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Corona updates: China’s president visits hotspot, in signal that worst of outbreak over

China’s President Xi Jinping has visited the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, amid a drop in the number of infections and deaths and in a sign that the worst of the epidemic may be over in the country.

Xi was scheduled to “visit and express regards to medical workers, military officers and soldiers, community workers, police officers, officials, and volunteers who have been fighting the epidemic on the front line, as well as patients and residents during the inspection” of the city on Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua reported.

China had imposed a lockdown on Wuhan, a city of roughly 11 million people where the virus first emerged, in a move that has since appeared to be effective at curbing its spread.

The visit by President Xi comes as the spread of the virus in mainland China has slowed down sharply over the past week.

China’s National Health Commission said on Tuesday that mainland China had registered only 19 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Monday, down from 40 a day earlier. The new cases brought the total number of confirmed cases in China to 80,754.

China also reported only 17 more deaths, raising the death toll from the virus to 3,136 as of Monday.

Coronavirus in China: No new local cases out of Hubei for 3rd day

Coronavirus in China: No new local cases out of Hubei for 3rd dayChina has confirmed 17 new coronavirus deaths, the lowest since January, raising the total number of fatalities in the country to 3,136.

The downward trends in the tallies, together with the presidential visit to Wuhan, indicate that Beijing may have won the war on its coronavirus outbreak, although the fight on the disease itself is far from over. On Tuesday, Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located, said it would implement a “health code” system to permit people in areas at a medium or low risk of contracting the coronavirus to begin traveling.

But most other countries are witnessing the initial phases of outbreaks of their own.

Tallies drop in South Korea, too

Meanwhile, the number of new daily infections in South Korea — the country the worst hit after China — dropped to its lowest level in 11 days on Monday.

Thirty five new infections were confirmed, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in South Korea to 7,513, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

The plunge in the South Korean outbreak comes as most of the roughly 200,000 followers of a fringe Christian church, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, have been tested.

“Those infected but not yet tested may spread the infection within local communities, so we cannot say the situation is safe yet,” Yoon Tae-ho, the overall officer of disinfection at Central Disaster Management Headquarters, said at a news briefing.

Canada records first coronavirus death

Canada has recorded its first death from the coronavirus — recently named COVID-19 — in the westernmost province of British Columbia.

The victim, a man living at an elderly care facility, “was infected with COVID-19 (and) passed away last night,” Bonnie Henry, the province’s health officer, told reporters on Monday.

Two other residents of the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver and two caregivers were also diagnosed with the virus.

Canada has reported over 70 confirmed cases so far.

French culture minister tests positive for coronavirus

The coronavirus has also infected government officials in different countries. France’s Culture Minister Franck Riester tested positive for the virus on Monday, the Culture Ministry said.

The ministry said Riester had spent several days last week at the country’s lower house, the National Assembly, where five cases had earlier been confirmed.

France recorded 286 new infection cases on Monday, raising the total number to 1,412. And 25 people have died of the virus in France so far.

Iraq orders lockdown on Najaf

In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, Iraqi authorities ordered a lockdown on Najaf Province — a major destination for Shia Muslim pilgrims — for non-residents for a week starting Wednesday, the state news agency reported Monday.

Iraq has reported six deaths from the virus, while the total number of recorded infections in the country stands at 61.

Saudi Arabia to fine people over coronavirus

Also on Monday, Saudi Arabia announced that it would impose fines of up to 133,000 dollars on people who do not disclose accurate health information and travel details at the country’s entry points.

Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry said on Monday that it had detected five new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the kingdom to 20.

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