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Hospital not needed now at epicentre of China outbreak

Clean-up: Emergency hospital in Wuhan is disinfected before closing yesterday PICTURE: XINHUA NEWS AGENCY/EYEVINE

A MAKESHIFT hospital at the epicentre of China’s coronavirus outbreak closed yesterday as the last patients were discharged after recovering.

The facility in a Wuhan sports centre was one of several hurriedly constructed in the Hubei region as the virus spiralled.

But, after severe lockdowns across the country for the past month, Chinese cities are gradually relaxing quarantine measures, while authorities keep a close watch on Covid-19’s spread overseas.

Yesterday, there were 44 new confirmed cases, down from 99 on Friday, with 41 in Wuhan. The remaining three were cases imported from outside mainland China.

Eleven makeshift hospitals have suspended operations, with the rest expected to be put on hold tomorrow.

The news came as the all-clear was given to 32 people held in quarantine in the UK after leaving the stranded Diamond Princess cruise liner. Thirty Britons and two Irish nationals were allowed to leave Arrowe Park hospital in the Wirral after staying there for a fortnight.

The Diamond Princess had been quarantined for two weeks in Yokohama, Japan, last month after an outbreak, with 700 of the 3,700 onboard testing positive for the disease and three dying.Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Our NHS staff at Arrowe Park have done a fantastic job providing safe and comfortable care. No doubt the passengers are very happy to return home to their friends and families and I’d like to thank them for their cooperation in what could have been a stressful situation.

‘Tackling coronavirus is a national effort, and they have set a good example as more people may need to self isolate.’

Prof Keith Willett, NHS strategic incident director for coronavirus, praised the staff for delivering ‘exceptional, professional compassionate care in difficult circumstances’.

More than 23,500 people have now been swabbed for the virus in the UK, with 273 so far testing positive.

As of yesterday afternoon, almost 108,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with coronavirus, with 60,660 having recovered.