Chloroquine, an antimalarial drug confirmed effective on coronavirus

A medical worker helps a patient drink water at an isolation ward at a hospital in southwest China's Chongqing, Feb. 1, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Quanchao)

Chinese experts, based on the result of clinical trials, have confirmed that chloroquine phosphate, an antimalarial drug, has a certain curative effect on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a Chinese official said here Monday.

According to reports in Xinhua, a Chinese news organisation,  experts have "unanimously" suggested the drug be included in the next version of the treatment guidelines and applied in wider clinical trials as soon as possible.

This was said by, Sun Yanrong, deputy head of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology, at a press conference.

Meanwhile, China reported a total of 2,048 new cases on Monday.

Of those new cases, 1,933 were from Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

More than 70,500 people across China have been infected by the virus. In Hubei alone, the official number of cases stands at 58,182, with 1,692 deaths. Most new cases and deaths have been reported in Wuhan, Hubei's largest city.

According to official figures for 16 February, 100 people died from the virus in Hubei, down from 139 on Saturday.

The Chinese authorities are tightening curbs on movement to combat the outbreak. People in Hubei province, which has 60 million people, have been ordered to stay at home, though they will be allowed to leave in an emergency.

In addition, a single person from each household will be allowed to leave the building or compound they live in every three days to buy food and essential items.

On housing estates, one entrance will be kept open. It will be guarded to ensure that only residents can enter or leave.

All businesses will stay closed, except chemists, hotels, food shops and medical services.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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