China says that once again, it has recorded a day with no new local infections – that’s cases transmitted within China, where the outbreak started.
There were though 39 new cases. Beijing says all were imported – which means travellers from abroad thought to have contracted the virus outside China and tested positive only after entering the country.
The number of deaths in China has also slowed dramatically: there were only three new fatalities, authorities say, taking the overall toll to 3,248.
But there’s been repeated accusations that these official figures cannot be relied on.
Beijing’s focus has shifted from stemming local transmissions to stopping the virus from coming back into the country from outside. It’s also a major propaganda line for China which had been criticised for how it handled the early stages of the outbreak.
China and many international observers say that the decline in cases is due to its drastic lockdown measures, where whole cities and provinces were essentially put into quarantine.
Should the virus be reimported, Beijing is likely to point the finger at other countries for failing to emulate its progress