The overall number of cases of infection with the novel coronavirus have surpassed 110,000 worldwide, while deaths now exceed 3,800.
The total nationwide number of cases that originated outside China reached 60 as of the end of Friday.
Du said it's true that there is a decreasing number of patients in Hubei and more empty hospital beds, although it's impossible to rule out the possibility of another spike in cases. Excluding new infections in Hubei, there were only six new cases in mainland China, the lowest since last month. A total of 80,735 people have been infected and 58,600 have recovered, it added.
The 22 new deaths - which were all in Hubei except one - bring the country's toll to 3,119.
All the new infections were in Wuhan, the provincial capital.
The WHO said the efforts of China and other countries were "demonstrating that spread of the virus can be slowed" with the path of the disease even "reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities".
In Berlin, German Health Minister Jens Spahn told reporters more than 1,100 cases are confirmed and urged citizens to reduce travel, work from home if possible and avoid public transport.
Saudi Arabia reported four new coronavirus cases on March 9, bringing the total of registered cases to 15, its health ministry said in a statement.
The number of new COVID-19 cases in China dropped to double-digit figures Friday for the first time since January 21, according to China's health authority Saturday.
Methylprednisolone, an immune-suppressing corticosteroid drug that's in common use in China for severe cases, has been linked to "prolonged viral shedding" in earlier studies of MERS, SARS and influenza, according to the World Health Organization.
Based on its daily updates, China has not reported a new case outside of Hubei in the last two days and has only reported five since last Wednesday.
Iranian state television said Monday nearly 600 new cases have arisen, along with 43 deaths.
The nine countries are the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, South Korea, Egypt, Italy and Iraq.
Italy has recorded the second-highest coronavirus toll in the world, after the number of fatalities almost tripled from 133 to 366 yesterday.
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People have never been sick from this specific virus before. "We understand that people are afraid and uncertain", he said. Polis said the man had traveled to Italy in mid-February with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.