China has not declared a “global alert” for a covid outbreak

An article is circulating on social networks claiming that China has "declared a global alert" for "the worst Covid outbreak since 2019". This is a MISLEADING claim. Yes, China has had its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic, but the country had actually recorded hardly any cases since the Wuhan outbreak in late 2019. Nor are there any traces of a global alert because, in fact, these outbreaks have not been of concern at an international level. 

"China declares global alert for worst Covid outbreak since 2019"

Since the pandemic began, China has hardly reported any significant outbreaks beyond the one in Wuhan, the world’s first to be registered. This time, the outbreak was detected on 20 July 2021. As of 16 August, data show that cases have been declining for the sixth consecutive day, as announced by the head of China's National Health Commission (NHC), Ma Xiaowei. The virus has now reached 48 cities in mainland China, including the capital, Beijing, and Wuhan, according to the official newspaper The Global Times.

The total number of cases in this outbreak, however, has barely exceeded half a thousand. The Chinese authorities, who have blamed the delta variant for this rapid spread, blame the outbreak on staff at Nanjing airport, who tested positive during a routine check. 

Almost no outbreaks during the pandemic

China has been one of the countries that has most contained the spread of the virus within its borders. According to official data, obtained through the WHO website, a total of 122,433 cases have been confirmed since the start of the pandemic until 17 August 2021, of which 5,669 have resulted in death. 

That is, that in a country of 1.398 billion people, 0.008% of the population has been infected. The percentage of deaths barely corresponds to 0.0004% of the population. These numbers contrast with those of the United Kingdom, one of the countries with the highest number of cases and deaths in the world: in its case, the percentage of positives during the entire pandemic in relation to the total population is 9.6%, while 0.22% of the British population has died.

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