China reports zero domestic COVID-19 cases for first time

Beijing:  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.