BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- China has stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here are the latest developments:
-- Hubei announced a slew of wide-ranging and more stringent measures to control the epidemic on Sunday.
The measures include enforcing province-wide traffic restrictions on all non-emergency vehicles and closing all non-essential public venues, said a circular issued by the provincial government.
-- Autopsy on the bodies of two patients who died from the novel coronavirus were finished Sunday in Wuhan and the autopsy results have been sent for further examination.
Researchers will study the pathology of COVID-19 so as to understand the pathogenicity and lethality of the disease and better treat patients in critical or severe condition.
-- China's top economic planner announced that it would invest 230 million yuan (about 32.92 million U.S. dollars) from the central budget to shore up the battle against the novel coronavirus.
The investment was allocated for improving conditions of makeshift hospitals converted from public facilities such as gymnasium, increasing their medical equipment and raising their admission capacity, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.
-- China reported 2,009 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 142 deaths on Saturday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
Among the deaths, 139 were in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, two in Sichuan, and one in Hunan.
China's daily new confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease outside Hubei have been dropping for 12 consecutive days.
-- The overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland had reached 68,500 by the end of Saturday, and 1,665 people had died of the disease.
A total of 11,272 patients remained in severe condition, and 8,228 people were suspected of being infected with the virus.
-- Hubei Province reported 1,843 new confirmed cases and 139 new deaths Saturday.
It brought the total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 56,249 cases. Wuhan, the provincial capital, recorded a total of 39,462 confirmed cases.
-- The proportion of severe and critical cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among all confirmed cases has decreased significantly in China.
In Wuhan, the proportion of severe cases among the confirmed cases fell from a peak of 32.4 percent on Jan. 28 to 21.6 percent on Feb. 15.
The proportion in other parts of Hubei Province dropped from a peak of 18.4 percent on Jan. 27 to 11.1 percent on Feb. 15.
The percentage in other provinces in China also decreased significantly, falling from a peak of 15.9 percent on Jan. 27 to 7.2 percent on Feb. 15.
-- A new rapid testing kit for COVID-19 was developed by China's State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease.
Authorities in charge of the laboratory claimed the test results can be shown within 15 minutes after collecting a drop of blood.