China has passed the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, a spokesman for the country’s health ministry said on Thursday. The new virus first emerged in China late last year, and the country has recorded about two-thirds of the cases worldwide, though its new cases have dropped sharply in recent days.
On Thursday, China said it had just 15 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths over the previous day. Eight of the infections were in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the epidemic first spread, and six were diagnosed among travelers arriving from abroad. China’s total count of confirmed infections is 80,793, including 3,169 deaths.
“The peak of the current round of epidemic in China has already passed, the number of new cases continue to decline, and the overall epidemic situation has generally been maintained at a low level,” said Mi Feng, the health ministry spokesman.
He added that the country should not ease its aggressive approach to controlling the outbreak. “We must make medical treatment the top priority and not grow apathetic, war weary or relaxed,” Mr. Mi said.
Beijing on Thursday also reacted with anger at comments from Robert O’Brien, the White House national security adviser, who said China’s cover-up of the initial outbreak cost the international community “two months to respond.”
Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said American officials should concentrate on cooperating on the fight against the virus “rather than blame China and vilify the Chinese government and people’s efforts to fight the epidemic.”
Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Elisabetta Povoledo, Steven Erlanger, Alissa J. Rubin, Alexandra Stevenson, Daniel Victor, Austin Ramzy, Russell Goldman, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Albee Zhang, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Daniel Victor, Sui-Lee Wee, Annie Karni, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Declan Walsh, Vindu Goel, Elian Peltier, Jason Horowitz, Emma Bubola, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Jorge Arangure, Matthew Futterman, Elaine Yu, Amy Qin, Alan Rappeport, Emily Cochrane, Karen Zraick, Sandra E. Garcia, Scott Cacciola, Sopan Deb, Brooks Barnes, Noah Weiland, Sheri Fink, Mike Baker, Monika Pronczuk, Melissa Eddy, Roni Caryn Rabin, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Andrew Keh, Ernesto Londoño, Aurelien Breeden and Katie Thomas.