China reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in more than a month on Tuesday, but the epidemic showed little signs of waning elsewhere. Three countries — South Korea, Italy and Iran — each had at least 1,000 total cases and the number of infections in the United States topped 100.
China recorded 125 confirmed infections of the coronavirus and 31 deaths in the previous 24 hours. It is the lowest number of officially confirmed infections since Jan. 20, when China’s leader, Xi Jinping, issued his first public orders on the epidemic.
The country’s efforts to control the spread, included limiting the movements of 700 million people. In Hubei Province, where the epidemic erupted and where the overwhelming majority of cases have been identified, 2,410 patients were released from hospitals and emergency clinics.
Experts, however, cautioned that the real test will be when China lifts its lockdown orders and millions of people return to work.
But clusters outside of China showed troubling signs of growing. In South Korea, site of the second-largest outbreak, the number rose on Monday to more than 4,800, nearly double the caseload on Friday. The rate of increase was even faster in Europe, where officials warned residents to prepare for large outbreaks.
And in Iran, the scale of the largest outbreak in the Middle East remained unclear, with the government confirming 1,501 cases and public health experts expressing concern that the official numbers were unreliable.
The worldwide death toll topped 3,000, and the number of cases passed 90,000 in about 70 countries.
Asian markets followed Wall Street’s surge, though at a more modest pace, with stocks in Tokyo and Hong Kong up less than 1 percent by midday on Tuesday. Investors were betting that world leaders and central banks would unveil some sort of coordinated action to prevent the coronavirus from plunging the world into recession.