A local government task force in Wuhan responsible for preventing viruses added 1,290 dead to the city’s toll, bringing the confirmed number to 3,869 compared to 2,579 previously reported. Wuhan, a city of 11 million, has suffered more deaths than any other city in China as residents struggle to get help from its overworked medical system.
The review comes after weeks of skepticism, both inside and outside of China, on the officially released figures. Officials said Friday’s review was the result of incorrect or delayed reports and not because information had been deleted.
“Medical workers at some facilities could have been concerned with saving lives and there were delays in reporting, underreporting or misrepresentation, but there has never been any cover-up and we do not allow the cover-ups, “said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a media availability in Beijing.
While China appears to have weathered the worst of the virus, reporting only 26 new confirmed cases, its lowest daily total in two weeks, the country is grappling with the aftermath of nearly three months of national paralysis.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday that the Chinese economy shrank 6.8% in the first three months of 2020, the first such contraction since 1976 when the country was overturned by the revolution cultural.
The decline, smaller than analysts had predicted, foreshadows the global economic fallout from the pandemic. The virus has now infected more than 2 million people worldwide and killed more than 140,000 people. China has reported 82,367 infections and 4,632 deaths across the country.
As other countries fight the virus, Beijing has faced mounting criticism that it has suppressed early information about the epidemic, allowing the virus to spread. Chinese leader Xi Jinping responded on Thursday with a phone call to Vladimir Putin after Donald Trump criticized China for not sharing the data faster.
Without referring directly to the White House, Xi said politicizing the pandemic was “detrimental to international cooperation,” according to the official Xinhua news agency. The agency said the Russian president had said that “some people’s attempts to smear China” were “unacceptable”.
Washington said it was investigating the origins of the coronavirus, including the possibility that it escaped from a Wuhan lab near a seafood market where the first group of cases was reported.
Zhao said on Thursday, “I would like to remind you that the WHO has repeatedly said that there is no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory. Many renowned medical specialists around the world have also refuted the theory of “laboratory leakage” as not being based on science at all. “
French President Emmanuel Macron has also questioned China’s treatment of the epidemic. “Let’s not be naïve enough to say it [China] has handled this much better, “he said in an interview with the Financial Times. ” We do not know. There are clearly things that have happened that we do not know. “
Even though Chinese authorities pushed the economy to restart the economy last month, fears of new infections have forced parts of the country to impose new restrictions. China has closed its borders to almost all foreigners arriving from abroad and limited international flights.
As the number of new infections in Wuhan decreased, the city emerged from its lockdown and residents began to collect cremated remains of their loved ones. Photos of thousands of ballot boxes delivered to families have prompted social media to speculate on the actual death toll, and many residents doubt government figures.