February 28, 2020 / 7:06 AM / a month ago

New coronavirus cases in mainland China fall to lowest since January

BEIJING (Reuters) - Mainland China had 327 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Thursday, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday, down from 433 cases a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 23.

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing masks are seen arrival at the Shanghai railway station in Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

That brings the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 78,824.

China’s central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, had 318 new confirmed cases, down from 409 cases a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 24.

Excluding Hubei, mainland China reported just nine new cases on Thursday, down from 24 a day earlier.

The provincial capital of Wuhan reported 313 confirmed cases, down from 383 a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 26.

The death toll in mainland China reached 2,788 as of the end of Thursday, up by 44 from the previous day.

Hubei reported 41 new deaths on Thursday, while in Wuhan, 28 people died.

But there are signs that some recovered patients still may be virus carriers.

Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party of China’s official People’s Daily newspaper, said on Friday two coronavirus patients in Jiangsu province who had been initially discharged were re-hospitalised after testing positive again.

It was unclear why these patients tested positive again and authorities did not clarify if they were counted as new infection cases.

Philip Tierno Jr., Professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU School of Medicine, told Reuters on Thursday the coronavirus could remain dormant with minimal symptoms and then reactivate.

Song Tie, vice-director of the local disease control centre in southeast China’s Guangdong province, told a press briefing on Wednesday that as many as 14% of discharged patients in the province have tested positive again and had been taken back into hospital for observation.

Reporting by Huizhong Wu and Ryan Woo; Additional Reporting by Se Young Lee, David Stanway, Cate Cadell and Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Michael Perry

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