The World Health Organization is urging China to keep releasing COVID-19 data after Beijing on Saturday reported nearly 60,000 coronavirus-related deaths since Dec. 8. 

Beijing’s announcement was the first official death toll since the ruling Communist Party abruptly dropped antivirus restrictions in December despite a surge in infections that flooded hospitals. That left the WHO and other governments appealing for information, while the United States, South Korea and other countries imposed controls on Chinese visitors

A woman and children wearing face masks walk by masked travelers wait at a departure hall to catch their trains at the West Railway Station in Beijing, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023.
(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Previously the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention had only reported 36 deaths from Dec. 7 and Jan. 8, according to the Washington Post

In the revised death toll, Beijing said 5,503 people died of respiratory failure caused by COVID-19 and there were 54,435 fatalities from cancer, heart disease and other ailments combined with COVID-19 between Dec. 8 and Jan. 12.

OMICRON SUBVARIANT XBB.1.5 POSSIBLY MORE LIKELY TO INFECT THOSE WHO ARE VACCINATED,

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