Rise of Coronavirus in China reported lowest since January 30 by the Chinese province of Hubei, giving officials hope that the outbreak is nearing its peak, even when experts were cautious about its spread outside of China.
Health authorities in Hubei, the province in the center of the outbreak, reported 1,638 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, against a peak of more than 3,000 new cases on February 4 and the lowest daily number of new infections since 31 January. National infection rates also decreased.
Zhong Nanshan, an epidemiologist who runs a government-appointed group that works to control the outbreak, said Tuesday that the number of new cases was declining in some provinces. He predicted that the epidemic could reach its peak this month.
Until midnight on Tuesday, China’s health commission said there were 2,015 new cases across the country, compared with 2,478 on Monday, a drop of 18.6%. The number of cases in China is now 44,653.
The mortality rate also fell across the country for the second time since the outbreak began. The number of new deaths reported until midnight on Tuesday in China was 97. That compares with 108 reported for Monday, a 10.2% drop. Of the new deaths, 94 were in Hubei province.
Experts are still alarmed by the spread of the virus, which has now killed more than 1,100 people, all but two in mainland China.
WHO has compared the threat of the terrorism epidemic and an expert said that while it may be peaking in China, this was not the case beyond.
“It has spread to other places where the outbreak is beginning,” said Dale Fisher, head of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network coordinated by WHO, in an interview in Singapore.
People in Hubei province are meant to return to work on 14 February as the extended lunar new year holiday comes to an end.
China’s state news agency Xinhua said in an article on Tuesday that the epidemic was a “battle that has no gunpowder smoke but must be won”. It said the epidemic was a “big test of China’s governance system and capabilities” and some officials were still “dropping the ball” in places where it was most severe. “This is a wake-up call for us,” it said.