A woman is led by a healthcare professional at a pop-up clinic testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Bondi Beach, after several outbreaks were recorded in the area, in Sydney, Australia April 1, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

Australia says true coronavirus infections could be as high as 10 million cases

AS mortality rates vary around the world with many infections are going undetected says chief medical officer

Reuters April 03, 2020
SYDNEY: As many as 10 million people globally may have been infected by the new coronavirus, Australia's chief medical officer said on Friday, with the under-reporting due to a lack of testing in some countries for the highly contagious respiratory disease.

A Reuters tally of official data on Friday pegged the number of COVID-19 cases caused by the virus at 1 million, but Australia's chief medical officer said the true size of the global outbreak may be up to 10 times higher.

"Worldwide we have passed 1 million infections. But we believe the true number is five or 10 times as much," Brendan Murphy told reporters.

Murphy said the mortality rates vary so much around the world that he believes many infections are going undetected.

The World Health Organisation has called on countries to significantly increase testing for coronavirus, while some critics have also highlighted differences in how some countries count coronvirus cases.

China - where the outbreak began late last year - has only recently started counting asymptomatic cases of coronavirus, prompting criticism from some international experts.

Without criticising China or any other countries, Murphy said he did not trust any data beyond Australia's.

"The only numbers I have total faith in are the Australian numbers, frankly."

Australia has reported almost 5,300 cases and 28 deaths so far.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ