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19th Mar 2020

China reports no new domestic cases of Covid-19 for the first time since outbreak

A very encouraging development.

China’s National Health Commission has reported that there were no new domestic cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, the first time this has happened since the outbreak of the virus.

34 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in China on Thursday, all of which were related to recent arrivals from overseas.

Furthermore, there were no new cases of the virus of any kind, domestic or otherwise, reported in the province of Hubei, a province of over 58 million people with the capital city of Wuhan, where the virus originated late last year.

To put this latest development into context, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine coronavirus resource centre, which tracks confirmed global cases of Covid-19 in real-time, over 81,000 of just under 222,000 cases around the world have been confirmed in China.

While over 3,000 have people have died as a result in China, just under 58,000 people have recovered after being diagnosed with the virus.

According to China Daily, once there have been no new cases for 14 days, a lockdown placed on the city of Wuhan may be lifted.

Wuhan, along with three other cities – Huanggang, Ezhou and Chiba – was placed under extraordinary lockdown on 23 January. Travel in and out of the cities was banned, public transport suspended, house-to-house inspections carried out and quarantine enforced as part of a number of measures implemented to contain the spread of the virus.

Some of those measures have been lifted since earlier this month, with travel restrictions eased and employees in public transport and other essential industries allowed to return to work.

While the absence of any domestic cases in China is encouraging, there are fears that a second spike of infections may arise from people returning from overseas.

In recent weeks, China has been lending its experience of tackling the spread of Covid-19 to other nations, having, for example, provided medical supplies and personnel to Italy, France, Cambodia, Iran and Iraq.

Chinese president Xi Jinping, meanwhile, told Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez that the “sunshine comes after the storm” following a spike of cases of Covid-19 in the country.