Coronavirus: China reports no new deaths for first time since pandemic began

Wuhan quarantine set to be lifted after no further cases in Hubei province

Peter Stubley
Tuesday 07 April 2020 08:51 BST
Coronavirus in numbers

China has reported no new deaths from coronavirus for the first time since it began issuing daily briefings on the outbreak more than two months ago.

In its latest update, the country’s health ministry said there were 32 confirmed cases and 12 suspected cases recorded over the last 24 hours.

All were listed as “imported” in people who had returned to China from overseas. None were reported in Hubei province, the original epicentre of the pandemic which has so far caused nearly 75,000 deaths worldwide.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, is set to ease restrictions further on Wednesday by allowing people to leave the city for the first time since the lockdown began in January.

Officials said they would permit anyone with a “green code” on an official smartphone app to depart the area.

China now has 1,242 confirmed cases being treated including 211 in serious condition. A total of 77,167 patients have been cured and discharged from hospital.

In total it has reported 81,740 confirmed cases and 3,331 deaths from Covid-19, although US intelligence agencies have accused the Chinese government of minimising the severity of the outbreak. Donald Trump, who has himself played down the seriousness of coronavirus, claimed last week that China’s figures are “a little on the light side”.

The new figures were announced as more than 160 current and former global leaders – including three former UK prime ministers – called for coordinated international action to find a cure for coronavirus and prevent a second wave of infection later this year.

In an open letter to the governments of the G20 group of the world’s most wealthy nations, they called for $8bn (£6.5bn) in emergency health funding to find a cure for coronavirus and prevent a second wave of infection later this year.

The leaders also urged the international community to waive this year’s debt repayments from poorer countries, including 44 billion dollars (£36 billion) due from Africa.

“We are writing to call for immediate internationally coordinated action – within the next few days – to address our deepening global health and economic crises from Covid-19,” they said.

“All health systems – even the most sophisticated and best funded – are buckling under the pressures of the virus. Yet if we do nothing as the disease spreads in poorer African, Asian, and Latin American cities and in fragile communities which have little testing equipment, ventilators, and medical supplies, and where social distancing and even washing hands are difficult to achieve, COVID-19 will persist there and re-emerge to hit the rest of the world with further rounds that will prolong the crisis.”

They add: “The longer-term solution is a radical rethink of global public health and a refashioning – together with proper resourcing – of the global health and financial architecture. The United Nations, the governments of the G20 nations, and interested partners should work together to coordinate further action.”

The letter has been signed by John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the former UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, financier George Soros, Bertie Ahern and former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd.

Additional reporting by agencies

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