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  1. ITV Report

Concern and confusion in China as reporting system for coronavirus cases changed

  • Video report by ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward

Thousands of soldiers in masks have arrived in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in scenes reminiscent of war. Their task is to help combat coronavirus.

It comes as China revealed a dramatic increase in the number of cases. The rise has been attributed to a change in the reporting system.

In Hubei province, where the virus is thought to have started, an additional 254 deaths were confirmed on Thursday.

It pushes the total number of fatalities across China to 1,367.

It comes amid a change in how the cases are recorded. Up until now, only those given the official test were included in the figures - not those suffering or dying from symptoms.

Liu Pei'en believes the figures still don't add up. His father died before he could be given the test.

"I spent the last days with my father in hospital, and I could see that the death rate of the virus was quite high," he told ITV News.

"Yesterday, two people I know died, and they were just in their forties, so the death rate is high, very high, this is really worrying."

A lockdown to contain the virus has done little to prevent its rampant spread, nor have two new hospitals.

Worried people have resorted the pleading online for help. One couple who have the virus but their children have had to post their picture to try to get them treated.

The family of one 66-year-old has to use social media to get her hospitalised.

Xiaoquan is one of the thousands told to stay at home, despite scans showing her, and her baby boy, probably have the virus.

"I took him to the children's hospital, and the result was not good, a scan showed his lungs are infected.

"But the doctor only gave us some medicine and told us to wait for a call about getting a test."

Recovered patients give flowers to doctors, as broadcast by Chinese state media. Credit: CCTV

Recovered patients have thanked their doctors featured ahead of the sacking of two top party officials on State Television on Thursday night.China is at pains to present the positive.

The World Health Organisation has urged caution when interpreting the numbers.

Dr Michael Ryan of the organisation said: "We need to be cautious when drawing conclusions from the daily reported numbers, I think we were having that discussion yesterday and I think the numbers today speak to that, we need to be very careful when interpreting any extremes."

The question is what will Friday's figures will reveal, and whether we can trust them.