The last COVID-19 patient in Wuhan has been discharged and the hospitals in the epicentre of the global coronavirus pandemic in the central Chinese city have no coronavirus cases for the first time after more than three months of arduous battle against the deadly virus that infected over 80,000 people on the mainland, health officials said.
China's National Health Commission (NHC) announced on Monday that three new confirmed coronavirus cases, including two from the Chinese returning from abroad and one local transmission were reported on Sunday. The overall death toll stood at 4,633 and no new fatalities were reported on Sunday. The overall confirmed cases in China reached 82,830 by Sunday, including 723 patients still being treated and 77,474 people who had been discharged.
Altogether 80 patients were discharged from the hospitals after recovery on Sunday, while the number of severe cases increased by one to 52, the NHC said. Meanwhile, after more than three months of fight against the deadly virus, Wuhan where coronavirus first emerged in December last and became a pandemic, cleared all COVID-19 cases in hospitals on Sunday.
The outcome was earned through the hard work of medical workers in Wuhan and those sent from across the country, Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the NHC, was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency. This came as a 77-year-old man surnamed Ding tested negative for the second time for coronavirus in the capital city of Hubei Province, the report said.
He no longer had clinical symptoms and was able to be discharged, an official with Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said. Sunday's announcement was a new testament that the local spread of COVID-19 in the country has basically been curbed, it said. It was also a milestone for Wuhan. This came five days after its cases dropped to double digits and less than 70 days after daily hospitalised cases peaked at 38,020, Xinhua reported.
"It is a historic day," said Shang You, a critical care unit doctor in Wuhan. "We have been waiting for this day for so long." As of Sunday, 627 Chinese who has returned from abroad were being treated with 22 in severe condition, the NHC said. Also on Sunday, 25 new asymptomatic cases, including one from abroad, were reported on the mainland.
The NHC said 974 suspected asymptomatic cases, including 131 from abroad, were still under medical observation. Asymptomatic cases refer to people who tested positive for the coronavirus but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. They are infectious and pose a risk of spreading to others. The novel coronavirus is believed to have originated in a wet market in Wuhan and first emerged in December before spreading quickly worldwide.
Beginning January 23, Wuhan was put under a lockdown that lasted 76 days. In Wuhan, scores of hospitals were designated to treat COVID-19 patients and 16 temporary hospitals were set up, opening up 60,000 hospital beds to meet the surging demand. Over 42,000 medical workers were sent to Hubei from across the country, as well as key medical supplies such as ventilators, protective suits, masks and daily necessities.
Since February 18, the cases in Wuhan have been on the decline. As of the end of Saturday, Wuhan had reported a total of 50,333 confirmed cases and 3,869 deaths. The recovery rate has topped 92 per cent. In Hubei, no new confirmed cases have been reported for over 20 days, and the number of remaining cases dropped below 50, the report said.
Life is returning to normal. Hubei's work resumption rate of major industrial firms has reached 98.2 percent and most of their workers have got back to work. Schools will soon open. Students in the final year of senior high schools in Hubei are expected to return to classes on May 6, it said. Officials said for the next step Wuhan must keep guarding against imported cases while preventing a resurgence of the outbreak.