No new coronavirus cases reported in China's Hubei province in 24 hours, excluding Wuhan

For the first time since the outbreak began, zero new cases of the coronavirus were reported in China’s Hubei province in 24 hours as of Thursday – excluding the city of Wuhan.

Chinese health authorities reported on Friday that while there were 143 new COVID-19 cases confirmed throughout the country, there were no new infections elsewhere in wider Hubei as of March 5, The Wall Street Journal reports, marking a notable first.

Meanwhile, schools in other provinces that have not reported new coronavirus cases in numerous days have begun to announce reopening dates, according to Reuters.

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Medical workers attend a a morning conference outside a tent on the square in front of the Wuhan Living Room Temporary hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province in this February photo. 

Medical workers attend a a morning conference outside a tent on the square in front of the Wuhan Living Room Temporary hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province in this February photo.  (Zhang Junjian via AP)

The northwestern Qinghai province, which had not seen any new infections for 29 days as of March 5, said that schools will tentatively reopen with staggered opening dates between March 11 and March 20. In southwestern Guizhou, schools are said to begin reopening from March 16.

Now, some Chinese authorities are focusing on fighting potential infections from abroad.

In Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, officials have all sworn to quarantine travelers arriving from other nations that have been hard hit by the ongoing outbreak. Reuters reports that travelers from South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy have been listed by Beijing as high-risk.

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As of Friday morning, the viral disease has reportedly infected at least 97,993 people in about 83 countries and claimed the lives of 3,383 others. Among the total count, there are at least 80,710 cases of COVID-19 in China.

The pneumonia-like novel coronavirus first originated in the eastern city of Wuhan in December 2019.