Hospital staff in the Chinese city where the coronavirus originated removed their masks ceremoniously as the country’s last emergency hospital, built to handle the crisis, was closed.
In a video that has been viewed millions of times online, workers remove their masks one by one as the camera passes them, to mark the moment.
China built 14 new hospitals, including two in Wuhan, early last month in just weeks to provide thousands of beds for the sick as the virus spread rapidly.
The country has recorded 80,824 cases of coronavirus and 3,189 deaths since the start of the outbreak at the end of last year.
But strict quarantine measures appear to have drastically reduced the number of new cases, and the country has eased up on the measures in its hardest hit region.
On Saturday health chiefs said there had been 13 new deaths and just 11 new cases, including people who recently arrived from other affected countries. More than 65,000 people have recovered from the disease in China.
Meanwhile the US and China have fallen into a war of words over coronavirus. The State Department on Friday summoned China’s ambassador to the US to complain about comments from a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman suggesting that the US army may have introduced the coronavirus to Wuhan.
The department said China’s storyline about the virus had been “shifting away from the Wuhan Huanan market since mid-January, indicating that China is trying avoid responsibility for the outbreak”.
The market, where numerous live animals that would never normally mix in the wild, were kept in close confinement in cages ready for sale for eating, was pinpointed by Chinese and other experts as the source of the virus.
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