China reports increase in new coronavirus cases, asymptomatic patients

Mainland China reported 39 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, up from 30 a day earlier, and the number of asymptomatic cases has also increased, with Beijing continuing to fight to end the epidemic despite drastic containment efforts.

The National Health Commission said in a statement Monday that 78 new asymptomatic cases had been identified at the end of Sunday, compared to 47 the day before.

Imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who have the virus and can pass it on to others but have no symptoms, have become China’s main concern in recent weeks after draconian containment measures have successfully reduced the rate infection.

Of the new symptom cases, 38 were people who entered China from abroad, up from 25 the day before. A new locally transmitted infection has been reported in the southern province of Guangdong, up from five a day earlier in the same province.

The new case transmitted locally, in the city of Shenzhen, was a person who had traveled from Hubei Province, the epicenter of origin of the epidemic, said provincial authorities in Guangdong.

The Guangdong Health Commission raised the level of risk for a total of four districts in the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Jieyang from low to medium Sunday evening.

Mainland China has now reported a total of 81,708 cases, with 3,331 deaths.

Daily infections have dropped dramatically since the peak of the epidemic in February, when hundreds of cases were reported daily, but new infections continue to appear daily.

The country has closed its borders to foreigners as the virus spreads around the world, although most imported cases involve Chinese nationals returning from overseas.

The central government also urged local authorities to identify and isolate asymptomatic patients.