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Press Release on the Outbreak of COVID-19, 12 February

(12 February)

As of 11 February, in mainland China, 44,653 confirmed cases had been reported, among which 4,740 were cured and discharged from hospital, 1,113 died, and 38,800 still under treatment. There was 16,067 suspected cases pending test results in mainland China as of 11 February.

The good news are: First, the number of new confirmed cases outside Hubei dropped to 377, declining for the eighth consecutive day; Second, the number of new confirmed cases in Hubei dipped below 2,000 for the first time; Third, there is a notable rise in cure rates nationwide. The cure rates in Wuhan, Hubei and across China rose to 6.2%, 6.1% and 8.2% respectively as compared to 2.6%, 1.7% and 1.3% by 27 January.

According to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, 99% of the COVID-19 cases are in China, and 97% of deaths are in Hubei province. Dr. Tedros commended China's strategy in fighting the disease at the 146th meeting of the WHO Executive Board. He said that China's strategy is to take serious measures at the epicenter, at the source, in order to protect the Chinese people and prevent the spread of the virus to other countries. "If it weren't for China's efforts, the number of cases outside China would have been very much higher," Dr. Tedros stressed. An advance team of international experts led by the WHO has arrived in China. They will conduct in-depth exchanges with their Chinese counterparts on the situation as well as the prevention and control of the epidemic.

By 11 February, altogether 27 foreign nationals in China are confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus, and none of them are Tanzanians. Among the 27 confirmed cases, 7 have been cured and discharged from hospital, 2 have died (one American, one Japanese), and 18 are receiving treatment in isolation.

We note that Tanzanian Ambassador to China H.E. Mbelwa Kairuki has been maintaining close contacts with Tanzanian students in Wuhan. We echo the Ambassador's advice that the safest way proposed by the WHO is to stay in Wuhan, avoid crowding and adhere to hygiene and isolation regulations.

The Hubei provincial government has taken a number of measures to protect foreign students against virus infection and to meet their needs for daily necessities and psychological guidance, including setting up special teams to take care of foreign students, provision of free meals everyday, and masks as well as disinfectants regularly, arranging Chinese staff to purchase articles for daily use according to foreign students' requests, and opening of 41 hot-lines to offer assistance in daily life and psychological counseling.

China's economy is resilient and China has the strength, resources and ability to deal with the emergency. Currently, except in Hubei province, people have been gradually returning to work in all other parts of China. China's central bank has recently sent a powerful message of its intention to support the economy with injection of liquidity into the markets so as to drive the interest rates low. The bank also made a special policy arrangement by providing preferential loans totaling RMB 300 billion ($43 billion) to key enterprises engaged in the production, transportation or sale of vital medical supplies and daily necessities. We are confident that China will not only win the anti-epidemic battle, but minimize the impact of the epidemic on its economy.

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