China Passes Major Milestone in Fight Against Coronavirus

Beijing says there were no new local infections
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2020 3:13 AM CDT
China Reports No New Local COVID-19 Infections
Residents walk past a retail and office district with a screen showing propaganda which reads "Go China! Go Wuhan" as businesses slowly restart in Beijing on Sunday, March 8, 2020.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Three months after reports of a mysterious new virus in Wuhan, China, foreshadowed a global pandemic, the country reported a major milestone in its battle against the coronavirus Thursday. Officials say that for the first time since the outbreak began, there were no new locally transmitted infections and no new cases at all in Hubei province, where the capital, Wuhan, has been locked down since Jan. 23, the Guardian reports. There were, however, 34 new coronavirus cases in China among people who recently returned to the country from overseas. Singapore is also experiencing a second wave of infections, with 33 of the 47 new cases reported Wednesday occurring among recent arrivals, mostly returning residents, the BBC reports.

While experts say any statistics from China—which initially tried to hush up the outbreak—should be treated with caution, the harsh measures it introduced to stop the spread of the virus appear to have been successful. Restrictions are being eased in some areas, but schools remain closed and restrictions on travel within the country remain in place. "It’s very clear that the actions taken in China have almost brought to an end their first wave of infections," Ben Cowlin at Hong Kong University’s School of Public Health tells the New York Times. "The question is what will happen if there’s a second wave because the kind of measures that China has implemented are not necessarily sustainable in the long term." (More coronavirus stories.)

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