A patient consults medical workers at "Wuhan Livingroom" in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 8, 2020. The cultural building complex dubbed "Wuhan Livingroom" is a converted hospital to receive patients infected with the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Gao Xiang/Xinhua)
BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- China has stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Here are the latest developments:
-- The Wuhan-based Tongji Hospital affiliated to the Huazhong University of Science and Technology will provide 800 beds for severe cases of novel coronavirus infection.
-- The possibility of the novel coronavirus transmission by contaminating agricultural products, such as vegetables, meats and fruits, via droplets and contact transmission is low, said an expert with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
-- China's central bank will issue loans totaling 300 billion yuan (about 43 billion U.S. dollars) to policy and commercial banks via its re-lending program Monday as part of measures to finance the control of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
-- The National Development and Reform Commission has unveiled policies to aid small and micro firms to keep enough liquidity to tide over the epidemic via bond issuance. Capital raised via corporate bonds is allowed to pay back or swap project loans used for the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
-- Wuhan authorities will use two days to finish testing all suspected cases of novel coronavirus infection in the city. Wuhan is the epicenter of the virus outbreak in central China's Hubei Province.
-- Hubei authorities have issued 17 favorable policies to support the battle against the epidemic, including tax reductions, subsidies for medical staff working on the front lines and staff working overtime in medical manufacturing companies, vegetable growing companies, cooperatives, farmers, supermarkets and rural markets.
-- Authorities on Sunday started to disinfect the city of Wuhan twice a day to beef up efforts in containing the outbreak of the novel strain of coronavirus.
-- More medical teams are arriving in virus-hit Wuhan to help battle the epidemic.
On Sunday, 214 medical workers from Huashan Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai and 136 others from Ruijin Hospital of the School of Medicine at Shanghai Jiaotong University came to Wuhan.
On Saturday night, 260 medical workers came to Wuhan from the Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, bringing new medical equipment and supplies. A charter plane of Xiamen Airlines brought 264 medics from Xiamen City, in east China's Fujian Province, and authorities sent 132 medical staff by plane from Wuxi City, in the eastern Jiangsu Province.
Chinese health authorities have dispatched a total of 11,921 medical personnels from across the country to Hubei Province to aid the fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia, according to the National Health Commission on Sunday.
-- Trade unions in China have provided financial aid of more than 20 million yuan (about 2.9 million U.S. dollars) to help Hubei Province battle the epidemic.
The All-China Federation of Trade Unions also donated 200 tonnes of disinfectants and 20,000 masks.
-- Chinese authorities have reassured producers of key medical supplies that the government would be the ultimate buyer in a move to encourage production to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Such products initially include test kits, medical goggles, medical protective gear and masks, as well as their raw materials, and the list will be adjusted with the development of the epidemic, according to a guideline jointly issued by several ministries.
-- Authorities have begun closed-off management in some residential buildings in Huanggang, one of the cities worst hit by the epidemic in Hubei.
The buildings include those hosting confirmed cases of infection, suspected cases, patients with fever and possible link to the virus, and those who had close contacts with infected patients.
-- The National Health Commission Sunday said it received reports of 2,656 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 89 deaths on Saturday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
The overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland had reached 37,198 by the end of Saturday and 811 people had died of the disease.
-- A total of 2,649 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospital after recovery by the end of Saturday, the commission announced Sunday.
-- Central China's Hubei, the hardest-hit province, reported 2,147 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 81 new deaths on Saturday, local health authorities said Sunday. The figure is 694 less compared with the new confirmed cases reported in the previous day.
-- The mortality rate of the virus in Hubei stood at 2.88 percent, with the city of Tianmen and Wuhan having the highest death rates at 5.08 percent and 4.06 percent, respectively.
-- The newly-built Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan, the second in the city replicating Beijing's SARS treatment model, received on Saturday the first batch of patients infected with the virus. The two makeshift hospitals --Leishenshan (Thunder God Mountain) and Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain), together can accommodate 2,600 beds.
-- China released an application guide to solicit research and development projects on rapid test kits for the novel coronavirus. The on-site quick testing equipment and reagents should be able to identify confirmed infection among suspected patients within 1.5 hours to help prevent and control the epidemic. Research institutes, universities and enterprises can submit applications to the Ministry of Science and Technology from Feb. 8 to 13. ■