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397 new COVID-19 cases in nation, resuming downward trend

By Hou Liqiang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-02-22 10:13
A recovered patient is discharged from hospital in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Feb 20, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Chinese mainland reported 397 additional infections of COVID-19, an epidemic caused by a novel coronavirus, over the course of Friday, bringing the total number of cases up to 76,288, according to the National Health Commission.

As of Friday midnight, the pathogen had claimed 2,345 lives on the Chinese mainland and 109 of them died of it on the day, according to data released by the National Health Commission on Saturday morning.

Despite a Thursday spike primarily caused by a rash of cases from prisons, the daily reported infections in regions outside Hubei province, the center of the outbreak, resumed its downward trend with only 31 cases counted on Friday.

Previously, the number of new infections outside Hubei had declined for 16 straight days to 45 cases on Wednesday.

On Thursday, however, the downward trend was disrupted with 258 cases added in these regions, and 200 of them were reported from a prison in Jining, Shandong province.

The national commission said 1,361 suspected cases were added on Friday and there are now 5,365 such cases across the Chinese mainland.

Among the 53,284 patients that are under medical treatment, 11,477 exhibit serious symptoms. A total of 20,659 people have been released from hospitals after their recovery as of Friday at midnight, it continued.

A total of 113,564 people that have had close contact with infected patients are still under medical observation, it added.

The national commission also revised the total infections as of midnight Wednesday and Thursday to 75,002 and 75,891 respectively, following a revision done by Hubei province.

The province revised the number of new infections reported over the course of Wednesday from 349 to 775, according to a media release from the provincial commission late on Friday.

The revision was announced after Hubei leading authorities banned deductions from already reported confirmed cases, despite changes in the national way of defining confirmed infections.

“(The newly minted) Hubei Party Chief Ying Yong has demanded that the cases that have already been deducted should be reversed,” Tu Yuanchao, deputy director of Hubei Provincial Health Commission, said at a Friday conference.

The ban was introduced against the backdrop that the sixth, the latest, and the fifth edition of the treatment and diagnosis plan published by the National Health Commission contradict each other on the definition of confirmed cases.

The sixth edition, which was published on Wednesday, excludes clinical diagnosis as one of the means that could confirm infections.

Hubei province, the center of the COVID-19 outbreak, reported 366 new cases and 106 additional deaths over the course of Friday, according to the commission.

The latest daily increases have brought up the total infections and fatalities in the province to 63,454 and 2,250 respectively. Most of the infections and deaths occurred in its provincial capital Wuhan, ground zero of the outbreak, it said.

The national commission also said 47,647 people sickened by the virus are still hospitalized in Hubei province as of Friday midnight. Among them, 10,892 exhibit serious symptoms.

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