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  • Medical treatment center in Wuhan, China, March 31, 2020.

    Medical treatment center in Wuhan, China, March 31, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 31 March 2020 (12 hours 40 minutes ago)

Hong Kong-based researchers hold that Wuhan's strict quarantine was the decisive factor in controlling the pandemic.

With the worst time of the COVID-19 pandemic over, nine hospitals in Wuhan are focused on treating 1,459 patients and 493 critically ill patients who remain in the city that was the epicenter of the disease.

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The good news is that 269 people were discharged in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 46,002 to date. However, health authorities reported 23 deaths in the past week.

Neither new cases nor suspicious cases have been reported among the 11 million residents of the provincial capital of Hubei.

The improvement in numbers has led authorities to reopen 61 hospitals that previously only treated COVID-19 patients. All COVID-19 patients will be transferred to "high-level" hospitals to receive treatment there and avoid the collapse of the rest of the city's health service.

One of those is the Jinyitan hospital where patients arrive in cars adorned with red stickers, which are used to report that these vehicles are the only ones authorized to transport people who have contracted the disease or overcome it.

Some doctors who came from other cities during the peak of the epidemic continue to work in JInyitan; most "imported" physicians, however, have already returned to their hometowns.​​​​​​​

Doctor Hu Ke, the director of the Wuhan University Hospital's respiratory medicine and critical care department, explained that COVID-19 is being treated using antivirals, hormones, plasma, immunological compounds, stem cell transplantation, oxygen therapy techniques, and traditional Chinese medicine.

"Our treatments combine a wide range of drugs because it is difficult to assess the efficacy of a single method," Hu said and added that most antivirals are "imprecise" and some have obvious side effects.​​​​​​​

Meanwhile, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) published a study holding that the strict quarantine imposed in Wuhan was the decisive factor in controlling the pandemic.

"Confinement was effective in containing the outbreak in its early stages and significantly helped reduce infection rates elsewhere," the CUHK researcher leader Yang Yang said.

He added that infections would have been 64.8 percent higher outside of Hubei province if the government had not closed the city on January 23.

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