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New coronavirus cases decline by half in China’s Hubei hotspot

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, inspects the Beijing Ditan Hospital, a designated institution treating the novel coronavirus pneumonial in Beijing, Feb 10, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – China’s National Health Commission Monday reported a significant decline in the number of newly detected coronavirus cases in Hubei Province which hosts Wuhan City, the epicenter of the epidemic that has so far killed more than 3,000 people globally.

China accounts for the highest number of deaths at 2,912.

The country’s embassy in Kenya said in a statement to newsrooms only 196 cases were reported in Hubei on March 1, representing a 52 per cent reduction compared to cases reported a week earlier.

“The past week saw the continuing decrease in the number of newly confirmed and newly suspected cases, and rise of recovery rate (up to 52.1 per cent), indicating that the overall situation of the epidemic prevention and control across the country continues to improve,” the dispatch by China’s mission in Nairobi read.

The embassy also said 2,570 patients were discharged.

It further noted that zero fatalities were reported adding only six cases were reported outside Hubei Province two of which were imported.

The number of confirmed cases was reported at 80,026 as at March 1, out of which 44,462 were cured.

“People infected receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatments include care to support vital organ functions. It is more depended on patients’ immune system to combat the virus at this moment,” an embassy official told Capital FM News Tuesday morning.

“It is proved that compared with SARS, the coronavirus is more infectious but less dangerous,” she added.

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Additionally, the Chinese government closed Wuhan’s makeshift hospital signaling progress made in eliminating new coronavirus infections.

The city however remained on lockdown amid an acute shortage of basic commodities including food.

The Chinese embassy said the central government was now producing over 110 million face masks a day, twelve times what was being produced in February, to bolster preventive measures.

“The consistent rise in both capacity and output further narrowed down the supply deficit,” the embassy noted.

The reported decline in new infections within China came even as the Kenyan government worked to establish an isolation facility in Nairobi amid public discontent on the country’s preparedness to prevent the importation of the deadly virus.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) Monday said it was stocking face masks, beds and thermometers as part of measures to combat the global spread of coronavirus which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency.

“We had initially encountered an obstacle because of the lack of the masks, but now we have identified a some retailers who have them and we have asked them to set aside a certain quantity for us because we as a government intend to buy them and supply them to Kenyans as is our responsibility,” KEMSA Chief Executive Officer Jonah Manjari said.

Manjari said KEMSA had submitted the price quotations for the items to the government for budgeting.

“The government sent us a list of the items they will require and through our forecasting and quantification process we gave the specifications to ensure that each item meets the stipulated quality standards,” he noted.

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“We did the costings and returned the list back to concerned government ministries and when the finalize with their evaluation they will return it to us with their budget so that we can set procurement,” Manjari stated.

He further said the agency was finalizing the process of equipping the Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi to act as a quarantine centre for any suspected coronavirus case.

President Uhuru Kenyatta issued an Executive Order on Saturday, February 29, requiring the completion of a 120-bed capacity facility at Mbagathi Hospital within 7 days as a proactive measure in the event a coronavirus outbreak is reported in the country.

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