The daily number of new cases of Novel Coronavirus infections fell below 2,000 for the first time in February in mainland China. The number of new infections was 1,886 on February 18 as opposed to 2,050 on the previous day. The daily death toll too has come down substantially and is below 100.
Meanwhile, the total death toll increased to 1,868 with the total confirmed cases rising beyond 72,000.
According to the National Health Commission of China, most of the cases are still being reported in Hubei with the rest of China reporting only 79 new infections on February 17. The numbers have been going down consistently since February 3 when 803 infections were reported on one day, Xinhua reported.
The numbers have come down despite the fact that enumeration methods have become more liberal. Talking to Peoples Dispatch, Gargeya Telakapalli, who works with Indian chapter of People’s Health Movement, said that unlike in the past, where patients were classified as infected only after proper check-ups in the laboratories, now, anyone with symptoms is categorized as infected.
Outside China, the total number of confirmed infections in 26 different countries has increased to 827 with five deaths, Reuters reported.
The outbreak was first recorded in December last year in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. The number of cases rose in January with the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring it a global health emergency.
China has taken unprecedented measures to curb the spread of the infection, quarantining the entire province and building two new hospitals within days. It also extended holidays in factories and schools, minimizing the risk of mass infection. The factories are gradually being reopened. Chinese officials have claimed that the tough measures they have taken to contain the spread of the virus are paying off.
WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has cautioned that thought there are signs of decline in new cases, one needs to remain vigilant about it as the “trend can change”.
Meanwhile, countries have decided to take back their citizens quarantined off the Japan coast in the cruise ship Diamond Princess since February 3. The US has already flown 300 of its citizens to American military bases. There were 3,700 passengers on the ship, half of whom hail from Japan.