China reports just ONE new domestic case of coronavirus in a day – but finds 20 more cases that arrived from abroad
- The single domestic case was in Wuhan where the virus emerged last December
- But China is now concerned about 20,000 arrivals into the country every day
- Beijing is now requiring visitors to go into 14-day quarantine in specified hotels
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China has reported just one domestic case of coronavirus today but found 20 more cases imported from abroad, threatening to spoil its progress.
The single case in Wuhan will boost China’s view that it has ‘basically curbed’ the spread of the pathogen which emerged in the city last December.
But the country is now concerned about an influx of cases from abroad, with an average of 20,000 people flying into China every day.
In a reversal of roles, Beijing is now requiring almost all international arrivals to go into 14-day quarantine in designated hotels.
Clean-up: A volunteer wearing a protective suit and face mask operates a remote-controlled disinfection robot in a residential area of Wuhan, which recorded only one new case today
China also reported 13 new deaths today, raising its toll to 3,226.
The country has recorded 80,881 total cases, but fewer than 9,000 people remain infected.
As recently as last month, 99 per cent of worldwide cases were in China but the figure is now only 45 per cent.
Nine of the 20 new imported cases were in Beijing and three in Shanghai, raising the total number of confirmed infections from abroad to 143, according to the National Health Commission.
The country’s progress stands in stark contrast with the growing crisis in other countries, with most of Europe grinding to a halt over virus fears.
The number of deaths worldwide has passed 7,000, with more than 181,500 cases in 145 countries.
Wuhan and its 11million people were placed under strict quarantine on January 23, with the rest of Hubei province going under lockdown in the following days.
Authorities tightened restrictions in the city even further on February 11, confining people to their homes as health workers faced a daily deluge of well over 1,000 cases – a move officials say was critical in containing the virus.
Medical staff cheer themselves up before going into an intensive care ward at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan yesterday, with the crisis easing in China
Other cities across the country also ordered people to stay indoors, and no new domestic infections have been detected outside Hubei for several days in a row with restrictions starting to be loosened.
People who live alone, minors, the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying conditions are allowed to confine themselves at home.
A Beijing medical adviser last week boasted that the world could bring the outbreak under control if it emulates China’s measures.
Epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan urged countries to ‘get mobilised’ and ‘intervene on a national scale’ to halt a crisis which is now spiralling outside China.
Zhong, who is credited with helping to combat the SARS outbreak in 2003, warned that the current crisis would ‘last longer’ if countries ‘do not treat the infectiousness and harmfulness seriously’.
China is now focusing on restarting factories and businesses hit by the containment policies, including the hard-hit airline industry.
Chinese airlines reported total losses of 20.96 billion yuan ($3billion) in February while the total number of airline passengers fell 84.5 per cent year-on-year.
Local governments must do their utmost to ensure people return to work as soon as possible, the official China Daily said in an editorial.
Many businesses are still facing labour shortages and supply-chain disruptions, it said.