China has downgraded all areas of the world’s most populous country from high- to low-risk for the novel coronavirus.
Mi Feng, a spokesperson for China’s National Health Commission, told a press conference in Beijing on Thursday that the decision was made as the number of new cases continues to hover just above zero and no new deaths have been reported for 22 consecutive days. However, Mi cautioned there is still uncertainty about the epidemic situation and that efforts must remain in place to prevent a resurgence of the virus, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency.
The National Health Commission said Thursday that just two new cases of COVID-19 had been reported on the Chinese mainland — both of which were imported from abroad.
China was once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. The first cases of infection were detected in the central city of Wuhan back in December. Since then, the Chinese mainland has reported 82,885 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,633 deaths. Currently, 295 people with the disease remain hospitalized, according to the National Health Commission.
Some schools in China have begun gradually reopening and allowing pupils back into classrooms in recent weeks. Around 57,000 high school students returned to classrooms in Wuhan on Wednesday for the first time since the city — ground zero of the pandemic — was placed on lockdown on Jan. 23. All students must wear face masks and maintain social distancing.