BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government has taken the strictest measures to prevent and control the novel coronavirus epidemic, said the country's health authorities on Friday.
China is confident in and capable of effectively containing the novel coronavirus epidemic, and eventually defeating it, said the National Health Commission (NHC) at its daily press briefing on the epidemic.
The NHC made the remarks while responding to reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday the novel coronavirus outbreak has become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
According to the NHC, as of Thursday, 9,692 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported nationwide. A total of 213 people have died of the disease.
Also 1,527 patients remained in critical conditions, and 15,238 people were suspected of being infected with the virus.
The experts and the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, appreciated China's efforts to prevent and control the epidemic, noting that the designation was aimed at mobilizing more international resources to deal with the epidemic, according to the NHC.
To curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, China has rolled out a host of uNPRecedented moves, including extending the Spring Festival holiday, postponing the spring semesters of schools and universities, and adopting transport restrictions in various areas.
Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, has been put on lockdown for more than a week to prevent further outbreaks. As a megacity with a population of over 10 million, Wuhan has seen 2,639 confirmed cases as of the end of Thursday.
Doctors and nurses are rushing to Wuhan at the same time. Over 6,000 medical staff and 52 medical teams from all over the country are now in Wuhan to join the fight against the virus.
Wuhan authorities decided to build two hospitals dedicated to treating the novel coronavirus patients. The 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital and the 1,500-bed Leishenshan Hospital will begin admitting patients on Feb. 3 and Feb. 6, respectively.
According to the Ministry of Finance, China has allocated 27.3 billion yuan (about 3.94 billion U.S. dollars) to support the battle across the country as of Jan. 29.
China also ordered community organizations to suspend mass gatherings amid coronavirus outbreak.
The NHC hoped the international community understand and support China's efforts in preventing and controlling the epidemic and make concerted efforts with China to contain the epidemic, and maintain global health security together.