China's National Health Commission reported 150 new deaths and 409 new COVID-19 cases as of Monday. Hubei province accounted for 398 while the 11 other new cases were from different places nationwide. Hubei also reported an additional 149 deaths. Of that, 131 were from Wuhan.  

Hubei now has 64,287 cases and 2,495 deaths. All in all, China now has 77,150 people infected by the virus and 2,592 deaths. Of the number of cases, 16,738 were already cured. 

In what outsiders described as an unusual display of transparency, President Xi Jinping admitted that the COVID-19 outbreak was the biggest public health emergency since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. The president also said the outbreak is currently reaching a level of crisis for the country, testing its resilience more than ever.  

The president's statement came as four provinces deescalated emergency levels as businesses were encouraged to resume operations.

Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Guangdong, Shanxi, and Guizhou lowered their emergency response measures from level I to level III. 

The government reported that the work resumption rate has reached more than 80%. The jump was notable in Guangdong and Shanghai. There are now about 20,000 manufacturing plants that have resumed operations.

Outlook, meanwhile, remains bleak for the restaurant industry. 

A lot of local restaurants have yet to see a spike in the number of diners. For instance, the China Cuisine Association said the restaurant industry experienced a huge decline from the $665 billion in revenue in 2019 during the Chinese New Year.  

The development comes as a team of Chinese scientists concluded that the virus did not start in the Wuhan province as previously thought. What might have happened was that the virus, coming from elsewhere, started in December and November. This patient zero spread the virus in Wuhan where it was first detected. The scientists have yet to track down the origin of the virus in this new scenario. The scientists were from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Institute for Brain research.     

The new conclusion was floated as China continues to report a decline in new infections and deaths. However, the World Health Organization is now concerned about the rising cases outside China and more infections coming from asymptomatic carriers. WHO said countries should now focus on mitigation rather than containment. 

In one case, a 20-year-old girl from Wuhan infected her five relatives. As her family remembers suffering pneumonia, the woman continues to show no symptoms.  

Another grave concern is how the virus is spreading outside China even with the carriers having to travel history or no clear epidemiological link to the Asian country.