China expert: New infections in Wuhan to drop to zero by month's end, Latest World News - The New Paper

China expert: New infections in Wuhan to drop to zero by month's end

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BEIJING: Wuhan, the epicentre of China's coronavirus epidemic, will likely see new infections drop to zero by the end of this month, an expert with the country's top panel on battling the illness said yesterday.

China had 139 new confirmed cases yesterday, the National Health Commission (NHC) said, bringing the total accumulated number of cases to 80,409. The authorities reported 119 new cases the previous day and 125 the day before that.

Mr Zhang Boli said almost all regions outside Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital, had managed to halt new infections by the end of last month, according to an interview with the official People's Daily.

He estimated that other cities in Hubei will hit such a target by mid-March.

There was little cheer in South Korea, though, with the total number of cases passing 6,000 yesterday.

The country declared a "special care zone" yesterday around a second city, and the US military confirmed two new cases among relatives of its troops in the country.

In the US, California declared a state of emergency as a cruise ship was held off the coast over fears of a new outbreak. The measures came as the death toll in the US hit 11, including the first fatality in California.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the measures as he reported the death of an elderly person who had taken a cruise to Mexico. "California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus," he told reporters.

Thousands aboard the Grand Princess - the cruise ship on which California's first victim was thought to have contracted the virus - were held offshore on Wednesday. The ship cut short its voyage back from Hawaii after passengers and crew developed symptoms. - REUTERS, AFP