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China to begin reporting asymptomatic Covid-19 cases

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Chinese health authorities will begin reporting on asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus as part of the next phase of curtailing the pandemic.

The National Health Commission said on Wednesday it was due to start revealing aggregate, national data on such infections imminently amid mounting public fears about hidden cases of Covid-19.

Until now, asymptomatic cases have not been counted as confirmed cases under Chinese government guidelines.

Asymptomatic cases and their close contacts will be isolated for 14 days immediately upon discovery.

China, where the coronavirus emerged late last year, has managed to largely bring its Covid-19 outbreak under control and is gradually easing travel restrictions in virus hot spots.

But there are concerns that the end of lockdowns could see thousands of infectious people transition back into daily life without knowing they carry the virus, because they have no symptoms and so have not been tested.

Up to now, the number of known asymptomatic cases has been classified, and it is not included in the official data.

However, the South China Morning Post newspaper, citing unpublished official documents, recently said it was more than 40,000.

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There is debate among experts about how infectious asymptomatic cases.

According to the commission, 1,541 people with asymptomatic coronavirus infections were under observation as of the end of Monday.

By Monday, the latest day for which data is available, China had recorded more than 81,000 cases of the coronavirus. The death toll stood at 3,305 people.

Meanwhile, the number of reported Covid-19 infections globally has spiralled to more than 860,000, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

The pandemic, which has affected every continent besides Antarctica​, has killed at least 42,354 people.

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