As China struggles to resume its economic activities amid its battle against the novel coronavirus, auto sales in the country have taken a hit, recent data indicates.
China's Association of Automobile Manufacturers told the daily Global Times that its year-on-year sales plunged by 48.4% in March amid the coronavirus crisis, translating to roughly 1.04 million units.
Most businesses in mainland China were shut as authorities imposed strict distancing measures which current reports suggest were successful in stemming the spread of the disease.
According to the country's National Health Commission, 42 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed, including 38 imported cases.
A single death reported from Wuhan city, the capital of Hubei province, the epicenter of the pandemic that claimed over 95,700 lives across the world. The country has confirmed 1,141 imported cases so far.
Chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention Zeng Guang said there could be two reasons behind apparent the failure in control of the pandemic.
"[Either] COVID-19 could have originated from a place other than Wuhan [China] or foreign countries lack effective measures," he said.
China has reported 81,907 cases of the infection, while 3,336 people have died due to the disease ever since it was first reported in Wuhan last December.
There are currently 1,398 confirmed infections in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, while Taiwan has reported 380 such cases, Chinese health officials added.
Nine people have died in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
After originating in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions across the world, with its epicenter shifting to Europe, while China has largely come out of the crisis.
The virus infected over 1.6 million people worldwide, while some 355,900 people recovered from the disease, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. Over 95,700 have died.
Despite the rising number of cases, most people who get infected suffer only mild symptoms and make a recovery.