BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's central province of Hubei, excluding the provincial capital Wuhan, reported zero new cases of coronavirus over 24 hours for the first time during the outbreak, as the authorities continued to contain imported infections in other parts of the country.
Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic, reported 126 new confirmed cases on Thursday (March 5) but there were no new infections in the province apart from those, the National Health Commission said on Friday.
Outside of Hubei, there were 17 new confirmed cases, bringing the total new infections in mainland China to 143 on Thursday, up from 139 cases a day earlier.
Of the 17 new cases, 16 were imported from outside of China - 11 in Gansu, four in Beijing and one in Shanghai.
A total of 311 passengers arriving at Gansu's provincial capital of Lanzhou from Iran were quarantined, state television reported late on Thursday.
Last month, Gansu became the first province to lower its emergency response measures from level I to level III, reflecting the lack of new infections. Before the new cases, Gansu had reported a total of 91 infections, with two deaths.
Beijing's four cases were from Italy.
As new cases dwindle in China, attention has turned to potential infections arriving from overseas.
The uthorities in Beijing, Shanghai and the province of Guangdong have all vowed to quarantine travellers from countries hit the hardest by the coronavirus, which Beijing identified as South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy.
Shanghai has also been tracing people who came into contact with a traveller from Iran who was found to be carrying the virus.
The overall accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China stood at 80,552 as of Thursday.
The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China was 3,042 as of the end of Thursday, up by 30 from the previous day.
Hubei reported 29 new deaths, while in Wuhan, 23 people died.