After winning praises for openness in the handling of their H7N9 outbreak, China appears to have taken a step backwards yesterday, when they quietly announced the following policy change (buried in the last sentence of a routine Xinhua report):
As of Wednesday, information on the H7N9 cases in China will be publicized on a weekly basis, said the commission.
Since we did see reports of four new cases today, posted by various provinces, exactly what this policy change means in practical terms is unclear.
It may only refer to the updating of case totals - which have not budged since yesterday - despite the announcement of four cases today in Zhejiang, Henan, and Jiangxi provinces.
I suppose we’ll know for sure over the next few days, or when we get the next weekly update.
Mainland 24 did not report new cases of H7N9 epidemic information thereafter changed from day to week released
2013-04-25 05:03 Source: the Shanxi Daily
According to Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, April 24 - National Health and Family Planning Bulletin, 24, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. on the the 23rd at 16:00 on the 24th, China had not reported new human infection with the H7N9 avian flu cases.
Informed Up to now, China had reported a total of 108 confirmed cases, of which 23 people died, rehabilitation 14. Accordance with the relevant provisions of public health emergencies of information, starting from April 24, human infection with the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak information released by day week released instead.
According to Xinhua News Agency, the Ministry of Agriculture Information Office news release, the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory report in Henan collected 553 samples in the detected environmental samples were positive for the H7N9 avian influenza. The same day, animal disease prevention and control center in Zhejiang Province censorship suspected positive samples for review by the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory were positive for H7N9 avian influenza.
I’ll reserve judgment on this until I see how it plays out.
It may be that daily case reports continue to flow from provincial health departments (as they did today), in which case we can keep our own running tallies.
But if case information dries up completely, or is seen as being `sanitized’ for public consumption, their newfound reputation for openness will take a major hit.