Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, abruptly increased its death toll by almost 50 percent, admitting that its official count was wrongly reported.

On Friday, Wuhan's Epidemic Prevention and Control Center has abruptly revised the city's COVID-19 death toll by 1,290, taking its total number of deaths to 3,869. Before the correction, the official figure stood at 2,579. The city's confirmed coronavirus cases was also revised by an additional 325 cases.

The updated figure comes after weeks of growing scepticism over the death toll reported by the authorities in China as other, less populated countries, have reported fatalities crossing more than 10,000-20,000.

China's official death toll didn't add up

Wuhan Coronavirus
Twitter / Imran Iftikhar

For instance, China, which has a population of 1.4 billion people, had only reported an implausible 3,346 deaths. In comparison, the United States, which has a population of only 328 million, has reported more than 32,900 deaths.

According to data obtained from the Johns Hopkins University, US deaths per 100,000 stand at 10.66 whereas in China the number was significantly lower at 0.24. The idea that Beijing is still claiming it has such a small number of deaths had raised serious apprehensions over the numbers China reports to the world.

Officials admit deaths were wrongly reported

The agency admitted that the death toll was revised to account for a number of patients who were unable to reach hospitals and passed away at home. The updated death toll also takes into account late reporting, mistaken or wrongly collected information, as well as information that wasn't collected from private hospitals, temporary hospitals and other medical institutions that handled coronavirus patients.

"Life and the people are paramount," the agency said in a state-run newspaper. "Every loss of life during the epidemic is not just a source of sorrow for their family, but the city as well. We would like to send our sincere sympathies to the family members of those who died during the epidemic, as well as our comrades and medical staff who sacrificed their lives."