Mainland China adds 573 coronavirus infections in the biggest daily increase of the week

BEIJING: Mainland China reported 573 new coronaviruses on February 29, compared to 427 the previous day, for the largest daily increase in a week, national authorities said Sunday.

The new ones were concentrated in the central city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged at the end of last year, with 565 infections, or almost 99% of Saturday's total.

The death toll of 35 was the second lowest daily total in February and fell from 47 the previous day. The death toll in mainland China is now 2,870, the National Health Commission said.

Of the deaths, 34 were in Hubei Province, whose capital is Wuhan and the epicenter of the outbreak. they represented 570 of the new cases.

The three new cases outside Hubei are the lowest number since the National Health Commission began tracking daily figures on January 20.

A total of 41,625 patients have been discharged, the commission said, or 52% of total continental infections, although authorities have warned that some may develop symptoms again.

To cushion the economic impact of the epidemic, China ordered districts to be classified as high risk, medium risk and low risk, and the latter is expected to put an end to traffic restrictions and allow everyone to resume work.

On Saturday, Hubei said 11 of its 103 counties had not reported new cases for at least 14 days, meeting the low risk criteria. But up to 58 of its counties are still considered high risk.

Despite some positive changes, the situation was still at a critical stage, and Hubei still could not reduce round trips, said Ying Yong, provincial general secretary of the ruling Communist Party on Saturday.

China will take steps to bring back citizens from high-risk countries if necessary, Foreign Ministry official Cui Aiming told reporters on Sunday, adding that so far he has organized 10 flights to take to house 1,314, but did not mention any country.

China needs to have a long-term vision of the outbreak and plug the gaps in its laws and response mechanisms, President Xi Jinping said in speeches published in the theoretical newspaper of the Communist Party, Qiushi (Seeking the truth) on Sunday.

China must establish an emergency reserve and supply system to ensure that vital materials are deployed at critical times, he added.

Up to 53 countries have reported cases, the World Health Organization said on Saturday, with Mexico and San Marino the latest additions. In a bulletin, he said there were 6,009 cases outside of China, an increase of 1,318 compared to the previous day.

China has refrained from general travel bans, but some local governments, such as in Beijing, have ordered quarantine for travelers from countries where the virus has spread.