The Chinese economy has been undermined by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, but the country has shown signs of moderate improvement recently.

China's GDP has fallen by 6.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

"According to the preliminary estimates, the gross domestic product (GDP) of China was 20,650.4 billion yuan [about $3 trillion] in the first quarter of 2020, a year-on-year decrease of 6.8 percent at comparable prices", the bureau said in a report.

This is the first recorded GDP decrease in China since 1992, when Beijing started to publish official statistics.

The monthly report by OPEC on Thursday projected a severe recession in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with China being no exception. As China has managed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, it may experience GDP growth of 1.5 percent, the cartel said, which nevertheless is a huge decline from a growth rate of 6.1 percent in 2019.

The virus was first identified in the city of Wuhan, in China's Hubei province, later spreading to other countries. Worldwide, more than 2,153,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 and over 144,000 of them have died from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University.