its official COVID death toll rose by single digits since ending its "zero-COVID" policies on Dec. 7.