Chinese health authorities have been given a sliver of hope after a study found new COVID-19 cases appear to be falling.
A study by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of new COVID-19 infections seemed to be falling since earlier this month, prompting guarded optimism from health authorities.
It also found more than 80% of the 45,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus it studied were mild.
Image: Medical staff check the temperature of a patient displaying mild COVID-19 symptoms at an exhibition centre converted into a hospital in Wuhan
Mainland China reported 1,869 new cases and 98 deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total deaths in the country to 1,868 since it was first detected in mid-December.
The number of deaths was down slightly from the 105 fatalities reported the day before.
However, World Health Organisation (WHO) director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was too early to know if the reported decline would continue.
“Every scenario is still on the table,” he said.
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He added the report gives the WHO a “clearer picture of the outbreak, how it’s developing and where it’s headed”.
A total of 72,438 confirmed cases had been reported in mainland China as of Tuesday, an increase of 1,890 from the day before but the first time since the end of January the daily case number fell below 2,000.
The drop follows a large spike last week attributed to Hubei province, where the virus originated, starting to count cases by doctors’ diagnoses without waiting for laboratory test results.
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Hubei health authorities said the change was aimed at getting faster treatment for patients.
Outside mainland China there have been 898 confirmed cases, with five deaths – one each in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, France, the Philippines.
A leading doctor in Wuhan, the city where the virus was first detected, died of COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a notice.
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Liu Zhiming, director of Wuhan’s Wuchang Hospital, had been working to halt the virus from the start and had made “important contributions in the work of fighting and controlling novel coronavirus,” the notice said.
“Unfortunately he became infected and passed away at 10:54 Tuesday morning at the age of 51 after all-out efforts to save him failed,” it added.
Image: The number of daily new COVID-19 cases in mainland China dropped below 2,000 on 18 February for the first time since the end of January
Earlier this month, the death of Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang from COVID-19 caused public outrage after he was threatened by police for trying to warn people about the outbreak of a SARS-like illness in December.
China is considering postponing its largest political meeting of the year to avoid people having to travel to Beijing while the virus is still spreading.
Speaking to Sky’s Alistair Bunkall, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has suggested the number of coronavirus cases in Europe has remained low because of the
The National People’s Congress (NPC) is due to meet on 5 March for ten days but a spokesman for its standing committee – China’s top legislative body – said the country is at a “critical stage” in containing the epidemic.
Zang Tiewei told the state-run Xinhua news agency a third of about 3,000 respresentatives set to attend the NPC are “leading officials at the provincial and municipal levels” fighting on the front lines of the outbreak.
Source : Sky News