China sees drop in imported coronavirus cases but local infections rise

People wearing face masks are seen at a main shopping area after the lockdown was lifted in Wuhan
FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks are seen at a main shopping area after the lockdown was lifted in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province and China’s epicentre of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

April 16, 2020

BEIJING (Reuters) – China reported on Thursday fewer new coronavirus cases involving travellers arriving from overseas, but locally transmitted infections rose, with the Chinese capital seeing new local cases for the first time in more than three weeks.

New imported cases dropped to 34 on Wednesday from 36 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said, down for the third straight day, amid stringent border checks and reduced international flights.

But the number of locally transmitted cases rose to 12 from 10 a day earlier, with the city of Beijing seeing three new local cases for the first time since March 23.

The other new local cases on Wednesday were in the provinces of Heilongjiang and Guangdong, both of which have been battling with an influx of infected travellers from overseas, mostly Chinese nationals returning from abroad.

Overall, mainland China reported 46 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, the same as a day earlier, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 82,341.

Heilongjiang saw 16 new imported cases, all Chinese nationals who came from Russia. The province has become a front line in China’s fight to keep out imported cases as infected Chinese nationals return overland from Russia.

The neighbouring autonomous region of Inner Mongolia also saw imported cases from Russia.

Guangdong saw five new cases connected to travellers from overseas.

The number of new asymptomatic cases increased to 64 from 57 a day earlier.

China does not include patients with no clinical symptoms such as a cough or a fever in its tally of confirmed cases.

Some of the new confirmed cases had been counted as asymptomatic previously.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo, Lusha Zhang and Gabriel Crossley; Additional reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Tom Hogue and Stephen Coates)

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