Mainland China had 406 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the country's National Health Commission (NHC) said on February 26, down from 508 cases a day earlier.
That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 78,064.
The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 2,715 as of the end of February 25, up by 52 from the previous day, the commission said.
All the new deaths were in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak. Hubei also reported 401 new cases on February 25, down from 499 a day earlier.
Outside Hubei, the number of new mainland China cases fell to five, down for the fifth consecutive day and the lowest since Jan. 20, when the NHC began publishing nationwide figures.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Several more Chinese regions said on Wednesday that they would downgrade their emergency response measures after assessing that the risk had receded, state media reported.
As it tries to restart the economy, China has urged regions to take a more targeted approach to combating the virus, with only "high-risk" areas told to maintain stringent controls on traffic and human activity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the epidemic in China peaked between January 23 and February 2 and has been in decline since.