BEIJING: China reported its fewest new coronavirus infections since January on Tuesday (Feb 18) and its lowest daily death toll for a week, but the World Health Organization said data suggesting the epidemic had slowed should still be viewed with caution.
The head of a leading hospital in China's central city of Wuhan, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, died of the disease, becoming one of the most prominent victims since the disease first appeared at the end of last year.
Illustrating the impact of the outbreak on worldwide growth and corporate profits, oil prices tumbled and equity markets slid after Apple Inc issued a revenue warning due to the disruption the disease is causing to global supply chains.
Chinese officials reported 1,886 new cases - the first time the daily figure has fallen below 2,000 since Jan 30 - bringing the mainland China total to 72,436. A figure of 98 new deaths marked the first time the daily toll in China had fallen below 100 since Feb 11, bringing the total to 1,868.
A recovered patient (in wheelchair) is discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, the newly-built makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients, in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. (STR/AFP)
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Chinese data "appears to show a decline in new cases" but any apparent trend "must be interpreted very cautiously". Source