12 March 2020
Beijing: China on Thursday said the peak of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country was over, hours after the World Health Organization declared the epidemic outbreak as a pandemic.
New cases keep declining and the overall epidemic situation remains at a low level in China, Xinhua news agency quoted Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission, as saying at a press conference here.
Mi said the number of new confirmed cases Hubei province's capital city of Wuhan, also the epicentre of the outbreak, has dropped to a single digit, with only eight cases reported on Wednesday.
No new cases had been reported in other cities of Hubei for a week in a row, Mi said.
Only seven new cases were reported on the Chinese mainland outside Hubei, but six were imported from overseas, he added.
Mi said the top priority should be given to treating patients and vowed no relaxation or loose efforts in the epidemic prevention and control work.
This developed as the WHO announced that the COVID-19 outbreak can be characterized as a "pandemic" as the virus spreads increasingly worldwide.
There are now more than 118,000 confirmed cases in 114 countries and regions, and 4,291 people have lost their lives, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, noting that the number of coronavirus cases, deaths and affected countries was expected to climb even higher in the days and weeks ahead.
The WHO's characterization of the COVID-19 outbreak as a "pandemic" was to call on its members once again to make further political commitment and put in more resources to turn things around in the battle against the disease, Mi said.
"China is paying close attention to the current rapid global spread of the epidemic, and can empathize with other countries in terms of the pressure in prevention and control," Mi said.
As of Thursday, the overall coronavirus death toll in China, the epicentre of the outbreak, was 3,169, with a total of 80,793 cases.
Globally, there were 123,825 confirmed cases, with 4,620 fatalities.