BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s coronavirus infections from abroad hit a new daily record while infected travelers reached an unprecedented number of Chinese provinces, pressuring authorities to hold the bar high on already tough custom rules and public-health protocols.
China has intensified measures to guard against infections arriving from abroad as the coronavirus spread around the world, concerned that travelers might trigger a second wave of domestic infections just as the outbreak was controlled at home.
Mainland China had 39 new confirmed cases on Thursday, the country’s National Health Commission said, all of which were imported cases. There were no locally transmitted cases for the second day.
Of the new imported infections, 14 were in Guangdong, eight in Shanghai and six in Beijing, the health authority said in a statement on Friday.
Big transport hubs like the Chinese capital, Shanghai, Guangdong, including Shenzhen, have been the main points of entry for cases involving infected travelers.
But on Thursday, imported cases were also reported in Tianjin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Shandong and Gansu in the north, as well as in Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangxi, Sichuan.
That brings the total number of imported infections in China to 228 as of Thursday.
The imported travelers, many of whom are Chinese nationals returning from overseas, have yet to pass their illness on to local communities so far, thanks to 14-day quarantine periods and isolation either at home or at designated venues.
But authorities are acutely aware of the dangers.
China must not allow the improving trend in the containment of the virus to reverse, President Xi Jinping warned on Wednesday, as the pandemic sickened more than 200,000 people around the globe.
Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province and epicenter of the outbreak in China, saw zero new cases for the second day, the National Health Commission said.
That brings the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 80,967.
The death toll from the outbreak had reached 3,248 as of the end of Thursday, up by three from the previous day.
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