Coronavirus outbreak death toll reaches 2666 in China as new cases fall, global figures cross 80,000 mark

The coronavirus outbreak has killed 2666 people and infected nearly 77800 people in China, health officials here have said with the global figures for those sickened by the pathogen crossing the 80000 mark in more than 30 countries on Tuesday.

China’s national health commission (NHC) on Tuesday said more than 500 new cases and over 70 deaths were reported until midnight before.

The good news was that no new confirmed cases of covid-19 were reported Monday in 23 provincial-level regions on the mainland, including Shanghai and Tianjin, the NHC said.

Only nine new confirmed cases were reported Monday outside the province of Hubei, epicentre of the outbreak.

The NHC added that until Monday midnight, a total of 27,323 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospital after recovery.

“China’s daily number of newly cured and discharged novel coronavirus patients has surpassed that of new infections for the seventh consecutive day,” the NHC was quoted as saying at the daily morning briefing.

The Hubei province, however, will continue to take the most stringent prevention and control measures, the NHC said.

The province of nearly 60 million has been under a lockdown for nearly a month.

The eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, where a large number of South Koreans stay and is also a popular tourist destination for them, announced that it was adopting a stricter epidemic prevention policy, asking foreign visitors to either undergo a 14-day home quarantine or stay in designated hotels, as infection numbers in South Korea soared tenfold in less than a week.

State media reports said Qingdao in Shandong province has begun “…to arrange for designated vehicles to pick up all foreign visitors arriving in Qingdao and send them to their homes for a 14-day mandatory quarantine. Foreigners coming for short-term visits or business travel will be sent to designated hotels, Qingdao government announced.”

Meanwhile, the falling number of cases is prompting the government to gradually plan the road back to normalcy with focus on cranking up manufacturing and reopening factories.

China’s top planning body, the national development and reform commission (NDRC) on Tuesday said China will classify regions — outside epicentre Hubei and capital city Beijing — into low, medium, and high-risk areas based on the extent and severity of the local covid-19 epidemic situation.

“County-level administration regions outside Beijing and Hubei Province will be categorized into three classes, namely low, medium, and high-risk regions,” Ou Xiaoli, an NDRC official said.

“Regions with a low-risk classification will resume overall normal life production, and lift transport restrictions. Governments of these regions should help companies address challenges and problems including the lack of employment and raw materials,” the commission noted.

Several Chinese localities have or plan to lower their emergency responses towards the coronavirus outbreak, official news agency, Xinhua reported Tuesday.

Since late January, all provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland have activated top-level emergency responses to the novel coronavirus, cancelling mass events, closing scenic attractions and suspending long-distance buses.

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