Children wearing face masks play at the public area of a community in the Xicheng district of Beijing, capital of China, March 11, 2020. (LAN HONGGUANG / XINHUA)
WUHAN/BEIJING - The peak of the current COVID-19 outbreak in China is over, a government spokesperson said Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, spokesperson for the National Health Commission, Mi Feng, said that new cases kept declining and the overall epidemic situation remained at a low level.
Mi said the number of new cases in Wuhan, the epicenter in central China's Hubei province, has dropped to a single digit, with only eight cases reported on Wednesday.
Only seven new cases were reported on the Chinese mainland outside Hubei, but six were imported from overseas.
The Chinese health authority said Thursday it received reports of 15 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 11 deaths on the Chinese mainland on Wednesday.
Among the deaths, 10 were in Hubei province and one in Shaanxi province, according to the National Health Commission. Seven of the newly reported deaths from Hubei were in Wuhan.
As of Wednesday, Hubei had not seen new confirmed COVID-19 cases for seven consecutive days in its 16 cities and prefectures outside Wuhan
As of Wednesday, Hubei had not seen new confirmed COVID-19 cases for seven consecutive days in its 16 cities and prefectures outside Wuhan.
Meanwhile, 33 new suspected cases were reported, said the commission.
Also on Wednesday, 1,318 people were discharged from hospital after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by 235 to 4,257.
The overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 80,793 by the end of Wednesday, including 14,831 patients who were still being treated, 62,793 patients who had been discharged after recovery, and 3,169 people who died of the disease.
In Hubei, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had reached 67,781. Wuhan had so far reported 49,986 confirmed cases and 2,430 deaths as of Wednesday.
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The province also saw 1,242 patients discharged from hospital after recovery on Wednesday, bringing the total number of discharged patients in the province to 50,298.
By the end of Wednesday, 85 imported cases had been reported, after six new imported infections were reported
Among the 12,769 hospitalized patients, 3,453 were still in severe condition and another 727 in critical condition. There were 158 suspected cases.
The commission said that 253 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus.
The commission added that 13,701 close contacts were still under medical observation. On Wednesday, 2,206 people were released from medical observation.
Six imported cases were reported on the mainland Wednesday. Among them, three were reported in Guangdong province, two in Gansu province and one in Henan province. By the end of Wednesday, 85 imported cases had been reported, said the commission.
By the end of Wednesday, 129 confirmed cases including three deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 10 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 48 in Taiwan including one death.
A total of 67 patients in Hong Kong, 10 in Macao and 17 in Taiwan had been discharged from hospital after recovery.
Mi said the top priority should be given to treating patients, and vowed no relaxation or lax efforts in the epidemic prevention and control work.
Mi's remarks came after the WHO characterized the COVID-19 outbreak as a "pandemic" as the coronavirus increasingly spreads worldwide.
The WHO's characterization of the COVID-19 outbreak as a "pandemic" was to call on its members once again to make further political commitment and put in more resources to turn things around in the battle against the disease, Mi said.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has taken the most comprehensive, strictest and most thorough prevention and control measures, gaining precious time for itself and other countries and regions in setting up their own epidemic prevention and control, he added.
"China is paying close attention to the current rapid global spread of the epidemic, and can empathize with other countries in terms of the pressure in prevention and control," Mi said.
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