Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday claimed that China acted in an “open and transparent manner” with regard to the coronavirus outbreak and that it took decisive steps that helped save tens of millions of lives around the world during the pandemic, Reuters reported.

He said China had passed “an extraordinary and historic test” with the handling of the pandemic, which was made possible because of the Chinese people’s “heroic struggle” against Covid-19, according to AFP.

“China has helped save the lives of tens of millions of people around the world with its practical actions, showing China’s sincere desire to build a common future and community for humanity,” Xi said at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, organised to commend role models in China’s fight against the pandemic. The president gave gold medals to four “heroes” from the medical field during the event.

Xi added that China was the first major economy to return to growth during the pandemic, demonstrating the country’s resilience. “We quickly achieved initial success in the people’s war against the coronavirus,” he said. “We are leading the world in economic recovery and in the fight against Covid-19.”

The Chinese president’s assertions came amid accusations that the country’s early failures were what enabled the coronavirus pandemic to spread quickly across the globe. Local authorities in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus was first identified last year, were accused of a cover-up that delayed the country’s emergency response by at least two weeks.

United States President Donald Trump has led the accusations against Beijing and has repeatedly claimed that China covered up the origins of the virus in the early days of the pandemic. Trump often refers to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” or the “Chinese plague”.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected 2.72 crore people so far, and 8.91 lakh have died due to it, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.82 crore people across the world have recovered from the infection.

India, meanwhile, reported a daily jump of 75,808 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking its tally to 42,80,422. The toll rose by 1,133 to 72,775. As many as 33,23,950 people have recovered so far, pushing India’s recovery rate to 77.31%. The case fatality rate declined to 1.70%. India on Monday displaced Brazil to take the second place after the United States in terms of caseload.

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