The Chinese city of Wuhan, site of the initial coronavirus outbreak, has no COVID-19 patients in its hospitals for the first time since the pandemic began in earnest at the beginning of this year.
“The latest news is that by April 26, the number of new coronavirus patients in Wuhan was at zero, thanks to the joint efforts of Wuhan and medical staff from around the country,” National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said at a briefing Sunday, according to NBC News.
Wuhan, in central Hubei province was the starting point for the outbreak that turned into a pandemic that is ricocheting across the globe, with 5.2 million confirmed infections and nearly 206,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus map.
In the province itself, the number of infections is below 50 for the first time since the crisis began late last year, with no new confirmed cases reported in the province for more than 20 days, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.
In all of China, 801 patients were still being treated and 77,394 had recovered and been discharged from hospitals, Xinhua said, out of 82,827 confirmed cases on the mainland. In Wuhan itself, there were 46,452 cases, 56% of the national total, Reuters reported, with 3,869 fatalities, which was 84% of China’s total.
The city and province are only just beginning to emerge from a lockdown imposed at the end of January that involved closing off roads, canceling train and air travel and forcing residents to stay inside. Even with relaxed restrictions, the city is regularly testing residents to ensure there is no recurrence, Reuters said.
Wuhan reported 12 total coronavirus cases on Saturday, one of them classified as “severe,” but no new infections, reported Forbes.
The number of coronavirus cases in Wuhan and China as a whole have been unclear, as in much of the rest of the world, with Wuhan on April 17 revising its death toll to be 50% higher than originally claimed, Forbes said, due to hospital staffing shortages. Many critics have alleged that China underreported its numbers.
A study out of Hong Kong published in The Lancet last week suggested that China’s number of cases might have been four times higher than it reported, according to The Guardian. If the later definition of what constitutes a case of COVID-19 had been used and applied to the earlier cases, then more illness would have been attributed to the novel coronavirus.
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