Beijing: China on Thursday reported no new local infections for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began three months ago, reaching a milestone in its battle with the deadly outbreak that has upended daily life and economic activity around the world.
As governments in Italy, the United States and elsewhere grapple with the pandemic, China has hailed its success as evidence of what can be achieved when a vast, top-down bureaucracy that brooks no dissent is mobilized in pursuit of a single target.
The virus has killed 3,245 people in China so far, making up over a third of the global toll, Eight people died on Wednesday, all in Hubei, the province at the centre of the outbreak that began late last year in its capital city, Wuhan, where officials first said they had detected cases of a mysterious pneumonia on December 31.
Hubei has borne the brunt of the epidemic: more than 50 million people there were placed under a tight lockdown from late January, and the province’s case fatality rate, at 4.6 percent, has been several times higher than the rest of the country.
China is not out of danger from a revived contagion and instability. A vast swath of the country’s populace has been embittered by how the ruling Communist Party has handled the scourge. Questions have been raised about the accuracy of China’s statistics. And even if zero local infections has been achieved, that does not mean zero new cases.