China reports no new deaths; Japan declares emergency for 7 areas

People continue wearing protective face masks on empty streets despite reports of a decline in the threat of the COVID-19 virus in Beijing on Monday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

April 7 (UPI) — China on Tuesday reported no deaths associated with COVID-19 — a first since the government in Beijing started publishing updates on the coronavirus outbreak in late January.

Beijing’s National Health Commission announced the milestone in its daily briefing, which it began nearly two months after the deadly and infectious coronavirus is believed to have emerged from the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Tuesday’s update reported zero deaths and 32 new cases of the virus over Monday, all of which were imported, increasing its total infections to more than 81,700 as its death toll stands at 3,331, according to the commission.

It also recorded 30 asymptomatic cases — those who test positive for the virus without symptoms — a figure officials only began including in the daily updates on April 1. There are so far 1,000 asymptomatic cases.

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As of midnight Wednesday, officials officially lifted the lockdown on Wuhan, 76 days after it began. The order means 11 million residents of the city in Hubei province can now travel beyond its borders.

“It’s like being liberated,” Zhang Kaizhong told The Guardian.

Zhang, who is from Jiangsu province, traveled to Wuhan one day before the lockdown to visit his son. He got stuck there after the lockdown went into effect and hasn’t seen his wife in more than two months.

“I miss her very much,” he said. “Of course I am very excited.”

Also Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency, a move he had initially resisted.

The state of emergency is specific to the capital Tokyo and six other prefectures and covers about 44 percent of Japan’s population of more than 126 million people.

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