China reports 52 more COVID-19 deaths, lowest in 3 weeks

China reports 52 more COVID-19 deaths, lowest in 3 weeks

A man wears a face mask at a metro station in Beijing as the country is hit by an outbreak of the n
A man wears a face mask at a metro station in Beijing as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China, February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING: China on Wednesday (Feb 26) reported 52 new coronavirus deaths, the lowest figure in more than three weeks, bringing the death toll to 2,715.

All the new deaths were in the outbreak epicentre Hubei province, which accounted for 401 of the 406 new infections reported on Wednesday, the National Health Commission said.

That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 78,064.

The number of fresh cases has declined in China, with multiple provinces reporting zero new infections in recent days.

READ: World 'simply not ready' for COVID-19 spread, says WHO-China mission chief

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Only five cases were reported outside the epicentre, the lowest in over a month.

But the disease, which originated in Hubei's capital Wuhan late last year and has infected more than 78,000 in China, has now reached dozens of countries.

South Korea's death toll rose to 12 on Wednesday, as the country's total number of infections rose to 1,146, by far the largest outside of China.

Italy - which has reported 10 deaths and more than 300 cases - has locked down 11 towns. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said the measures could last weeks.

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While Beijing's containment efforts initially focused on monitoring and restricting travel within the country, concern is growing that cases abroad could reintroduce new outbreaks into China.

Authorities in the city of Nanjing quarantined 94 people on a flight arriving from Seoul Tuesday, after three on the plane were found to have fevers.

The virus has killed more than 2,600 people in China. In the rest of the world, there have been more than 40 deaths and 2,700 cases.

On Tuesday, a top health official warned the world was "simply not ready" to contain the virus.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the peak in China occurred between January 23 and February 2 and the number of new cases there "has been declining steadily since then".

However, WHO expert Bruce Aylward, leader of a joint WHO-China mission of experts, warned on Monday of outbreaks in other countries "increasing at exponential growth rates".

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Source: AFP/mn

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