A growing number of imported coronavirus cases in China risked fanning a second wave of infections when domestic transmissions had “basically been stopped”.
A growing number of imported coronavirus cases in China, where the epidemic originated in December, risked fanning a second wave of infections when domestic transmissions had "basically been stopped", a senior health official says.
China, where the disease first emerged in the central city of Wuhan, had an accumulated total of 693 cases entering from overseas, which meant "the possibility of a new round of infections remains relatively big", Mi Feng, spokesman for the National Health Commission (NHC), said.
Nearly a quarter of those came from arrivals in Beijing.
"Beijing, the capital, still bears the brunt of the risks," Xu Hejian told reporters. Mr Xu is a spokesman for the Beijing government.
"There's no reason to lay back and relax yet. It's not a time when we can say everything is going well."
Most of those imported cases have involved Chinese returning home from abroad.
A total of 3300 people have now died in mainland China, with a reported 81,439 infections.
China was widely accused of a delayed response when suspected cases first emerged in December, with a young doctor reprimanded for "spreading rumours" when he tried to raise the alarm.
But the world's most populous country has since won praise from the World Health Organisation for its efforts to lock down affected areas and isolate patients.
In the last seven days, China has reported 313 imported cases of coronavirus but only six confirmed cases of domestic transmission, NHC's data showed.
There were 45 new coronavirus cases reported in the mainland on Saturday, down from 54 on the previous day, with all but one involving travellers from overseas.
Airlines have been ordered to sharply cut international flights from yesterday. And restrictions on foreigners entering the country went into effect on Saturday.
Five more people died on Saturday, all of them in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. It has reported only one new case in the last 10 days.
Saturday marked the fourth consecutive day that Hubei recorded no new confirmed cases. The sole case of domestically transmitted coronavirus was recorded in Henan province, bordering Hubei.
With traffic restrictions in the province lifted, Wuhan is also gradually reopening borders and restarting some local transportation services.
"It's much better now," a man, who gave his surname as Hu, told Reuters as he ventured out to buy groceries in Wuhan.
All airports in Hubei resumed some domestic flights yesterday, with the exception of Wuhan, which will open to domestic flights on April 8. Flights from Hubei to Beijing remain suspended.
A train arrived in Wuhan on Saturday for the first time since the city was placed in lockdown two months ago.
Restrictions have also been eased on people looking to return to the capital, although the procedure still appears much more vigorous as it's done on an application approval basis.
More than 7000 have returned to Beijing from Hubei by charted trains or private cars, Mao Jun, a Beijing government official, said yesterday.
On a cold and rainy Sunday, Wuhan streets and metro trains were still largely empty.
The Hubei government said on its official WeChat account that a number of malls in Wuhan, as well as the Chu River and Han Street shopping belt, would be allowed to resume operations today.
Coronavirus: what you need to know
What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?
The symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar, as they both can cause fever and respiratory issues.
Both infections are also transmitted the same way, via coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus.
The speed of transmission and the severity of the infection are the key differences between COVID-19 and the flu.
The time from infection to the appearance of symptoms is typically shorter with the flu. However, there are higher proportions of severe and critical COVID-19 infections.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing involved minimising contact with people and maintaining a distance of over one metre between you and others.
When practicing social distancing, you should avoid public transport, limit non-essential travel, work from home and skip large gatherings.
It is okay to go outdoors. However, when you do leave home, avoid touching your face and frequently wash your hands.
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Reported with AAP.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-china-defends-against-second-wave/534eb1b5-960d-41cc-9bdc-c323f3f39e2a