China on March 19 reportedly marked the second day with no domestic infection of deadly COVID-19. However, the Asian giant, which has been fighting the infection since December now faces another challenge, that is, of imported cases. The number of deaths in China has also slowed dramatically with the nation reporting only 3 new deaths on March 19.
This comes as the epicentre of the disease is gradually shifting to Europe with Italy being worse hit by the pandemic. On March 18, the death toll in Italy surpassed China with the former reporting 3,248 deaths and latter reporting 3,405. As of March 19, China has reported 80,967 cases of infection with 71,150 recovered. 39 new cases were reported on March 19, the National Health Commission reported.
The virus is believed to have emerged in an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. Some 56 million people in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province were locked down in late January, but authorities are progressively easing the travel restrictions as China is showing signs of recovery.
On the other hand, Lombardy, Italy's hardest-hit region by the new coronavirus, is rushing to establish new intensive care units due to a continuously growing number of patients, international media reported. Attilio Fontana, the regional governor, reportedly decided to use Milan's expo space to build 400 new ICU rooms, with the help of Guido Bertolaso, the former head of the Italian Civil Protection.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.