Coronavirus News Asia

China denies covering up coronavirus outbreak

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China on Friday denied Western suggestions it had covered up the extent of its coronavirus outbreak and rejected US allegations it has an overly cozy relationship with the World Health Organization. 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian acknowledged that the virus’s rapid spread had contributed to undercounting that resulted in China raising its death toll earlier Friday, but added “there has never been any concealment, and we’ll never allow any concealment.”

The allegations that China is too close to the World Health Organization (WHO) were an attempt at “smearing” Beijing, Zhao said.

US President Donald Trump has questioned China’s handling of the pandemic and whether it had been completely transparent since the virus emerged in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and French President Emmanuel Macron also expressed doubts about China’s virus response.

These doubts were spotlighted again on Friday when authorities in Wuhan, which has borne the brunt of Chinese deaths, abruptly raised its death toll by 50% – or 1,290 deaths – to a new total of 3,869. 

That also pushed the nationwide death toll up sharply to 4,632, based on official national data released earlier in the day.

Wuhan authorities cited several reasons for the missed cases, including that the city’s medical staff were overwhelmed in the early days as infections climbed, leading to “late reporting, omissions or mis-reporting.”.

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