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China reports zero domestic COVID-19 cases

China reports zero domestic COVID-19 cases
People applaud as departing medical workers enter Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province. (AP)
BEIJING/Madrid/ TEHRAN/ BERLIN, MARCH 19 (IANS/AFP) | Publish Date: 3/19/2020 9:07:04 AM IST

Mainland China has reported zero new domestic infections of coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak was first reported in the country last December, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.

The Commission said that by 12 a.m. Thursday, no local infections had been recorded throughout the Chinese territory, reports Efe news.

Authorities said the 34 cases that were reported in that period were all imported and were travellers from other countries and regions affected by the pandemic.

The 34 imported infections were registered in Beijing (21), Canton (nine), Shanghai (two), Heilongjiang (one) and Zhejiang (one).

On the day China hit an encouraging coronavirus milestone, health authorities reported that eight people had died of the virus, all of them in the province of Hubei, in the central-eastern part of the country which is the epicentre of the outbreak.

The latest data places the total number of infections in China at 80,928 since respiratory disease first emerged.

Of those 70,420 have responded positively to treatment and have since been discharged.

The number of new deaths was down to single digits, with just eight reported, bringing the total toll to 3,245.

The number of active infections in China currently is 7,263. Of those, 2,314 people are in a serious condition (2,222 of them in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei).

China has implemented a strict regime of monitoring anyone who has been in close contact with infected persons.

So far 683,281 people have been in close contact with a diagnosed Covid-19 patient, of which 9,144 are still under observation.

Of the people who are still under observation, 105 are suspected of having been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Since March 11, the number of reported infections and deaths has remained at or below 21 daily, according to official data.

A day later, the Chinese government declared that the peak of transmissions had come to an end in the Asian country.

Elsewhere, infections from what is now a global pandemic continued to rise.

Italy, the worst-hit country outside China, reported 3,526 new cases overnight, taking the total number of infections to 35,713. The death toll stood at 2,978.

According to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University, there are currently more than 9,077 confirmed cases in the US and 145 deaths.

Globally, the number of confirmed cases were 211,301, with 8,847 deaths. These figures include the China numbers.

Spain sees sharp spike in Covid-19 deaths

Spain on Thursday reported a sharp jump in coronavirus deaths and cases, making the country the fourth-most affected across the world.

The Health Ministry reported 209 new deaths, taking the toll to 767, while confirmed cases rose from 13,716 to 17,147, the BBC reported.

The country has the fourth highest death toll in the world after China, Italy and Iran.

Iran reports 149 new coronavirus deaths

Iran on Thursday announced 149 new deaths due to the novel coronavirus, raising the toll to 1,284, according to the health ministry.

  A total of 18,407 people have contracted the disease in the country -- one of the worst hit by the novel coronavirus -- according to figures provided by Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi. 

COVID-19 cases in Germany soar past 10,000

Germany has recorded 10,999 cases of the novel coronavirus, official data showed Thursday, with the number of new reported infections rising by 2,801 in a single day.

  Twenty people have died from the viral infection, data from the disease control agency Robert Koch Institute (RKI) showed.

North Rhine-Westphalia remains the worst-hit state, with 3,033 COVID-19 cases, up 661 from a day ago.

The data is compiled from regional authorities of cases tested for the virus. But depending on an individual state’s policies, many other possible cases may not have been tested because they show only mild symptoms or have not been in contact with a known case.

With the contagion showing no signs of abating authorities have ordered schools closed, non-essential shops shut and made repeated calls for Germans to stay home.

With the pleas appearing to fall on the deaf ears of some, two small Bavarian villages have imposed a lockdown.

Leaders in bigger cities and regions have also warned that they may be forced to take tougher action.

“I cannot and will not rule out taking further measures in the coming days,” Berlin mayor Michael Mueller said Wednesday.

“The question of a lockdown can play a role. That can be decided quickly. In that case, the parks and gardens will be closed,” he warned. 

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