Coronavirus: China marks major milestone with zero domestic infections
WUHAN: China yesterday marked a major milestone in its battle against the coronavirus as it recorded zero domestic infections for the first time since the outbreak emerged, but a spike in imported cases threatened its progress.
The stark reversal comes with more people now infected and having died abroad than in China.
There were no new cases in Wuhan - the central city where the virus first emerged in December - for the first time since the authorities started publishing figures in January, according to the National Health Commission.
Chinese scientists and health experts involved in the country's fight against the virus believe the worst is now over.
Medical advisers have expressed confidence that the country's strict containment measures have done enough to ensure the outbreak can be brought under complete control, domestically at least, within weeks.
Though they remain wary of the risks of "importing" cases from overseas, they say China should be capable of eliminating Covid-19.
However, "imported" infections reached a record 34, and have outnumbered domestic transmissions for five consecutive days.
Director of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland Ian Henderson, said China's actions to contain the virus have been "extraordinary", but there could be a second outbreak, this time imported.
"(What) remains possible is that as controls around isolation are relaxed in China... the virus may re-surge if it has not been eradicated elsewhere," he said.
South Korea meanwhile posted a jump in new cases yesterday, reversing days of slowing infections after a new outbreak emerged in a nursing home in the hardest-hit city of Daegu.
The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported 152 new cases, taking the national tally to more than 8,560. - REUTERS, AFP