The Chinese province of Hubei has reportedly tallied zero new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections for the first time since the virus emerged in the city of Wuhan, marking a sizable victory in the battle against the pandemic.
CNBC reports that China’s National Health Commission counted zero new infections over the course of March 18, weeks after the government ordered an unprecedented quarantine on Wuhan and other massive cities to stem the virus’ spread.
Authorities recorded a further eight deaths in Hubei due to pre-existing cases, and counted 34 new infections nationwide. Tellingly, authorities stated those new cases are from people returning from abroad.
As it stands, the number of confirmed cases in foreign nations now exceeds the figure within China, a sign of the struggle other countries face to mitigate the worst impacts of the pandemic.
Hubei remains under mass quarantine conditions, with measures limiting the movement of some 60 million people only now being relaxed.
The fight is far from over, too. Speaking to Bloomberg News, Professor Raina MacIntyre, head of biosecurity at UNSW’s Kirby Institute, said it was likely China will likely face a second wave of infections as an overwhelming proportion of the Chinese community has not acquired immunity to COVID-19.
China has counted 80,928 cases, including 70,420 recoveries. Sadly, 3,245 people have died of COVID-19 within its borders.
While stopping short of the nationwide lockdowns installed in nations like Italy, Australia has banned outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people and indoor groups of more than 100, in an attempt to stem COVID-19’s spread through the community.
As of this morning, Australia has counted 565 cases and six deaths.
If you have come into contact with someone who has the virus, you should self-isolate for 14 days. If symptoms develop you should call your doc or the Australian Government’s National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 08.