Authorities in Wuhan have closed the city’s first makeshift hospital after discharging the last batch of 34 recovered coronavirus patients, as the rate of infection in the city has dropped dramatically.
Wuhan was the site of the original outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, and the city’s response, building a new hospital in less than two weeks to handle Covid-19 patients, was seen as a modern marvel with the total number of hospital beds in the city eventually going from 5,000 to 23,000.
The hospital’s last patients were given the all clear late Monday, according to state broadcaster CCTV, amid a sharp decline in Covid-19 cases in Hubei province, with less than 200 new cases reported for the first time since January. Outside of Hubei province, there were only six new cases confirmed in mainland China over the weekend.
The hospital is one of 16 built across Hubei province to handle the epidemic, in which at least 12,000 people have been treated.
In China alone, the total number of officially reported Covid-19 infections stands at 80,026 with the death toll reaching 2,912 as of Sunday evening.
The head of Wuhan’s largest temporary hospital, located in an exhibition centre with beds for 2,000 patients, confirmed plans to shutter that facility by the end of March.
“If nothing special happens, I expect the operation of our makeshift hospital, the biggest one in Wuhan, could complete its historical mission by the end of March,” said Dr. Zhang Junjian, the director of the hospital.
To fight the coronavirus China is undertaking its biggest experiment yet in rule by data: an app that automates quarantines. Alibaba software, using unexplained data, now decides whether millions can leave their home. It also shares data with the police. https://t.co/uCqHH4DIIZ
— Paul Mozur 孟建国 (@paulmozur) March 2, 2020
WHO sends first medics, supplies to Iran to fight coronavirus
The World Health Organization on Monday sent its first planeload of assistance to Iran to help fight coronavirus, dispatching six medics with tonnes of medical equipment and test kits aboard a UAE military aircraft.
“Today’s flight will carry 7.5 tonnes of medical equipment and supplies, primarily the critical items needed for infection prevention and control to support health care workers in Iran,” said Robert Blanchard from the WHO in Dubai.
As the supplies worth more than $300,000 — including gloves, surgical masks and respirators — were loaded onto the United Arab Emirates military transport plane in Dubai, Blanchard warned that global supplies were running low.
“What we see now is that demand has greatly exceeded our available stocks… and we are struggling to get access to more supplies.”
Good news, everyone!https://t.co/jJ7vYW3BaG
— RT (@RT_com) March 2, 2020
The six-member medical team is made up of doctors, epidemiologists and laboratory specialists who will help the Islamic republic detect and control the virus, Blanchard said, adding it was the first WHO team to be sent to Iran since the crisis began.
Iran on Monday raised its coronavirus death toll to 66 – the highest outside China – with 1,501 confirmed cases.
WHO operations manager Nevien Attalla said some 15,000 health workers in Iran would benefit from the supplies which were the “first big shipment which supports the response to coronavirus”.
“Iran is a challenging country. You don’t have always easy approvals to go,” she said.
The UAE provided the military transport plane for the flight to Tehran despite having downgraded its relations with the Islamic republic amid fierce rivalry between Iran and regional power Saudi Arabia.
Gulf states have announced a raft of measures to cut links with Iran to curb the spread of the virus, cutting off transport links and telling citizens not to visit.
Some 129 cases have been confirmed across the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, many of them pilgrims returning from Iran.
“Aid should reach all people regardless of their background,” Sultan Mohammed Al Shamsi, the UAE’s undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, said at Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport.
News Desk with inputs from RT and AFP