Published: 22:30, February 21, 2020 | Updated: 07:32, June 6, 2023
Hubei health authorities respond to data confusion
By Yang Wanli and Liukun

Medical workers inject medicine for a patient at an intensive care ward of the novel coronavirus infection cases at a branch of Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, Feb 18, 2020. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Health departments will further tighten regulations on the epidemic report system and guarantee the accuracy of data related to the novel coronavirus, a senior official said on Friday.

Revisions on the total number of infections in the province has attracted public attention, said Tu Yuanchao, deputy director of the Hubei Health Commission, at a news conference on Friday afternoon.

All confirmed cases are not allowed to be deducted, and the cases already deducted should be double-checked and revised 

Tu Yuanchao, deputy director of the Hubei Health Commission

"The provincial government has made a clear response. All confirmed cases are not allowed to be deducted, and the cases already deducted should be double-checked and revised," he said.

There is growing public mistrust over official data after local health departments reported a sharp decline in infection numbers within the province on Thurday, with 349 new confirmed cases as of Wednesday at midnight, while 615 cases were reported in the capital city Wuhan.

Tu explained that the problem resulted from shifting classification of guidelines on treating the disease.

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According to the fifth edition of the guidelines, jointly released by the National Health Commission and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, besides those diagnosed through nucleic acid tests, those cases clinically diagnosed via CT scans should also be included as confirmed cases.

The standard had been practiced since Feb 13.

However, the updated guideline known as the sixth edition released on Feb 18 no longer listed "clinical diagnosed cases".

"Some cities in the province calculated new confirmed infections based on the new guidelines and deleted cases that had been reported previously," Tu said.

He emphasized the deduction had been halted since Thursday.

In addition, the province has revised its new cases for Friday, up to 631 from 411 to account for a report from the prison department that disclosed over 200 cases in its system.

A total of 271 cases were reported by the prison department. Of these, 230 infections were reported at Wuhan Women's Prison and 41 cases at Shayang Hanjin Prison.

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Fifty-one cases of these 271 had been counted previously, and the remaining 220 confirmed and 10 suspected cases were added to the daily total of new cases for Thursday.

He said related departments will strengthen management on the reporting system and guarantee all the data reported is accurate and transparent to the public.