China says no new COVID-19 deaths after changing criteria

“At present after being infected with the Omicron variant, the main cause of death remains underlying diseases,” Wang Guiqiang of Peking University First Hospital told a press conference of the National Health Commission (NHC).

“Old people have other underlying conditions, only a very small number die directly of respiratory failure caused by infection with COVID,” he added.

“We are not avoiding the dangers of COVID. At the same time we need to assess COVID’s dangers in a scientific manner.”

From the country’s northeast to its southwest, crematorium workers have told AFP they are struggling to keep up with a surge in deaths.

Beijing last week admitted the scale of the outbreak has become “impossible” to track following the end of mandatory mass testing.