China sees record number of imported coronavirus cases

Coronavirus cases imported from China hit record highs, data released Friday, with infected travelers reaching more and more provinces, adding to pressure on authorities to tighten entry rules and health protocols.

For the second day in a row, China has not found any cases of the country-transmitted virus, which appeared in a central province at the end of last year, according to new daily figures for the disease, recorded on Thursday.

The focus is now on protection against cases arriving from abroad, as the spread of the coronavirus in Europe and North America is triggering a rush among Chinese expatriates, including many students, which fears a second wave of infections just as Chinabrings controls its epidemic.

Mainland China said on Thursday 39 new confirmed cases, all imported.

Of the new imported infections, 14 were detected in Guangdong, eight in Shanghai and six in Beijing, the health authority said in a statement.

Major transportation centers like the capital, Shanghai, Guangdong, including the city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, were the main entry points for infected travelers.

But on Thursday, imported cases were also reported in the cities of Tianjin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Shandong and Gansu in the north, as well as in Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangxi, Sichuan, bringing the total number of infections imported to Chinato 228 .

The commission did not specify the origin of the cases, but the provincial authorities declared that some of the travelers were in Great Britain, the United States and Spain.

No symptoms

The newly imported case in Tianjin, a city of 11 million people, was a 23-year-old woman who studies in London and returned home via Zurich, Tokyo and Beijing, the Xinhua news agency said.

The northeast city of Shenyang said that a traveler from London via Seoul was his first imported case. He said that the traveler did not show any fever or respiratory symptoms after arriving at Shenyang Airport on March 16.

The Yale School of Public Health said in a study that many epidemics abroad were caused by travelers from China who were pre-symptomatic and therefore not screened or isolated.

To limit the possibility of asymptomatic patients returning to spread the disease, authorities in an increasing number of Chinese regions are ensuring that travelers returning from one of the 24 countries severely affected by the epidemics spend 14 days in isolation, home or in a designated place.

President Xi Jinping warned Wednesday that the Chinese government should not allow the trend to contain the virus to be reversed.

Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province and the epicenter of the epidemic, saw no new cases for a second day, the National Health Commission said.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 80,967. The death toll from the epidemic reached 3,248 by the end of Thursday, up three from the previous day.

Worldwide, 245,000 people have been infected and more than 10,000 have died.

(REUTERS)