Chinese officials cited improved testing capacity of the novel coronavirus as the reason for changing the way that "confirmed cases" are counted in Hubei province.
"Confirmed case" definition changes: All official coronavirus cases from today must now be formally diagnosed before they are added to the totals.
The National Health Commission earlier explained that confirmed cases in Hubei province would now only include people who had positive lab test results from patient samples that match in nucleic acid and genetic sequencing for the virus.
Wang Guiqiang, director of the Society of Infectious Diseases of the Chinese Medical Association said at a press conference Thursday:
In order to resolve the conflict between diagnosis and treatment, in Hubei, such clinical diagnosis was introduced to enable timely treatment of possible patients and reduce fatality rate."
“But now that the situation in Hubei has changed. The nucleic acid testing capability has been greatly improved. And now all suspected cases or unconfirmed cases can be tested for nucleic acids quickly. Nucleic acid testing is no longer an issue,” Wang added.
Confirmed cases: On Thursday, mainland China's national count dropped to 394 new cases, one of the lowest counts of new cases in weeks.
This appears to be partly due to the change in what is counted as a "confirmed case."
The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China is now 74,576, bringing the global total to 75,674.