China reports zero locally transmitted coronavirus cases outside Hubei
In this March 2, 2020, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, centre, wearing a protective face mask, talks to a medical staff member during his visit to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing. (Xinhua via AP)
Mainland China, outside Hubei province, reported no new locally transmitted cases for the second straight day, as a senior Communist Party official warned against reducing vigilance against the disease and of the risk to social stability.
"We must stay cautious, not be blindly optimistic and must not have war-weariness...," said Chen Yixin, secretary-general of the Communist Party's Politics and Law Commission.
"We should not reduce the vigilance against the epidemic and the requirements of prevention and control."
China had 40 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Marcy 8, the National Health Commission said on March 9, down from 44 cases a day earlier, and the lowest number since the health authority started publishing nationwide data on Jan. 20.
Of the new cases on March 8, 36 were new infections in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, while the remaining four in Gansu province were imported from Iran.
The total number of imported cases hit 67, including the four Gansu cases.
The new cases on March 8 bring the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 80,735.
While the domestic spread of the virus has significantly slowed in recent days, authorities continue to be mindful of risks stemming from people - foreigners and Chinese nationals - traveling back to China from affected regions.
Shanghai stepped up airport screening over the weekend as imported coronavirus infections from countries such as Italy and Iran emerged as the biggest source of imported cases in China.
China is also conscious of the tens of millions of migrant workers returning to offices, malls and factories and the potential transmission risks.
Chen acknowledged that while the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan is improving, control and prevention work is still arduous, according to a statement posted on the commission's Wechat account on March 9.
Huge epidemics may bring risk to social stability, he said, recommending that the government take precautions and make early plans to ensure peace and stability in society.
Public spaces and amenities are showing signs of resuming operations.
Wuhan's Tianhe International Airport said in a statement on its Weibo microblog that it was preparing to resume work, taking measures such as staff training, equipment maintenance and security inspections. However this does not indicate a specific date for resuming commercial operations has been determined.
Meanwhile, Walt Disney Co's Shanghai Disneyland said on March 9 it will resume a limited number of operations at its resort as part of the first step of a phased reopening, though the main theme park will remain shut.
It said that a limited number of shopping, dining, and recreational activities would be available at Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel though they will operate under limited capacity and reduced hours of operation. The resort had been closed since Jan. 25 amid the virus outbreak.
As of the end of March 8, 58,600 patients had been discharged from Chinese hospitals. Authorities are aware of the potential for re-infection, and have told recently recovered patients to go into quarantine for 14 days after being discharged.
On March 7, a small hotel used to quarantine people under observation in Fujian province collapsed, killing 10.
Of the 71 people inside the hotel in Quangzhou city at the time of the collapse, 58 had been under quarantine, the Quangzhou city government said.
The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China reached 3,119 as of the end of March 8, up 22 from the previous day.
Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, reported 21 new deaths. In Wuhan, 18 people died.
Total deaths outside of mainland China have surpassed 500, with the number of fatalities dominated by Italy and Iran. Cases continue to rise in other countries, including the United States.
South Korea reported 69 new coronavirus cases on March 8, bringing the country's total infections to 7,382, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Saudi Arabia reported four new coronavirus cases on March 9, bringing the total of registered cases to 15, its health ministry said in a statement. The ministry added that new cases include 1 Saudi national, 2 Bahrainis and 1 American.
Earlier on March 9, Saudi Arabia suspended travel to nine countries for its citizens and residents amid coronavirus fears and suspended the entry of people from those countries or anyone who has been there in the past 14 days.
The nine countries are the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, South Korea, Egypt, Italy and Iraq.
Egypt reported its first fatality from the coronavirus on March 8, with the Health Ministry saying a 60-year-old German tourist, who had arrived in the country seven days ago and was taken to hospital in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, had died.
Late on March 8, the ministry said in a statement that Egypt registered seven new cases - four foreigners and three Egyptians - bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 55.
Meanwhile, Albania reported its first coronavirus infections on March 9, in a father and son who had returned from Italy.
The two were in stable condition and they did not have complications, the health ministry said just after midnight on Before the confirmation of the first two cases, health officials had tested some 60 cases with no sign of the virus.
More than 400,000 Albanians live in neighboring Italy across the Adriatic Sea.