The World Health Organization on Friday urged China to regularly share specific and real-time information regarding the Covid-19 situation in the country, genetic sequencing data and information on hospitalisations and deaths.

“WHO reiterated the importance of vaccination and boosters to protect against severe disease and death for people at higher risk,” the health body said in a statement.

The health body has also called on China to strengthen viral sequencing, clinical management and impact assessment, and expressed willingness to provide support in these areas.

Scientists from China have been invited to give detailed data on viral sequencing at a meeting of the health body’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution on January 3.

Coronavirus cases have increased sharply in China after it revoked key parts of its “Zero Covid” containment strategy in response to protests. In some parts of the country, hospitals have become overcrowded and pharmacies have been facing shortages of medicine

The United States, South Korea, India, Italy, Japan and Taiwan have all imposed COVID tests for travellers from China in response.

According to an internal estimate from China’s top health officials, 25 crore persons or 18% of the population in the country may have caught Covid-19 infection in the first 20 days of December.

China had also narrowed its definition of Covid deaths earlier this week, drastically cutting its toll. Health officials are now only counting deaths from Covid-caused pneumonia or respiratory failure.