Residents place restraints on a puppy in Wuhan, China, where the COVID-19 pandemic began. (Ng Han Guan / AP Photo)
Wuhan, the city at the center of China’s coronavirus outbreak, has no more hospitalized COVID-19 patients after the last 12 were discharged Sunday, the Hubei province health commission said.
Hubei’s remaining patients were all in Wuhan, the provincial capital, where the outbreak took the heaviest toll in China. The 3,869 people who died in the city account for more than 80% of the country’s reported deaths.
“It is a historic day,” said a report in a newspaper owned by the Wuhan government and posted on the city’s website.
Hubei has no more suspected cases in its hospitals, though 1,728 people who had close contact with an infected person remain under medical observation, the province’s health commission reported Monday.
Patients remain hospitalized elsewhere in China, including 67 in Shanghai and three in Beijing. Many cities have seen an influx of cases from overseas, prompting the government to curtail international flights and entry sharply.
With the easing of the crisis, a central government team that had overseen the response in Hubei since late January departed Monday, the official New China News Agency said.
Meanwhile, China is fighting back against U.S. and other countries’ calls for an investigation into its role in the pandemic, citing faults with the U.S. response to the outbreak and calling for Washington itself to admit error.
“We hope the U.S. will respond to people’s concern from the U.S. and the international community. Perhaps the World Health Organization can also be invited in to assist in the investigation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing on Monday.
President Trump says he is suspending payments to the WHO, of which the U.S. is the largest funder, saying it has responded weakly to the pandemic and shown a pro-China bias.
China, where the virus was first detected late last year, has vehemently denied accusations from the U.S. and others that it suppressed information about the outbreak, allowing it to spread far wider than it might have and delaying responses from other countries.
Also Monday, the New China News Agency ran a commentary accusing U.S. Republican politicians of seeking to gain political points by attacking China over the pandemic.
“The U.S. conservatives’ moves to cover up their own failures by shifting blame and public attention will only harm those still struggling in the pandemic and render the global fight much harder,” the agency said.