Coronavirus: China reports first local infection in 4 days and another jump in imported cases

Echo Xie

Health authorities reported 46 new coronavirus cases in mainland China as of Saturday, including one new domestic infection – the first local case recorded in four days.

The other 45 virus cases were all imported, a new daily high.

The local infection is in the southern city of Guangzhou, in Guangdong province, where two imported cases – from the Philippines and Turkey – were also reported.

As of Saturday, the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China stood at 81,054, according to the official figures. That included 72, 244 patients who had been discharged from hospital.

Six new deaths were reported, bringing the mainland China death toll to 3,261.

The first case of the new virus strain was reported in central China in December, and it has since become a global pandemic and spread around the world, killing more than 12,000 people.

As the situation eases in China, authorities are now focusing on imported cases, with measures to contain them including quarantining people arriving from overseas. The number of imported cases rose to 314 on Saturday, including 14 new cases in Shanghai and 13 in Beijing.

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Meanwhile, Chen Yulu, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, told media on Sunday that the pneumonia-like illness had claimed the lives of 42 people working in the country’s financial system, including banks. He said 1,137 financial system workers had been infected with the virus.

However, life is starting to return to normal in some parts of China.

In eastern Zhejiang province, Hangzhou began to reopen public venues, including libraries, museums and stadiums, on Friday, and people no longer have to go through temperature checks when they use public transport or go into public spaces like restaurants and office buildings. Cinemas and gyms also reopened on Saturday, and masks are no longer required in places including well-ventilated areas and those with no crowds.

Elsewhere in China, schools are preparing to open their doors again in many provinces. In Jiangsu, also in the east, high schools and middle schools will reopen on March 30. Kindergartens, primary schools and secondary vocational schools are preparing to reopen on April 7, and universities will resume on April 13. As of Friday, at least 12 provinces had announced that schools would reopen from late March to early April, according to the official People’s Daily.

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