Mar 11, 2020 08:11 PM

Chart of the Day: China Dials Back Public Health Emergency Levels


Twenty-four of China’s provincial-level regions have lowered their public health emergency response levels as of Wednesday morning in light of an apparent sustained slowdown in the country’s Covid-19 outbreak, though neither the nation’s capital region nor financial hub were among them.

Late Tuesday, the southwestern municipality of Chongqing and Central China’s Hunan province became the latest jurisdictions to dial back their public health response from Level I, the highest of four levels, to Level II.

The highest designation is reserved for major, urgent public health incidents that require supervision and national coordination from the central government.

COTD chart_1

As of Wednesday, Northwest China’s Qinghai province had lowered its response level to IV, the lowest in the country, indicating “ordinary” levels of public health incidents. Most of the other local governments in China have lowered their responses levels to II or III.

Beijing and Tianjin municipalities and Hebei province, which together are considered the country’s capital region, as well as Hubei, Jiangxi, and Henan provinces and Shanghai stuck to top-tier vigilance. In their announcements, Jiangxi, Anhui, Xinjiang, Jilin and Fujian said that their towns or counties may diverge from regional or provincial protocols based on local risk levels, such as from an influx of migrant workers.

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China first enacted its most stringent health protocols in late January, near the start of the Lunar New Year holiday, as fatalities resulting from the then-emergent viral outbreak, totaling several dozen at the time, first began to accumulate outside the epicenter of Hubei.

China reported 80,955 infections and 3,162 deaths nationwide Wednesday morning, representing only 31 new confirmed cases — a far cry from the thousands of daily new infections detected in parts of February at the height of the domestic epidemic. The number of suspected cases on the Chinese mainland has also been in decline for about a month — to 285 Tuesday from a peak of nearly 29,000 in early February. Recovered cases now represent 76% of the government’s total tally.

Contact reporter Dave Yin ( and editor Michael Bellart (

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