New infections of the coronavirus in China dropped to single digits for the first time since the country began reporting daily numbers in mid-January.
As of March 12, China has eight new cases and seven additional deaths, said the National Health Commission today. The dramatic plunge to a single-digit increase — from the height of nearly 15,000 cases added in one day on Feb. 13 — is another sign that viral outbreak has come under control at its epicenter for now, despite accelerating its spread in Europe and the U.S.
Still, with people returning to work as Beijing tries to restart its embattled economy and the virus now embedded in over 100 other countries, China is likely to meet further waves of cases.
The increase of eight new cases is the lowest since Jan. 16, when Wuhan, the city in central China where the virus first emerged, reported four new cases of what had been recently referred to as an “unidentified viral pneumonia”. A week later, China instituted the world’s biggest mass quarantine over Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, that continues today.
While there’s been an enormous social and economic cost to the lockdown especially for the 60 million people in Hubei province, experts say that it helped slow the spread of the pathogen through the rest of the country and the world.
There are still more than 13,000 Chinese patients sickened with the virus, including more than 4,000 people in critical condition, said the National Health Commission today. Over 64,000 people have recovered.
Globally, more than 130,000 people have been infected, including Tom Hanks, while there are almost 5,000 deaths.