According to research by academics at Hong Kong University's school of public health, it published 55,000 coronavirus cases as of 20 February. The outbreak accelerated rapidly, reaching more than 232,000 people stating the state has been four times the official figures, according to a study by Hong Kong researchers. China has now reported more than 83,000 cases and believes the true number would have been far greater if the definition of am COVID-19 case had been applied from the outset. 

"Globally, the death toll from the coronavirus has exceeded 184,000, with the number of cases worldwide standing at more than 2.6millon. The new estimates come amid a mounting clamor for an international inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak's origins, led by the United States and Australia, although the estimates appear far from constituting the proof of a coverup sought by some on the political right. The US and Australia have called for an international investigation into the handling of the outbreak."

The US believes that China failed to report the outbreak of the virus in a timely manner. The Trump administration's public accusations against China of a lack of transparency over the origins of the virus and the reporting of its figures have provoked anger in Beijing.

"The researchers point in particular to the very narrow scope of the first diagnostic guidelines, which required six specific criteria to be met for a patient to be a confirmed case of Covid-19. The criteria included a patient's epidemiological link to Wuhan or a wet market in Wuhan, and a full genome sequencing test of a patient's respiratory specimen showing a close homology with Covid-19."

Study shows that it was in fact 50 % higher than the first report. China has been accused of a lack of transparency over the reporting of its figures.

"On Wednesday China's ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, stated there needed to be "a serious rethinking of the foundations" of US-China relations. He also criticized politicians in the US for ignoring scientists and making "groundless" accusations."