China reports just eight new cases of coronavirus in a day

This photo taken on March 12, 2020 shows residents wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus walking along a street in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. - China reported just eight cases of the covid-19 coronavirus outbreak on March 13, with no new domestic infections outside the epicentre of Hubei province. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
China reported eight new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, according to its National Health Commission. (Picture: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

China reported just eight new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Thursday, according to a daily briefing from its National Health Commission.

The briefing said that alongside the eight new confirmed cases on March 12, there were 33 new cases of suspected infection and seven deaths - six in Hubei province and one in Shandong province.

It said 1,318 patients had been released from hospital after being cured, while 2,483 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation.

The number of serious cases decreased by 237, the commission said.

Figures from Johns Hopkins University put the total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in China at 80,942, with a total of 3,179 deaths and the total number of recovered cases at 64,184.

While numbers of coronavirus cases are rising in countries across the world, they have been falling in China - where the outbreak started - since early February.

China has been praised by experts for the way it handled the outbreak and measures it took to combat the spread of the disease.

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Parts of the country have been subject to strict regulations since January. At one point, nearly 50 cities and four provinces in China had implemented measures and restrictions.

In Hubei province, all foreigners were barred from leaving except those who were able to catch chartered flights organised by their home countries or territories, such as the US, Germany, the UK and Hong Kong.

In Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the initial outbreak, the public transport network was temporarily shut down.

Measures in areas of China also included border closures, the cancellation of incoming and outgoing flights, the halting of public transport and restriction of movement of people.

Numbers of new cases of coronavirus per day in China have been falling since February. (Picture: PA Graphics
Numbers of new cases of coronavirus per day in China have been falling since February. (Picture: PA Graphics

A WHO-China joint mission on Covid-19, led by Dr Bruce Aylward, former Assistant Director-General of the WHO and Dr Liang Wannian, praised efforts China had taken which helped prevent the number of cases from rising.

It said: “In the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history.

“The strategy that underpinned this containment effort was initially a national approach that promoted universal temperature monitoring, masking, and hand washing.

“However, as the outbreak evolved, and knowledge was gained, a science and risk-based approach was taken to tailor implementation.

“Specific containment measures were adjusted to the provincial, county and even community context, the capacity of the setting, and the nature of novel coronavirus transmission there.”