As of midnight on Feb 17 (Beijing Time), t here still remained 58,016 confirmed cases (including 11,741 in serious condition) on the Chinese mainland. China's National Health Commission (NHC) had in total received 72,436 reports of COVID-19 confirmed cases and 1,868 deaths. 12,552 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital.

A total of 79 new confirmed cases were reported outside Hubei, a 14th consecutive day drop since Feb.3.

An additional 2,600 military medics sent to fight COVID-19 epidemic have arrived in Wuhan.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, will meet in late February to deliberate a draft decision on postponing the NPC's annual session which was originally planned to convene on March 5 in Beijing. After careful evaluati on, the Council of Chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee decided that it is necessary to postpone the annual legislative session to allow efforts to be concentrated on containing the COVID-19 epidemic. Final decision needs to be made by the NPC Standing Committee.

A joint expert team consisting of experts from China and the WHO began field inspections on the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak. The team is scheduled to visit Beijing , Guangdong and Sichuan Provinces.