China's coronavirus death toll climbed to 2,870 with 35 new deaths, while the confirmed cases increased to 79,824 even as the infections outside the worst-hit Hubei province dropped with only three positive cases reported in a single day, continuing the trend of slowdown in the rest of the country, health officials said Sunday. The National Health Commission (NHC) said it received reports of 573 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 35 deaths on Saturday from the Chinese mainland.
Among the deaths, 34 were in Hubei and one in Henan Province. COVID-19, which at one time started spreading rapidly all over China, showed a declining trend with three new confirmed cases reported outside Hubei on Saturday. Of the 573 confirmed cases, 570 were reported from Hubei and its capital Wuhan, which remained a battle ground for the virus ever since it originated from there in December last year.
Meanwhile, 132 new suspected cases were reported, it said, adding that the number of severe cases decreased to 7,365. Among the 79,824 confirmed cases, 2,870 people have died, 35,329 patients are still being treated while 41,625 have been discharged after recovery. However, some recovered patients are showing relapse of the virus.
The commission added that 851 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus. The commission said 51,856 close contacts were still under medical observation. By the end of Saturday, 95 confirmed cases including two deaths had been reported in Hong Kong, 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 39 in Taiwan, including one death.
Meanwhile, an official report on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) released jointly by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and China's National Health Commission identified the infection as a zoonotic virus, meaning an infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that spread from animals to humans.
The report, which is based on analysis of data the WHO and Chinese health authorities gathered from February 16-24, said human-to-human transmission is largely occurring in families. The report also found that people with COVID-19 generally show symptoms within five to six days, on average, after contracting the infection, and most people infected have mild symptoms and could recover.
However, individuals, including people aged over 60 and those with underlying conditions such as hypertension face the highest risk of severe conditions and even death, the report said. COVID-19 is transmitted through droplets and fomites during close unprotected contact with those who are infected with the virus.
Airborne transmission has not been reported for COVID-19 and it is not believed to be a major source of transmission based on available evidence. The lockdown of virus-hit Wuhan and 18 other cities in Hubei with over 50 million people since January 23 has effectively prevented furtherexportation of infected individuals to the rest of the country, the report said.
ALSO READ | Coronavirus death toll in China reaches 2,592