Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak, dramatically lifted the number of cases and deaths late Thursday night after “a city-wide investigation,” state media reported.
Local authorities admitted previous figures had been skewed due to omissions, delays and mistakes.
The Wuhan government said total confirmed infections in the city have been revised to 50,333 as of Thursday, an increase of 325 cases.
The cumulative number of deaths is now 3,869 — 1,290 more than its previous count, confirming the local outlook had been much harder hit than Beijing had previously reported.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted an unidentified official with Wuhan’s epidemic and prevention and control headquarters as saying that during the early stages of the outbreak, “due to the insufficiency in admission and treatment capability, a few medical institutions failed to connect with the disease prevention and control system in time, while hospitals were overloaded and medics were overwhelmed with patients”.
“As a result, belated, missed and mistaken reporting occurred,” the official was quoted as saying.
China has strongly denied claims it delayed reporting on the virus outbreak in Wuhan late last year and underreported case numbers in collusion with the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), thus worsening the impact on the U.S. and other countries.
On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump cut funding to the W.H.O., after accusing the organisation of helping China to “cover up” the spread of the virus, as Breitbart News reported.
The revision came as a growing chorus of world leaders suggested China had been somewhat less than forthcoming about the full domestic impact of a virus that has devastated the globe and confined half of humanity to their homes.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is still recovering from the virus, said “hard questions” lay ahead for Beijing.
French President Emmanuel Macron told the Financial Times it would be “naive” to think China had handled the pandemic well, adding: “There are clearly things that have happened that we don’t know about.”
Beijing and Moscow slapped down the attacks, with Russian President Vladimir Putin denouncing “attempts by some people to smear China.”
AFP contributed to this report