• The national health commission said it would start to include asymptomatic cases in its Covid-19 statistics in move to address public concern
  • Classified government data has suggested that silent carriers could make up around a third of cases

Source South China Morning Post

China will include asymptomatic coronavirus carriers in its daily figures from Wednesday, its National Health Commission said on Tuesday.

Officials said the new measures would help to address growing public concerns about the risks of infection with Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, brought about by these silent carriers.

The commission added that it already requires local health workers to report these cases through the central communicable disease report system.

The National Health Commission said that as of Monday, there were 1,541 asymptomatic carriers under medical observation on mainland China, including 205 imported cases.

The announcement follows Monday’s meeting of the central government’s Covid-19 leading group chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, which instructed officials to be more proactive in investigating the extent of these silent carriers.Classified Chinese government data previously seen by theSouth China Morning Post has suggested the proportion of silent carriers could be as high as one-third of those who test positive.

The data suggested more than 43,000 people on mainland China had tested positive for Covid-19 by the end of February but had no immediate symptoms. They were not included in the official tally of confirmed cases.

Separate research by Chinese doctors found that roughly 60 per cent of people who contracted the disease in the central city of Wuhan were asymptomatic or very mild cases that were not reported to the authorities.

The doctors, whose paper was published on the medRxiv preprint platform early this month, based their estimates on about 26,000 laboratory-confirmed cases recorded in the city, the first epicentre of the outbreak, between December and February.

The researchers used lab tests as the basis of their assessment rather than Chinese government data because the authorities used symptomatic manifestations and abnormal lung scans to classify patients.

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