Chinese officials have raised the death toll in Wuhan by 50 percent, adding a further 1,290 fatalities to their official figures.
The announcement will increase speculation that China is downplaying the severity of the covid-19 outbreak, which originated in Wuhan.
A statement released by Chinese officials stated that the revised figures were due to new data obtained from a variety of sources such as prisons and funeral homes.
They claim deaths that occurred outside of hospitals were not originally recorded, including people who died at home from the coronavirus.
However, the revelation of so many new deaths has sparked concern among the international community that China has been under-reporting covid-19 figures since the outbreak began.
The Chinese rebuke this sentiment and claim there has been no deliberate misinterpretation of the data. Rather they say that due to recent stabilization in the country they have been able to revisit reported cases and recalculate figures.
However, the announcement comes at the same time as news of a total collapse in China’s economic growth with some believing the new deaths are being used to bury the story of economic decline.
China has repeatedly defended itself on the international stage in regards to the coronavirus, claiming the WHO found no evidence the virus originated in a lab, lashing out at editorials criticizing the country’s handling of the situation, and engaging in social media wars.
A recent study in the United States found that as many as 85 times more people have contracted the coronavirus than official figures suggest.