For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak started, China has reported no new domestic transmissions of Covid-19, a major milestone in the country’s fight against the pandemic.
China’s national health commission said that there were 34 new cases, but all were recent overseas arrivals. In Hubei, the Chinese province where the outbreak began, there were no new cases of any kind on March 18.
On March 18, officials in Hubei’s Wuhan city, where the pandemic began late last year, loosened restrictions further, allowing people in residential compounds deemed “virus free” to leave their homes to conduct individual “personal activities” in staggered groups within the grounds, at certain times of the day. In areas that have been without infections for seven consecutive days, residents can go out freely as long as they do not gather in groups. Officials said 5,600 residential areas, or 78% of the residential areas in the city, are virus-free.
While the Asian nations that were first affected appeared to have come through the worst of it, there are now concerns about a second wave of infections, driven by people returning from overseas.