China State Media Plays Down Severity of COVID-19 Wave

China has played down the severity of its current COVID-19 wave in state media, with scientists set to give a briefing on the virus to the World Health Organization later on January 4. Funeral parlours in the country have reported a spike in demand for their services and international health experts predict at least one million deaths in China this year. China has rejected criticism of its COVID data and stated that any new mutations of the virus may be more infectious but less harmful. Economic concerns are also mounting in the country as the COVID wave disrupts production and hurts demand, leading to a drop in Asian stocks. The European Union has offered China free COVID vaccines to help contain the outbreak

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