March 31 (UPI) -- China on Tuesday announced its manufacturing sector was recovering after its markets took a steep hit due to the coronavirus outbreak while countries the world over were tightening quarantine restrictions as the pandemic deepened.
China's National Bureau of Statistics released data Tuesday that showed its factory activity was growing after floundering in February when the nation's number of COVID-19 infections and deaths exponentially climbed.
According to an index of Chinese manufacturing purchasing managers, factory activity shot up to 52 on the 100-point scale in March from a low 35.7 in February. Figures above a 50 signal market expansion and March's number is the highest the world's second-largest economy has experienced in at least a year.
The figures were announced as the former epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen its outbreak seemingly come under control. Since March 1, China's confirmed cases of COVID-19 grew by nearly 1,500 cases, of which nearly half were imported, compared to the more than 65,000 cases it recorded over the month of February.
Chinese health officials said Tuesday they recorded 48 new cases over the previous 24 hours -- all of which were imported from overseas. The country also recorded only one death over Monday, increasing its total to 3,305 since the outbreak began in December.
The country temporarily suspended the entry of foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits to the country starting Saturday to prevent further imported infections.
However, while China's outbreak slows, the global pandemic continues to grow.
As of Tuesday morning, the pandemic consisted of 787,010 infected patients and 37,829 deaths in more than 175 countries, according to a live tracker of COVID-19 statistics by Johns Hopkins University.
China, once home to the largest cluster of cases, has slipped to fourth behind Spain, Italy and the United States, which has become the new epicenter of the pandemic by more than 60,000 cases.
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued a series of strict social distancing measures on Tuesday preventing the country's more than 95 million people from leaving their homes for 15 days starting Wednesday.
"The principle is that each family isolates itself from other families, one village from other villages, one commune from other communes, one province from other provinces," the government announced in a statement.
Residents will only be permitted to leave their residences to buy food and medicine and work at factories or places that sell essential goods and services that are not subjected to provisional closures, it said.
When out, people are to observe a strict distance of more than six feet from others and are not to congregate in groups of more than two people.
The Asian nation has 204 COVID-19 patients, four of whom are in critical condition, which is relatively low compared to other nations but the measures were implemented as its number of cases "increasing rapidly day by day, with a high risk of community infection," the government statement read.
United Arab Emirates
The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced Tuesday it was locking down the Al Ras district of Dubai for two weeks to "facilitate intensified sterilization procedures."
Three main roads and interchanges leading into the densely populated historic district will be closed as will be three metro stations that serve the area, it said, adding all bus routes to the area will be diverted and taxis will be restricted.
"Teams from the Dubai Health Authority will provide all essential supplies to the residents of the area during the two-week period," the Dubai Media Office explained via Twitter, adding local police urge to the public "to cooperate fully with the authorities and abide by all instructions" to ensure the measures are successful.
The move comes a day after Expo 2020 Dubai announced that it supported a proposal to explore a year postponement of the event due to the pandemic.