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Officials said mainland China had 169 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, of which 61 were described as asymptomatic.
Beijing, which has been under fire for months for underreporting the number of cases, said 98 of the new cases were “imported,” meaning they originated somewhere else.
The combined figure marks the highest number of cases China has had since March 6.
The bump in stats has sparked some concern about a second wave of infections in China, the country that first reported cases of coronavirus late last year and is considered the epicenter of the pandemic.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the latest figures put China’s confirmed cases at 83,213. The United States, by comparison, has 557,590 confirmed cases of COVID-19, followed by Spain at 169,496 and Italy 156,363. France and Germany round out the top five with 133,672 and 127,854 cases, respectively.
China’s cases were thought to have peaked sometime in mid-February, but in recent weeks the country has been accused of downplaying its numbers and the severity of the crisis when transparency was vital to containing the outbreak.
President Trump has repeatedly blamed China and the World Health Organization over its handling of the crisis and has accused officials of conspiring to paint a rosier picture of the situation. China has denied all of these claims, as has the WHO.
“The WHO, that’s the World Health Organization, receives vast amounts of money from the United States. And we pay for a majority — biggest portion of their money. And they actually criticized and disagreed with my travel ban at the time I did it. And they were wrong. They’ve been wrong about a lot of things. And they had a lot of information early and they didn’t want to — they’re very — they seem to be very China-centric. And we have to look into that. So we’re going to look into it,” Trump said at a White House briefing Tuesday.
Trump also has come under fire for allegations that he knew about the dangers of coronavirus for weeks and did nothing. It’s an accusation he says is untrue.
The Trump administration is expected to announce restrictions on U.S. funding for the WHO later this week — something the president hinted at last week, but said he wanted to wait until the Easter holiday to announce any new steps. Trump claimed his administration would discuss the WHO “in great detail,” but didn’t go into specifics.
The Washington Post reported Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials are expected to recommend that the U.S. look into its payment process to the WHO.