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CHINA’s imported cases of COVID-19 rose to 1,566 and the death toll jumped to 4,632 with a 50 per cent spike in fatality figures from the epicentre Wuhan, health officials said on Saturday (18).

The country’s National Health Commission (NHC) announced the revised national figures of COVID-19, taking note of Wuhan’s new data.

As per the new figures, the overall confirmed cases on the mainland reached 82,719 by Friday (17), including 4,632 deaths.

As many as 1,058 patients are still being treated and 77,029 have been discharged from hospitals.

On April 17, Wuhan’s officials announced that as of April 16, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases was raised by 325 to 50,333 and the number of fatalities up by 1,290 to 3,869.      No deaths due to COVID-19 were reported on Friday.

The latest revision of figures came amidst sharp criticism of China by the US, the UK and other countries for its alleged under-reporting of the COVID-19 cases, lack of transparency and cover-up of the origin of the viral strain, which emerged in Wuhan in December last year, reportedly from the local Huanan sea food market.

The way COVID-19 cases were counted in China was changed in January and February, leading to widespread confusion over the extent of the health crisis in the world’s most populous country.

But China denied that it had covered up the extent of its COVID-19 outbreak.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the virus’s rapid spread had contributed to under-counting that resulted in China raising its death toll earlier in the day.

However, he emphasised that “there has never been any concealment, and we’ll never allow any concealment.”

On Saturday. the NHC said 27 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported of which 17 were imported. The other 10 new cases were domestically transmitted.

This included seven new cases in Heilongjiang province, bordering Russia where cases went up following return of large number of Chinese nationals from various Russian cities and two in Guangdong province and one in Sichuan province.

No death was reported on the mainland, the NHC said. As of Friday, the mainland has reported a total of 1,566 imported cases, it said.

Also 54 new asymptomatic cases, including three from abroad, were reported, taking their total to 1,017.