China reports dwindling new coronavirus cases, pivots to control risk from overseas

Medical personnel in protective suits distribute meals at a makeshift hospital in Wuhan on March 2, 2020.
Medical personnel in protective suits distribute meals at a makeshift hospital in Wuhan on March 2, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP, REUTERS) - China reported on Wednesday (March 4) another drop in new coronavirus cases as its attention turns to controlling the risk of infection from abroad, as clusters of the disease that originated in China appear around the world. 

Authorities have asked overseas Chinese to reconsider their travel plans, while cities across the country set up quarantine rules for those entering from high-risk places.  An infected person is known to have arrived in China from badly hit Iran last week. 

Mainland China had 119 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, the National Health Commission said, down slightly from 125 the previous day, in a broad trend that has seen numbers of new cases fall from the middle of February. 

The total number of cases on the mainland has now reached 80,270.  The number of deaths rose by 38 to bring the total toll for mainland China to 2,981 by March 3. 

All but one new death occurred in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak. Hubei reported 37 new deaths and 115 new cases. 

The number of new daily infections overseas now exceeds new cases in China, with Italy, South Korea and Iran all infection hot spots.