Beijing: China's health ministry says the virus epicentre of Wuhan and its surrounding Hubei province have reported no new cases. The ministry said Thursday that results over the past 24 hours showed 34 new cases, all detected in people arriving from abroad.
Eight new deaths were reported, all in Wuhan. Wuhan at the peak reported thousands of new cases of coronavirus infection daily, overwhelming its health care system.
Of those new cases of infection, 21 were in Beijing, nine in the southern manufacturing powerhouse of Guangdong, two in Shanghai and one each in coastal Zhejiang and Heilongjing in the far northeast.
China has only just begun loosening draconian travel restrictions within the country, but has stepped-up 14-day quarantine regulations on those arriving in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere from overseas, amid expectations of a new influx of students and others returning home.
China has now recorded a total of 80,928 confirmed virus cases with 3,245 deaths. Another 70,420 people have been released from hospital and 7,263 remain in treatment.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 215,000 people and killed more than 8,700 worldwide. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 83,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
Meanwhile, scientists in China are reporting disappointing results from the first study completed on a potential COVID-19 treatment.
A combination of two antiviral drugs that are used now to treat HIV — lopinavir and ritonavir — did not resolve symptoms quicker than usual care did. The study involving 199 hospitalized, severely ill patients was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
However, "intriguing" signs were seen in some other results. There were slightly fewer deaths among those given the drugs but the comparison group that received just usual care also was sicker, making this information hard to interpret, two editors wrote in an editorial in the journal.
Many other medicines are still being tested in various experiments including remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug that has shown some promise against viruses similar to the one causing COVID-19.
Updated Date: Mar 19, 2020 10:49:45 IST