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China's coronavirus cases drop to single-digit; private firms launch COVID-19 test services

Hubei province and its capital Wuhan -- the epicentre of the coronavirus -- reported no new COVID-19 case or death in the last few days.

Published: 24th April 2020 10:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2020 10:32 AM   |  A+A-

People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as they wait to cross an intersection in Beijing

People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as they wait to cross an intersection in Beijing. (Photo| AP)

By PTI

BEIJING: China's confirmed coronavirus cases dropped to single-digit, while technology giants like Alibaba and Tencent have launched booking services for COVID-19 tests. China's National Health Commission (NHC) on Friday said that six new confirmed coronavirus cases -- two imported and four domestically transmitted -- were reported in the country on Thursday.

As of Thursday, China reported a total of 1,618 imported cases, including 32 in critical condition, and 34 new asymptomatic cases, including one from abroad. Asymptomatic cases refer to people who are tested COVID-19 positive but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat.

However, they pose a risk of spreading the disease to others. The overall death toll in the country remained at 4,632, with no death reported on Thursday. As of Thursday, the total confirmed COVID-19 cases in China reached 82,804, the NHC said.

Hubei province and its capital Wuhan -- the epicentre of the coronavirus -- reported no new COVID-19 case or death in the last few days. China lifted the lockdown in Wuhan on April 8, allowing people to travel both inside and outside the city.

Meanwhile, Chinese Internet and e-commerce giants Alibaba Group, JD.com and Tencent have launched booking services for COVID-19.

The services have been launched as China accelerates COVID-19 nucleic acid testing to promote epidemic prevention and control and speed up the resumption of production, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Ali Health, Alibaba's health care subsidiary, has offered testing appointments in 10 cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, starting from April 21. It said that it will extend the service to 28 more cities this week.

JD Health, JD.com's health care subsidiary, and WeChat, Tencent's social media platform, also launched similar booking platforms for COVID-19 tests in Beijing, Guangzhou and other cities.

Guangzhou, capital of southern China's Guangdong province, has started novel coronavirus tests on 208,000 teachers, staff and students in their final year of junior and senior high schools ahead of their reopening.

As of Thursday noon, the city has completed nucleic acid tests on 193,000 teachers and students in graduating classes in high schools. As many as 38,000 people have received the results, all of which were negative.

Grade three students in Guangzhou will return to school on April 27.As of Thursday, Hong Kong reported 1,035 coronavirus cases, including four deaths, Macao registered 45 cases and Taiwan 427, including six fatalities. A total of 699 patients in Hong Kong, 27 in Macao and 253 in Taiwan have recovered.

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