Coronavirus death toll over 24,000? China’s online news site Tencent ‘leak’ suggests so

As experts across the world continue to raise questions over the authenticity of China’s statistics for the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese news site Tencent allegedly listed the death toll at 24,589, which is much more than around 500 deaths comfirmed by the Chinese government.

On February 1, Tencent, which is China’s largest online news site, showed confirmed cases of the coronavirus infected in China at 154,023, 10 times the official figure at the time and it listed the number of suspected cases as 79,808, which is around four times the official figure. Several sources in Wuhan claimed that many coronavirus patients are not receiving treatment and are dying outside of hospitals.

Daily Mail reported that some people said the shocking figures could have been leaked by someone at Tencent without the permission of Chinese government, others claimed that the webpage of Tencent has been edited to malign China’s image. Notably, Tencent has denied that the screengrabs which are circulating are true and it has updated its ‘Epidemic Situation Tracker’ to reflect the official figures of 14,446 infected and around 500 dead.

Coronavirus infection is a deadly disease and it has killed at least 565 people and infected more than 28,300 globally. Around 28,000 cases have been confirmed in China alone and 258 cases have been reported from other countries around the world.

Several countries have restricted the movement of people from China and many airlines have stopped operating their flights to the Asian nation. Several countries, including India, have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus, and some other parts of China.

Meanwhile, China is planning to open 11 extra makeshift hospitals to treat coronavirus patients. China on Thursday officially said that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection has jumped by 3,694 to 28,018, the majority in and around Wuhan.