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China’s Wuhan abruptly raises its COVID-19 death toll to 3,869, up 50%

The adjustment, detailed in a social media posting by the city government, adds 1,290 deaths to the tally in Wuhan, where the global pandemic emerged and which has suffered the vast majority of China’s fatalities from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Wuhan also revised up the number of confirmed cases by 325.

The updated figure comes after weeks of scepticism about the reported death toll, as other countries have seen fatalities reach more than 10,000.

The agency said reasons for the change included adding the number of patients unable to reach hospitals, late, mistaken or double reporting, as well as difficulty linking information reported from private hospitals, temporary hospitals and other medical institutions that handled patients.

“Life and the people are paramount. Every loss of life during the epidemic is not just a source of sorrow for their family, but the city as well. We would like to send our sincere sympathies to the family members of those who died during the epidemic, as well as our comrades and medical staff who sacrificed their lives,” it said.

China has reported its first ever quarterly contraction at 6.8%, its slowest pace on record.

The decline comes after almost three months of nationwide lockdown as the country battled the coronavirus, which emerged in December in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has infected more than 2 million people around the world.

China’s economy has not recorded a contraction since 1992 when the country began publishing quarterly GDP data. In 2019, China already posted its slowest growth in almost 30 years.

Over the last month, Chinese authorities have pushed to get the paralysed economy back up and running with businesses and factories re-opening and policies to help households and companies.

Analysts polled by Reuters estimate China’s yearly growth for 2020 will slow to 2.5% from 6.1% last year, the weakest pace since the last year of the Cultural Revolution.

Source: AFP