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China celebrates after first day without any fresh coronavirus cases

Joyful: Wuhan support worker Liu Liwen (right) gets a hug PICTURE: ALAMY

CHINA has recorded no new local cases of Covid-19 — including in the epicentre of the virus, Wuhan — for the first time since the pandemic began.

The health ministry said it had only recorded 34 new cases yesterday that were all detected in people arriving from abroad.

Covid-19 was first detected in Wuhan, in central Hubei province in December.

A big thumbs up: Departing medics say goodbye PICTURE: XINHUA/ALAMY

There were tears, hugs and bows of thanks as some medics who had helped subdue the outbreak in the city were stood down and departed yesterday.

However, eight further deaths were recorded in Wuhan bringing the total fatalities across China to 3,245 from 80,928 confirmed cases.

Another 70,420 people have been released from hospital while 7,263 remain in treatment.

We’ll mask you: Hotel workers and volunteers bid goodbye to the medics

China has started loosening strict internal travel restrictions but has increased 14-day quarantine regulations on those arriving from overseas amid expectations of an influx of students and others returning home.

Of those new cases of infection, 21 were in Beijing, nine in the southern manufacturing centre of Guangdong, two in Shanghai and one each in coastal Zhejiang and Heilongjiang in the far north-east.

Meanwhile, a 103-year-old woman who recovered from coronavirus earlier this week after receiving six days of treatment has been discharged from hospital in Wuhan.

Mark of respect: Volunteers bow to the medical staff PICTURE: ALAMY

Zhang Guangfen is the oldest Covid-19 patient to recover in China so far and two years older than the previous record holder, who was 101. Her doctor Zeng Yulan said she recovered quickly because ‘she did not have many underlying health conditions’.

TV footage showed her being escorted out of the hospital by a group of medical workers.

The centenarian grandmother was diagnosed with the disease on March 1 at Liyuan Affiliated Hospital of Tongji Medical College. She was in a critical condition when she was admitted and could barely communicate with the medical staff.

The nurses took turns providing her with round-the-clock care and spoon-feeding her to keep her alive.

Matron Liao Zhenhui said: ‘The grandmother loved being complimented by the nurses. She would smile and nod every time after I told her she looked pretty.’