BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Mainland China saw a drop in its daily tally of new coronavirus cases, reversing four straight days of gains, as the capital Beijing ramped up measures to contain the number of infections arriving from abroad.
Workers wearing face masks remove barriers on a street in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, as the city has started to loosen its lockdown, in Hubei province, China March 21, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS
China had 39 new confirmed cases on Sunday, the National Health Commission said, down from 46 a day earlier. All of them involved travellers arriving from abroad, many of whom are Chinese students returning home.
The city of Beijing expanded measures to contain imported infections, diverting all international flights arriving from Monday to other airports in other cities, including Shanghai and as far west as Xian, where passengers will undergo virus screening.
Beijing reported 10 new imported cases, the National Health Commission said on Monday, down from 13 a day earlier. Infections from abroad in the city hit an all-time high of 21 on March 18.
Shanghai and Guangzhou have also said all arriving international passengers will undergo tests to screen for the coronavirus, expanding a programme that previously only applied to those coming from heavily-affected countries.
Shanghai reported 10 new cases on Sunday, down from a record 14 a day earlier.
Guangdong province saw seven new imported infections, Fujian had four and Jiangsu had two. Hebei, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Shandong and Sichuan each saw just one case, bringing the total imported cases in China to 314 so far.
Mainland China saw no new locally transmitted infections.
In Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province, authorities have eased tough lockdown measures as the epicentre of the outbreak in China saw no new infection for the fifth day.
Downtown Wuhan remains the only high-risk area in the province, with other cities and counties in Hubei are now classifed as low-risk.
Wuhan went into a virtual lockdown on Jan. 23 to contain the spread of the virus to the rest of China.
According to authorities on Sunday, people can enter the city if they are certified healthy and have no fever.
Hubei residents who are in Wuhan can apply to leave the city, but they have to go through a test for the virus and if are certified healthy.
There is still no indication that Wuhan residents can leave the city for non-essential reasons.
As of Sunday, the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China stood at 81,093.
The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China reached 3,270, up by nine from the previous day.
Reporting by Ryan Woo, Lusha Zhang, Engen Tham and Jing Wang; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Michael Perry