Has the COVID-19 outbreak peaked in China?

According to official numbers, the answer is yes. Though the total number of infections and deaths continue to increase steadily — with fatalities surpassing 2,000 in the past 24 hours — the daily rate of new cases has slowed markedly in recent days. (Click here for a detailed Google spreadsheet of daily numbers compiled by investor Glenn Luk.)

Those are official numbers, which even under the best of circumstances would likely underestimate the total number of infections, due to shortages of medical services and the unreliability of some test kits, which is partly why the diagnostic criteria was changed in Hubei Province. For more on the numbers and how to interpret them, see:

The numbers also look different outside of mainland China.

  • Japan is becoming a new “hotbed” of infections outside of China, Bloomberg says, as the number of cases there has more than doubled in the past week to 74, second only to Singapore’s 81 cases. Doctors are criticizing the government’s handling of the quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which became an incubator of over 600 cases while it was docked at Yokohama, Reuters reports. Passengers are now gradually being tested and allowed to disembark from that ship, Nikkei Asian Review reports.
  • Hong Kong reported its second death, and has 63 COVID-19 cases, behind only Japan and Singapore.
  • Two COVID-19 patients died in Iran, per Reuters.
  • The first COVID-19 case in Egypt — the patient is reportedly in recovery now — has raised alarm across the African continent, where until two weeks ago only two laboratories had the capability to test for COVID-19. The World Health Organization is actively distributing test kits so that by the end of this week, 40 countries in Africa will have the capability to test for COVID-19, the SCMP reports.

—Lucas Niewenhuis