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WHO seeks information from China on increased reports of respiratory illness

Chinese health authorities say the increase follows relaxed COVID restrictions

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The World Health Organization's Geneva headquarters. (Wikimedia commons photo)

The World Health Organization's Geneva headquarters. (Wikimedia commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The World Health Organization (WHO) has requested China provide more information regarding increased cases of respiratory illnesses and reported clusters of pneumonia in children.

The WHO released a statement on Thursday (Nov. 23) chronicling increased reports of undiagnosed pneumonia among children in northern China. The statement said that Chinese health authorities first announced the increase in cases of respiratory diseases on Nov. 13, while initial reports surfaced in mid October.

“On 22 November, WHO requested additional epidemiologic and clinical information, as well as laboratory results from these reported clusters among children, through the International Health Regulations mechanism,” the statement reads.

Chinese health authorities attributed the increase in cases to relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and circulating common bacterial infections. China’s WHO office said the request for more information was routine, per Reuters.

The WHO recommends people in China exercise vigilance and take measures that prevent the spread of respiratory illness including hand washing, staying home when sick, staying away from sick people, and wearing masks as needed.

Taiwan's Center for Disease Control was contacted for comment but is yet to release a statement on the WHO request.