Chinese President Xi Jinping has termed China's battle against COVID-19 as a major strategic achievement, as the ruling Communist Party is all set to hold the postponed Parliament session on May 22 amid a steady decline in the coronavirus cases.
China's National Health Commission (NHC) on Thursday said the country reported only four new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the total number to 82,862, while no death due to the disease was registered. The virus has claimed 4,633 lives in the country.
China's arduous efforts to contain the coronavirus have brought a decisive outcome to the fight of defending Hubei and its capital city Wuhan, Xi told a high-powered Central Committee meeting of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) on Wednesday.
The nationwide battle against the epidemic has gained major strategic achievements, the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.
Xi said Hubei, including Wuhan, should continue strengthening community-level epidemic prevention and control.
He asked officials to make efforts to contain the virus case at Heilongjiang Province bordering Russia, where a large number of Chinese returning from Russian cities were tested positive for coronavirus.
The meeting emphasised the need to accelerate work resumption and business reopening, help companies especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises address difficulties, and promote the recovery of pillar industries such as auto manufacturing, electronic information, new materials and bio-medicine, the report said.
The meeting stressed accelerating farm production and expanding sales channels for agricultural products to boost income for farmers.
The Hubei province and its capital Wuhan -- where the COVID-19 first emerged in December last year -- were the epicentres of the deadly virus, which later turned into a pandemic, bringing the world to a standstill.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues its explosive growth overseas, Xi said, noting the mounting pressure to prevent imported infections and the growing complexity of stemming domestic epidemic resurgence.
Xi demanded no relaxation in epidemic control to safeguard the hard-earned achievements, the report said.
According to the NHC, all the four COVID-19 patients reported on Wednesday were imported cases.
The number of imported cases rose to 1,664, including 13 patients in severe condition, it said.
The CPC Central Committee meet was held amid mounting pressure for an international inquiry into the origin of coronavirus and the allegations that the deadly virus was originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) before it spread across the world and wreaked havoc.
China has come under increasing global pressure over lack of transparency in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far infected over 3,193,960 people and claimed more than 227,640 lives across the world.
State-run CGTN TV on Wednesday reported that American scientists are working with their Chinese counterparts to investigate the origin of the novel coronavirus, a prime demand of US President Donald Trump and several other countries.
The report said the China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDCP) is facilitating the cooperation between Dr Ian Lipkin, Director for Centre for Infection and Immunity of Columbia University, and Prof Lu Jinhai of Sun-Yat-Sen University of Guangzhou to conduct the probe.
"The two are working together to determine whether the virus emerged elsewhere in China before Wuhan in December" last year, the report said.
It is not yet clear whether the investigation has the official consent of the US government, it said.
Besides the US, the UK, Australia and Germany have also called for more transparency from Beijing on the COVID-19 origin.
On Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry refuted Trump's allegation that China wants him to lose his re-election.
Reacting to the charge, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here that the US government has been trying to pass the buck and shift focus from their poor performance on handling its domestic COVID-19 outbreak .
China on Wednesday announced to hold the annual meeting of its Parliament --National People's Congress (NPC), which was postponed in March due to COVID-19, from May 22, signaling that the pandemic which paralyzed the country for over three months is finally under control.
Official media said the meeting period of the NPC, which has over 3,000 deputies, could be shortened and held through video link. However, no official announcement has been made so far.
The annual session of the national advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), is also expected to be held in Beijing on May 21, official media reported.
Dubbed as the annual political season, the NPC and CPPCC sessions -- which together have over 5,000 members, are held every year in early March during which the CPC unveils its national agenda for the year, including the annual budget and formulates new laws.
According to the National Health Commission, 77,610 coronavirus patients have been recovered so far.