- WHO experts complete their trip to the city, during which they visited hospitals and held talks with local and national health authorities
- Guangdong, the second worst-hit province, downgrades alert, as data suggests the outbreak is being largely contained outside the Hubei province epicentre
China's health authorities have reported 409 new cases of coronavirus infection and 150 further deaths, taking its total cases to 77,150 and its total deaths to 2,592.
All but one of the new deaths were in Hubei province, the outbreak's epicentre, which accounted for 398 of the 409 new cases. The other death was in the southern island province of Hainan.
Sunday's figures, released on Monday, showed that 1,846 more people had been discharged from hospital, taking that total to 24,734.
Wuhan loosens lockdown
Authorities in Wuhan, Hubei's provincial capital, on Monday eased their extreme lockdown measures for the first time since the city was quarantined a month ago, allowing non-residents who show no symptoms and have had no contact with infected patients to leave.
A statement by the city's disease control command also said that locals deemed essential for their involvement in disease control or the city's daily operation " including delivery of utilities and other necessities " along with those who needed specialist medical treatment outside Wuhan, could leave with permission.
However, it was not immediately clear whether Hong Kong residents or foreign nationals would be able to exit under the new rule, which appeared to apply only to Chinese citizens. An estimated 2,000 Hongkongers are stuck in Hubei province, including those in Wuhan.
More than 75 per cent of the deaths in China during the outbreak have occurred in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, in what President Xi Jinping has described as the country's worst public health crisis since 1949. The city has been under lockdown since January 23, with all residential quarters quarantined and roads and transport links closed.
A Wuhan resident said transport remained a hurdle for his visiting father to return to Suizhou, another Hubei city, even if he is qualified to leave under the new measure. Most public transport connecting to the city has been closed during the lockdown.
Badly hit province lowers alert
Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have lowered their alert level for the outbreak, amid indications that the deadly epidemic has been largely contained in most parts of the country.
The province downgraded the outbreak from a Grade I public health emergency " the most severe level of emergency response " to Grade II, beginning on Monday.
Guangdong, which neighbours Hong Kong, has been the second worst-hit province after Hubei, with 1,345 confirmed cases of infection and six deaths. It was China's sixth administrative region to lower the alert level as the country grapples with the outbreak while struggling to get people back to work and limit damage to the economy.
All of the 31 provinces and municipalities had last month declared the epidemic a Grade I emergency, which centralises the command and co-ordination of provincial-level emergency response work under the national government.
Shanxi has also downgraded the outbreak to a Grade II emergency, while Gansu, Liaoning, Guizhou and Yunnan have classed it as a Grade III event.
WHO delegation leaves Wuhan
Public health experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have completed their visit to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the outbreak, according to state media.
During the weekend's two-day trip, a joint inspection team of Chinese and foreign experts visited various hospitals where infected patients were being treated, held talks with the local health authority, and met Ma Xiaowei, director of China's National Health Commission.
Comprising specialists from the United States, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore and South Korea, the WHO delegation arrived in China last Monday, visiting Beijing followed by the provinces of Guangdong and Sichuan.
Wuhan was originally not on their itinerary, but was added on Friday as the WHO team finally made it to Hubei after weeks of delays. China has been criticised for resisting cooperation with international experts, especially those from the US.
A month of loss and regret in a city under coronavirus siege
The visit came with Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, spreading rapidly in other countries, especially Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran.
The WHO team will hold a joint press briefing with Chinese experts on Monday evening.
Fast testing at lab built in 5 days
Wuhan's new Huoyan laboratory, which was built in five days, tested almost 20,000 Covid-19 samples between February 5, when it opened, and February 15, state news agency Xinhua reported.
Measuring 2,000 square metres (21,500 sq ft), the lab is designed to test up to 10,000 samples a day, taking six to seven hours on average for results to be delivered, according to the report.
Rapid screening of nuclei acid samples can win precious time in treating patients and quarantining close contacts, as well as protecting medical workers, lab director Tian Zhijian was quoted as saying.
Online sectors 'profit from outbreak'
Many online sectors of China's economy have grown despite the outbreak, according to the head of the economic management agency that reports to China's cabinet, the State Council.
Cong Liang, general secretary of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a press conference in Beijing on Monday that online shopping, education, remote office services and entertainment, as well as intelligent manufacturing, had shown growth, and predicted some other sectors would rebound after the epidemic was over.
G20 hears predicted blow to global growth
Finance chiefs of the world's top 20 economies vowed to monitor the outbreak's impact on global growth and act if needed, and predicted growth would pick up in 2020 and 2021.
The Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers and central bank chiefs were given a sobering presentation by the International Monetary Fund, which predicted the epidemic would shave 0.1 percentage points off global growth.
"We will enhance global risk monitoring, including of the recent outbreak of Covid-19," the statement from the financial leaders said. "We stand ready to take further action to address these risks."
Additional reporting by Reuters
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