The Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged raised its death toll by 50%, revealing the epicentre of the global pandemic had been much worse hit than Beijing had previously reported.

The Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged raised its death toll by 50%, revealing the epicentre of the global pandemic had been much worse hit than Beijing had previously reported. 
The revision came as a growing chorus of world leaders suggested China had not been entirely open about the full domestic impact of a virus that has killed more than 140,000 people globally and confined half of humanity to their homes. 
It also followed US President Donald Trump ordering a cautious easing of lockdown restrictions in an effort to kickstart his stalling economy, and as GDP data revealed China’s economy had slipped into reverse for the first time in decades. 
In Wuhan – where the virus was first detected late last year – an official announcement raised the city’s death toll by half, to a total of 3,869. 
The additional deaths were cases that were “mistakenly reported” or missed entirely, the posting said. 
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British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is still recovering from the virus, said there would be “hard questions” for Beijing. 
French President Emmanuel Macron told the Financial Times it would be “naive” to think China had handled the pandemic well, adding: “There are clearly things that have happened that we don’t know about.” 
China and Russia dismissed the criticisms, with Russian President Vladimir Putin denouncing “attempts by some people to smear China.” 
World leaders are grappling with the question of when to re-open society, seeking a balance between unfreezing stalled economies and preventing a deadly second coronavirus wave. 
While Mr Trump declared yesterday that the time had come for the “next front in our war” with a phased re-opening of the US, others took the opposite path – with Japan, Britain and Mexico all expanding current restrictions. 
Despite the United States suffering a staggering 4,500 deaths in the last 24 hours – taking the national toll to almost 33,000 – Mr Trump proclaimed: “We’re opening up our country.” 
The president’s approach was more cautious than previous hopes for a sudden re-opening however, with state governors given the lead. 
Lightly affected states can open “literally tomorrow,” said Mr Trump, while others would receive White House “freedom and guidance” to achieve that at their own pace.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2020
Top US government scientist Dr Anthony Fauci said: “Light switch on and off is the exact opposite of what you see here.” 
In New York state for example – where more than 11,500 have died – Governor Andrew Cuomo extended a shutdown order until 15 May. 
Meanwhile, there were more and more signals of the global economy imploding. 
China’s reported its gross domestic product shrank 6.8% in the first quarter of the year. 
That is the first contraction since quarterly growth data became available in the early 1990s. 
In the US, another 5.2 million workers lost their jobs, bringing the total number of newly unemployed to a staggering 22 million since mid-March. 
A man cycles down a near deserted First Avenue in New York
John Williams, a top official at the Federal Reserve, predicted it would take “a year or two” if not longer for the US to recover from what the International Monetary Fund has termed the “Great Lockdown” battering the global economy. 
The virus could spark another “lost decade” in Latin America, the IMF warned, while experts cautioned that freezing debt for poor countries will not save many developing world economies. 
Some European countries – such as hard-hit Spain and Italy – were embarking on a long road back to normality, with Venice residents strolling around quiet canals stripped of their usual throngs of tourists. 
Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Finland were among those gradually re-opening shops and schools 
Denmark, for example, is allowing certain small businesses, such as hairdressers, beauty salons and driving schools, to reopen on 20 April. 
The move comes after the Nordic country, one of Europe’s first to shut down, began reopening day care centres and schools this week in a first step towards gradually easing the lockdown. 
Children at a music class in Denmark
Denmark will keep its borders shut, however, while curbs on restaurants, bars and gyms remain in place, as does a ban on large public gatherings. 
In Poland, new rules requiring everyone to wear a mask outside received decidedly mixed reviews. 
Homeless and people receive 150 packages with food and protective masks in Szczecin, Poland
“It’s awful,” postal worker Natalia told AFP, towing a large wheeled letter-bag behind her. 
“My glasses are fogging up and I can’t see a thing. But you have to wear it,” she added.