The World Health Organization on Saturday welcomed the release of data on Covid-19 infections by Chinese authorities, but urged the country to provide more information.

The global health body’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the request in a conversation with Ma Xiaowei, who is the director of China’s National Health Commission.

Ghebreyesus also reiterated the importance of China’s deeper cooperation and transparency.

The request comes a day after China’s National Health Commission announced that 60,000 Covid-related deaths took place in the country since early December. The figure included 5,503 deaths caused by respiratory failure and 54,435 fatalities from other ailments combined with the coronavirus.

The announcement was made following allegations that the country is underrepresenting the severity of its coronavirus outbreak.

On December 25, China had stopped reporting data on coronavirus deaths and infections after abandoning its strict “zero-Covid” policy. The country also revised its methodology for categorising Covid fatalities, saying it would count only those who die of respiratory failure caused by the virus.

On Saturday, Ghebreyesus said that the World Health Organisation is analysing the information released by China, which covers data from early December to January 12.

He added that this would allow a better understanding of the epidemiological situation and the impact of this wave in China.

“The World Health Organisation requested that this type of detailed information continue to be shared with us and the public,” Ghebreyesus said. “The World Health Organisation notes the efforts by Chinese authorities to scale up clinical care for its population at all levels, including in critical care.”

The global health body said that the reported data indicates a decline in case numbers, hospitalisations, and the number of those requiring critical care. “WHO has requested a more detailed breakdown of data by province over time,” it said.

“While the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has earlier reported that Omicron sublineages BA.5.2 and BF.7 are currently circulating, WHO continues to ask that further sequences be shared with open access databases such as GISAID [Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data].”