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Wuhan coronavirus death toll 12 times more than official figures, claim locals

Back in business: Chinese president Xi Jinping visits Ningbo-Zhoushan port PICTURE: AP

WUHAN residents claim coronavirus has killed 42,000 people in the city alone — more than 12 times China’s official national figure.

Authorities claim the killer disease, which originated in Wuhan in Hubei province, has infected about 81,000 people nationwide and killed 3,300.

Of the deaths, 3,182 were reported in Hubei province. But Wuhan locals say undertakers have been handing the ashes of victims to grieving families at a rate of 3,500 urns a day — 500 for each of seven funeral homes.

The homes have told relatives they will all receive the ashes before Qingming festival this weekend, the date when the graves of ancestors are tended. This means 42,000 urns could be distributed in that 12-day period.

A Wuhan resident, who only gave his surname Zhang, said: ‘It can’t be right because the incinerators have been working round the clock. So how can so few people have died?’

A source close to authorities in Hubei province said many residents had died at home without being officially diagnosed. They added that 28,000 cremations had taken place in a month. Hubei recently said people testing negative for the virus could leave the province, though restrictions remain in Wuhan.

China is starting to let businesses reopen, citing a fall in new infections.