Beijing believes, without convincing the rest of the world, that its efforts to curb the epidemic are starting to pay off.

Since the end of last week, symptoms consistent with the disease and an X-ray image showing lung lesions have been enough to diagnose the newly named Covid-19 coronavirus infection.
Since the end of last week, symptoms consistent with the disease and an X-ray image showing lung lesions have been enough to diagnose the newly named Covid-19 coronavirus infection. ALY SONG / REUTERS

“The effect of our efforts to control the coronavirus is starting to appear”, welcomed China on Sunday by the voice of Mi Feng, spokesman for the Ministry of Health. Fewer new cases (2009 Sunday, compared to 2641 the day before), less seriously affected patients (21.6% critical cases Saturday, compared to 32.4% on January 27), and a stable number of daily deaths (142 Sunday compared 143 the day before): the figures seem to prove Beijing right, and give hope for an epidemic in the stabilization phase.

Except that… “All of these figures are very difficult to interpret”, judge Arnaud Fontanet, head of the research and expertise unit in epidemiology of emerging diseases at the Institut Pasteur. “China no longer has diagnostic tests, explains the epidemiologist. We have known for a few weeks, and the country has just officially changed its case definition. ” Since the end of last week, symptoms compatible with the disease and an X-ray image showing

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