In Depth

‘Major milestone’: China reports no new domestic coronavirus cases

Good news comes as Asian nations fear a second wave of infections

China reported no new domestic cases of coronavirus on Wednesday for the first time since the crisis began.

The country’s national health commission said it recorded only 34 cases yesterday, and all of them were people who had arrived from overseas. In Hubei province, where the outbreak began, there were no new infections at all.

CNN describes it as “a pivotal moment in the battle to contain Covid-19”, while The Guardian calls it a “major milestone”.

Of the 80,928 confirmed cases across China, 87% (70,420) of patients have recovered, while 4% (3,245) have died.

The lack of infections in Hubei suggests the “large-scale transmissions have been suppressed at the epidemic ground zero”, says Global Times. However, experts say there needs to be 14 consecutive days without new cases for the outbreak to be considered over.

The good news from China came as the number of global cases neared 220,000 and Italy - the country with the worst outbreak outside of China - recorded its biggest single-day jump in coronavirus patients to 35,713.

“While the Asian nations that were first affected appeared to have come through the worst of it, there are now concerns about a second wave of infections, driven by people returning from overseas,” says The Guardian.

As countries around the world close borders and declare mandatory isolation periods, thousands are rushing home to places such as China, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, says the newspaper.

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The authorities in China were initially accused of covering up the truth about the virus. International efforts to contain the outbreak rely on accurate information sharing, but Beijing was among a number of regimes facing claims of underreporting the extent of the outbreak, contributing to its spread.

Now, China is hailing its success as “evidence of what can be achieved when a vast, top-down bureaucracy that brooks no dissent is mobilized in pursuit of a single target”, says The New York Times.

Ben Cowling, the head of the division of epidemiology and biostatistics at Hong Kong University’s School of Public Health, told the newspaper: “It’s very clear that the actions taken in China have almost brought to an end their first wave of infections. The question is what will happen if there’s a second wave because the kind of measures that China has implemented are not necessarily sustainable in the long term.”

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