Latest developments in epidemic control on Feb 29 (1)
Updated: February 29, 2020 08:04 Xinhua

BEIJING — China has stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here are the latest developments:

— Premier Li Keqiang on Feb 28 called for greater breakthroughs in the development of efficient detection reagents, effective drugs and vaccines to fight the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

— China will guide financial institutions to issue extra low-interest loans totaling 300 billion yuan (around $42.82 billion) to self-employed businesses to help them counter the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a guideline issued by the Ministry of Finance and other five government departments.

Self-employed businesses will also see a cut in their social insurance contributions, rent and value-added tax burdens, the guideline said, promising easier access to the market for these businesses.

— The rapid rise in the novel coronavirus cases in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, and the center of the outbreak, has been contained, Liang Wannian, head of the Chinese expert panel on outbreak response and disposal, said on Feb 28. 

The number of daily new confirmed infections, new suspected cases, the proportion of severe and critical cases in confirmed cases, and the mortality rate have all been declining, he said.

— Wuhan has over 5,000 spare beds in 16 temporary hospitals, which were converted from gyms, exhibition centers and other facilities to cope with a shortage of beds amid the coronavirus outbreak, said Ma Xiaowei, director of the National Health Commission, on Feb 28. 

Ma told a press conference in Wuhan that the daily number of patients discharged from such hospitals, designed for patients with mild symptoms, has greatly exceeded the number of new cases.

— China has offered plasma therapy for 245 COVID-19 patients by Feb 28, and 91 cases have shown improvement in clinical indicators and symptoms, a health official said on Feb 28.

—China's forestry and grassland authority have moved to strengthen the protection of wild animals, as part of the efforts to implement the country's new decision on thoroughly banning the illegal trading of wildlife.

— China's education authorities are carrying out a prudent study on the arrangement of this year's college entrance exam amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, an official said on Feb 28.

— China has vowed to roll out policies to address difficulties in employment and graduation faced by university graduates amid the coronavirus outbreak in the hard-hit Hubei province, Vice-Minister of Education Weng Tiehui said on Feb 28.

— China reported 327 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and 44 deaths on Feb 27 from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the health authority said on Feb 28.

Among the deaths, 41 were in Hubei province, two in Beijing and one in the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

Nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Feb 27 were outside Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

— The daily number of newly cured and discharged COVID-19 patients on the Chinese mainland has surpassed that of new infections for the 10th consecutive day.

Feb 27 saw 3,622 people on the mainland walk out of hospital after recovery, much higher than the new confirmed infections of 327.

A total of 36,117 patients infected with COVID-19 had been discharged from the hospital by the end of Feb 27.

— Hubei province reported 318 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and 41 new deaths on Feb 27.

Five new confirmed cases were reported outside the provincial capital Wuhan on Feb 27.

The latest report brought the number of total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 65,914 and total deaths to 2,682.

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