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Wuhan Reports No New Coronavirus Cases for First Time

Medical workers from outside Wuhan pose for pictures with a Chinese Communist Party flag at the Wuhan Railway Station before leaving the epicentre of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hubei province, China March 17, 2020. Picture taken

The Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus pandemic has for the first time reported no new daily cases, saying Thursday that there were no new cases Wednesday.

The Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus pandemic has for the first time reported no new daily cases, saying Thursday that there were no new cases Wednesday.

Wuhan has spent about two months on lockdown as authorities tried to stop the spread of the virus, and in recent weeks the number of new infections there dwindled.

Elsewhere in China, though, with health officials reporting 34 total cases Thursday among people who came from elsewhere, there is continued concern about such imported cases threatening the substantial progress the country has made.

China has been the hardest hit by the novel coronavirus since it emerged in late December, with about 81,000 total cases and 3,200 deaths. Most people who became sick have recovered.

South Korea reported 152 new cases Thursday, a step back from its recent progress of fewer than 100 new daily cases for four days in a row.

The virus has reached 166 countries, with more than 208,000 confirmed cases and 8,600 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Nicaragua and neighboring El Salvador announced late Wednesday that they had confirmed their first cases.

Mexico, which has confirmed 118 cases, reported its first death early Thursday.

Italy has the second highest number of cases, and on Wednesday reported an alarming development – 475 new deaths from the virus, the highest daily toll in any nation so far.

In total, nearly 3,000 people have died among about 36,000 cases in Italy.

The Italian government is one of many across the world that have sought to restrict public life to keep people from spreading the virus among members of their communities or in other parts of the country.

Panama announced Wednesday a new nationwide curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., with only police, firefighters, health care workers and sanitation employees allowed out during that time. The country has reported 109 cases to date.

New Zealand announced Thursday it is banning entry to foreigners, shortly after the government advised citizens not to travel overseas because of the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

“We will not tolerate risk at our borders,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference.

The government said it had identified eight new cases involving people who traveled overseas. Its total case number stood at 28.

Nearby Australia said it would also ban entry to noncitizens and nonresidents starting Friday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the “overwhelming proportion” of Australia’s 500 confirmed cases have been imported.

While the U.S. and Canada announced a temporary closure of their border to “nonessential traffic,” travelers created logjams at European border crossings.

European countries have also shut their borders to nonessential traffic, but many crossings remain open to cross-border employees and trucks transporting medicine and other critical goods.

Germany, with nearly 9,900 confirmed cases, is bracing for a sharp spike in infections, after a top government health official warned Wednesday that as many as 10 million people could be infected.

But Germany’s Robert Koch Institute head Lothar Weiler said the number of infections could be significantly reduced if social interactions were curtailed.

Weiler also warned that the outbreak could continue to affect Germany for up to two years.