For the first time since China started reporting cases of COVID-19 in January, on Saturday, the mainland did not report any new cases of the coronavirus. The data came in a day after Communist Party leaders celebrated "major achievements" in fighting the virus that first emerged in the city of Wuhan in December last year, an AFP report reads.
Cases dwindled massively around mid-February. Asymptomatic cases were reported as recently as on Wednesday by authorities in Wuhan as well as in Shulan city in Jilin province. Shulan is now under a strict lockdown like Wuhan was when the outbreak started.
Doubt has been cast on the reliability of China's numbers and the United States has led the charge in questioning how much information Beijing has shared with the international community. China, at the beginning of the outbreak, has been accused of trying to silence whistle-blower doctors who raise alarms about the virus.
In April, Wuhan revised its death toll by 50 per cent and said the miscount happened as overwhelmed hospitals were not able to provide data regarding infections or death as and when they took place. But this has further increased doubt among the international community regarding transparency on data regarding the virus. Besides this, upon the insistence of the US and other western nations, the WHO will investigate the origin of the virus that is supposed to be transferred to humans from bats. But experts at WHO say that they need to find the intermediate host of the virus to understand it better.
Beijing has strenuously denied accusations of a cover-up, insisting it has always shared information with the World Health Organization and other countries promptly.
The official death toll in China due to the coronavirus stands at 4,634.