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12 Mar, 2020 09:12

China past peak of coronavirus outbreak, health authorities say

China past peak of coronavirus outbreak, health authorities say

Some promising news is coming from China, where the National Health Commission has reported that the turning point of the Covid-19 outbreak has already passed.

China has passed the pinnacle of the coronavirus epidemic and the number of new cases is now in decline, National Health Commission (NHC) spokesperson Mi Feng told journalists on Thursday. He said that the epidemic remains in check. 

As of Wednesday night, the NHC recorded 15 new cases in mainland China, down from Tuesday's 31 and Monday's 36.

Meanwhile, Zhong Nanshan, Chinese coronavirus adviser and the epidemiologist who discovered the SARS coronavirus in 2003, said he believes the global Covid-19 epidemic will be over by June. There are some promising signs, like the lower re-infection rate among recovered patients, he said, although many cases imported into China show no overt symptoms of the virus.

This week, Chinese authorities have closed all of the temporary hospitals built in record time in Wuhan – the city from which Covid-19 is believed to have originated – to deal with patients who contracted the deadly virus. Wuhan and Hubei Province, of which it is the capital, was hit hardest by the epidemic, but infection rates have dropped significantly in recent days.

The news comes as WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus referred to the Covid-19 outbreak as a "pandemic" – on the grounds that over 118,000 cases were recorded in 114 countries around the world, and 4,291 people have succumbed to the disease.

Ghebreyesus insisted that steadfast action from world governments can hinder the further spread of the global pandemic. Countries must turn the tide of this outbreak by taking "urgent and aggressive action," the health chief urged.

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