China announces biggest drop in new virus cases in almost a month


  • China
  • Thursday, 20 Feb 2020

BEIJING (AFP): China reported the biggest drop in new cases from the coronavirus outbreak in nearly a month on Thursday (Feb 20).

The National Health Commission said that more than 74,500 people have now been infected nationwide by the virus, which first emerged in central Hubei province in December.

The death toll jumped to 2,118 on Thursday after 114 new deaths were reported -- most in Hubei province, the hard-hit epicentre of the outbreak.

Most of the new cases were in the provincial capital Wuhan, where the virus first emerged.

Hubei health officials said Thursday there had been 615 new cases in Wuhan and 13 more elsewhere in the province.

However, the Hubei health commission said it was reducing the number of previously reported cases in a number of cities in the province by 279.

Even without the adjustment, the number of new cases was sharply lower than the province's daily updates of recent weeks. On Wednesday, there were 1,693 new cases reported in Hubei.

National health officials said the over-reporting in Hubei was after nucleic acid tests were carried out on patients previously confirmed using lung imaging.

After the adjustment, the number of new cases confirmed nationwide was 394, the National Health Commission said.

The number of new cases spiked last week after Hubei health officials said they were changing the way they counted cases to include those diagnosed clinically using lung imaging tests, rather than just using lab tests to confirm cases.

Outside of Hubei, the number of cases has been steadily falling, with only 45 more cases reported on Thursday. - AFP

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