BEIJING — China’s National Health Commission said the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in the country has passed, as it reported the lowest number of new infections in seven weeks.

The number of new coronavirus cases continues to decline while the epidemic maintains a “lower level” overall, Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the health commission, said Thursday.

The commission earlier reported its lowest count of new coronavirus infections since it started providing daily updates seven weeks ago.

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Fifteen new coronavirus infections and 11 deaths were reported across mainland China over the past day, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 80,793, including 3,169 deaths.

The announcement came after President Xi Jinping on Tuesday visited for the first time the industrial hub of Wuhan, which is considered the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Xi struck a triumphal tone as he declared the virus “basically curbed” in Hubei province, home to Wuhan, and a “victory” nationwide, according to Xinhua news agency.


Meanwhile, South Korea reported its lowest number of daily infections of the novel coronavirus in two weeks, with figures on Thursday showing 114 new cases and six more deaths, according to Yonhap news agency.

This brings the total number of cases to 7,869 and the death toll up to 66, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

In Japan, the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection has steadily increased to 1,337, including about 700 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the port of Yokohama. A total of 23 people have died of Covid-19, the government said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced an economic stimulus package worth 17.6 billion Australian dollars (11.4 billion US dollars) on Thursday to counter the financial impacts of the virus pandemic.

Australia has 126 cases, including three deaths as of Thursday.

Also in Australia, US actor Tom Hanks said on Twitter he and his wife have tested positive for coronavirus in the country’s Gold Coast region and are in isolation.

Sydney Opera House, where Wilson performed on Saturday, said it was cleaning its premises with hospital-grade disinfectant and coordianting with state health authorities, patrons and staff who may have been in contact with the duo.


In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte was tested for Covid-19 after being exposed to an official who tested positive for the virus last week, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

The president did not have symptoms, the spokesman added.

The Asian Development Bank on Thursday to temporarily closed its headquarters in Manila to disinfect the premises after receiving information that a recent visitor has tested positive for the disease. All staff were working from home, the bank said.

In a separate statement, the bank said it was making available 200 million dollars in financing for companies manufacturing and distributing medicines and other items needed to combat the outbreak.

Shoppers in Taiwan placed 88,000 orders for surgical masks in five hours after they became available to buy online on Thursday, the government said.

Amid fears of supply shortages due to the spread of Covid-19, the Taiwan government banned surgical mask exports in January and on February 6 implemented a rationing system of two masks per person per week.

As of Thursday, Taiwan has reported 49 cases, including one death.

All schools, colleges and cinemas in the Indian capital have been closed until March 31 as measures to check the spread of spread of coronavirus, officials announced on Thursday.


Bangladesh’s major airlines have decided to suspend all passenger flights to India after its next-door neighbour slapped a month-long travel ban in the wake of global coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Thursday.

Coronavirus case numbers in Malaysia and Singapore remain by a distance the highest in South-East Asia, at 149 and 187 respectively as of Wednesday evening.

In announcing nine new cases on Thursday Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned that the pandemic could last over a year.

On Thursday, Malaysia’s Health Ministry urged the postponement of all “mass gatherings” after it emerged that an estimated 5,000-10,000 people met at an Islamic ceremony in Kuala Lumpur in late February that was also attended by a Bruneian who subsequently tested positive for the virus.

In French Polynesia, a member of the French National Assembly was diagnosed with the disease, according to President President Edouard Fritch. It was the first confirmed case of coronavrius in the Pacific Islands region.

In Sri Lanka, the government on Thursday shut down all schools until April 20 in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Panic among parents has led the government to announce the holidays,” said Education Minister Dullas Alahapperuma.


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