CHINA’S REPORT THAT it experienced no Covid-19 deaths on Monday for the first day since it started publishing daily totals in January has been met with many a cocked eyebrow internationally.
General doubts about official statistical veracity rather than particular information inform the scepticism. It is known that there was an initial cover-up of the outbreak. And there were subsequent reports of hospital doctors being told to downplay new cases. Last month, photographs of Wuhan residents collecting funeral urns showed numbers of a magnitude not commensurate with the reported death toll. Nor is China any less likely than any other country not to be including the deaths outside hospital of those with other conditions whose end has been hastened by the virus as Covid-19 deaths.
True landmark or not, the absence of reported new deaths on Monday provides a further signal of a country cautiously coming out on the other side of its crisis. Wuhan, where the pandemic first emerged, is to let residents leave the city on Wednesday for the first time since it was locked down in January.
Nationally, 32 new cases were confirmed, all arrivals from overseas, sustaining fears of a potential second ‘imported’ wave of the outbreak.