KEY POINTS

  • Officials from China's National Health Commission reported no new locally trasmitted cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began
  • The 34 new confirmed cases were reportedly "imported" from overseas
  • Its the fifth straight day in China where the number of imported cases was greater than locally transmitted cases

Chinese health officials said Thursday there were no new cases of locally transmitted novel coronavirus for the first time since the pandemic began in December and any new cases reportedly were imported.

China's National Health Commission said during a press conference Wednesday was the first day with no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Hubei province, where the pandemic began. Officials had since discovered 34 new cases, all of which were blamed on overseas sources. It’s also the fifth straight day where China has reported more imported cases than local cases.

The news was dampened by eight reported deaths in Hubei because of the virus, bringing the official death toll in China to 3,245.

Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan credited the reported success on the “aggressive” measures the country took to quarantine and monitor the pandemic.

“I think many countries should take measures [based on] the intervention mechanism invented in China,” Zhong told the South China Morning Post. “Upstream control is an ancient way but effective. The core points are the 'four earlys': early prevention, early detection, early diagnosis and early quarantine.”

Wuhan official Wang Zhonglin said residents of the city were “thankful” for the action, but Chinese journalist Chu Zhaoxin took issue on WeChat.

“If this is Wang Zhonglin’s idea, I think he needs to educate himself,” Zhaoxin said. “You are a public servant, and your job is to serve the people. Now the people you serve are broken, the dead are still cold, and the tears of the living have not yet dried. The sick have not yet recovered, and much of their dissatisfaction is completely reasonable. Rather than blaming the people in Wuhan you serve for not being grateful, you should reflect and be ashamed because you and your team are not working properly.”

Zhaoxin’s statements, along with other criticism, have since been censored by the Chinese government.

The steps taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 has exacted a toll on China as its economy has been one of the hardest hit and millions of citizens have endured one of the strictest lockdowns in the world.

COVID-19 cases are soaring, with more than 200,000 confirmed globally since cases emerged in Wuhan late last year COVID-19 cases are soaring, with more than 200,000 confirmed globally since cases emerged in Wuhan late last year Photo: AFP / STR