An image released briefly in Chinese Chinese giant Tencent before being quickly eliminated has sparked a debate about the true count of coronavirus victims and whether it is much higher than official statistics show.
On Saturday night, Tencent published in its virus tracker that the confirmed number of cases was recorded at 154,023, more than ten times more than the official figure at that time, Taiwan News reported.
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The number of suspicious cases was almost 80,000, about four times the official number the newspaper said in English.
Minutes later, the site was updated to reflect official government numbers, however, web users noted that it was the third time that such correction was made.
It led to speculation about whether a coding problem had caused the error or if the number of cases was deliberately concealed.
So far, official statistics show that there have been 24,631 cases of the virus with 493 deaths and 1030 people recovered.
Multiple sources inside Wuhan have raised doubts about official figures, including those working on the medical front. A source said official figures already have 48 hours after doctors have to wait for the results.
Many patients do not receive treatment in hospitals and an official said there are not enough kits in the city to evaluate all the disease.
This week, the professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, David Hui-Shu-choeng, said the official count could be the “tip of the iceberg,” as it only reflects those who were in the hospital.
“There are many community cases that are not diagnosed, unlike Hong Kong, where cases are handled with more care, including mild ones. Of the 15 confirmed cases [in Hong Kong], 10 of [the patients] I didn’t even need to get oxygen, “Hui told the South China Morning Post
“So we are talking about different denominators here. To get a real picture, you usually have to wait until the outbreak settles for a zero prevalence study in the general population, where blood tests would reflect the number of positive cases that contain the antibody without presenting the symptoms, “Hui said.
THE UNKNOWN VIRUS MAKES THE QUARANTINE A FIGHT
Authorities around the world are struggling to contain the virus, however, much is still unknown about the disease and how it spreads.
China has prevented 50 million people from leaving Wuhan and nearby areas, and it is said that an increasing number remain in their apartments in other cities, which causes serious economic upheavals in China and around the world.
As Beijing’s authoritarian leadership faces questions about keeping its citizens in the dark for weeks before infections began to explode, other countries are trying to establish effective quarantines to stop a possible pandemic.
A plane carrying 167 Moroccan passengers, mostly students, arrived Sunday near Casablanca. They will be quarantined for 20 days in two hospitals in Rabat and Meknes.
In Lagos, in Nigeria, the authorities asked people arriving from China or other affected countries to practice “unsupervised quarantine”, which means staying at home, minimizing contact with family members and controlling symptoms.
South Sudan, with one of the world‘s most fragile health systems after a five-year civil war, recently celebrated the installation of a single thermal scanner in the arrival area of its airport in its capital, Juba.
WHO has prioritized 13 countries based on factors that include a large number of travelers from China and other affected nations. One is Ethiopia, where Ethiopian Airlines continues to fly five to seven flights from China a day.
WHO officials said that most African countries have resources to isolate people due to the measures taken during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that ended in 2016.
But officials said more protective equipment is needed and because global demand is high, a shortage is expected.