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Coronavirus: Hubei province reports 4,823 new cases and 116 more deaths

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 4 days ago Owen Churchill
a person walking down a street next to a bag of luggage: A passenger at a Beijing railway station covers her head and body with plastic bags for added protection against the coronavirus. Photo: EPA-EFE © EPA-EFE A passenger at a Beijing railway station covers her head and body with plastic bags for added protection against the coronavirus. Photo: EPA-EFE
  • Latest figures follow the roll-out this week of expanded diagnostic criteria amid a purge of party officials in Hubei
  • Total mainland cases now at more than 64,627 and deaths at 1,483

China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, reported a further 4,823 cases of the disease early on Friday morning, bringing the total in the mainland to 64,627.

Deaths in the country caused by the disease, now officially known as Covid-19, reached 1,483 after the province’s health commission announced a daily increase of 116.

Current as of midnight on Thursday, the figures were the second daily batch to be released since the roll-out of expanded diagnostic criteria, under which a diagnosis based on an analysis of symptoms is considered a confirmed case.

The United States feels let down by a lack of transparency from China over the crisis, a senior White House official said on Thursday, contradicting President Donald Trump’s confidence in Beijing.

"We are a little disappointed that we haven’t been invited in and we’re a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told reporters.

Trump on Thursday again praised his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for his government’s response to the outbreak but Kudlow said unanswered questions were mounting and there was no sign of the promised cooperation.

"President Xi assured President Trump that China was on it and there would be openness, they would accept our help,” he added.

"We’re more than willing to work with the UN (and) WHO on this and they won’t let us. I don’t know what their motives are. I do know that apparently more and more people are suffering over there.”

"Is the Politburo really being honest with us?” he asked, referring to communist China’s top leadership body.

The United States Centres for Diseases Control said on Thursday it expected more coronavirus cases in the country in the days ahead as health officials announced a 15th confirmed infection – this one in an evacuee from China under quarantine in Texas.

The inclusion of clinical diagnoses in the official count led to a dramatic spike in confirmed cases and deaths, appearing to confirm suspicions that the true number of cases far eclipsed the official figures of the past few weeks. The official data had been constrained by the availability of diagnostic tests.

Around two thirds of the new cases reported on Friday were clinically diagnosed.

The new monitoring protocol coincides with a purge of top party officials in Hubei, where local authorities have become a target of nationwide public fury over the government’s response to the outbreak.

Wuhan, Hubei’s capital and the site of the seafood and meat market where the contagion is thought to have broken out, reported more than 3,900 new cases and 88 more deaths on Friday.

The coronavirus has infected more than 65,200 people worldwide and spread to two dozen countries. To date, three people outside mainland China have died from the disease, in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan.

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia. 

Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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