China’s efforts to slow the spread of the Coronavirus appear to be paying off after the country claimed it’s lowest number of new cases in a 24-hour period since reporting began on January 20.
According China’s National Health Commission, there were 40 confirmed new cases on Sunday, four less than Saturday.
Overall there have been more than 80 000 confirmed cases in China, with slightly more than 3000 of those resulting in deaths.
After China, South Korea has the second number of confirmed Coronavirus cases; just under 7500 as per the latest update on Monday (13.30 GMT).
The country is however hopeful that they’ve seen the worse and that their efforts to curb the virus’ spread are working.
“We are hoping that we have passed the peak, taking the numbers into consideration, and cautiously expecting we have passed the peak,” South Korean Health Minister Park Neunghoo said in an interview with CNN.
One reason behind the drop in infection rates is that the government in South Korea has been rolling out free and easy testing kits to the public.
“Detecting patients at an early stage is very important and we learned the simple lessons by dealing with this virus that this is very contagious – and once it starts, it spreads very quickly and in very wide areas,” Park explained.
“Raising the testing capability is very important because that way, you can detect someone who’s carrying the virus, then you can contain the virus.”
After South Korea, Italy and Iran are the worst affected, with more than 7000 confirmed cases in each of those countries.
The number of fatalities has been soaring in Italy, with 133 deaths announced on Sunday. Overall, 366 people have died in that country, the second-highest number after China. By comparison, only 50 deaths have been reported in South Korea.
In response to the alarming statistics, Italy has now placed a quarter of its population – around 16 million people – under quarantine lockdown until 3 April.
Italy has one of the world’s biggest populations of old people, who are more susceptible to becoming infected.
There have also been several reports in Italy of prisoners attempting to escape, or revolting against a ban on family visits, with fatalities, reported.
In Iran, approximately 70,000 prisoners have been released due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, the number of cases in western Europe is continuing to climb fast – France and Germany have around 1200 cases each, with Spain having a little less than 1000 confirmed infections.
The number of cases in the United States has passed the 500 mark, with 22 reported deaths.
Around 35 states have reported cases, with Washington State (137 cases, 19 deaths), New York State (106 cases) and California (89 cases including one death) the worst hit.
Stock markets have also taken a major knock and the price of Brent crude oil – seen as a global benchmark – plummeted by around 25% in the last 24 hours.