CHINA REPORTS 109 NEW COVID-19 CASES
Worries simmered in mainland China about a potential fresh wave of coronavirus cases ahead of the Lunar New Year next month as authorities on Sunday reported 109 new COVID-19 cases, most of them in Hebei province surrounding Beijing, Shivani Singh and Roxanne Liu reported for Reuters.
Though the Jan. 16 tally of new cases was less than the previous day’s 130, China has in the past week seen the number of daily cases jump to an over 10-month high.
The unsettling trend has emerged while a World Health Organization-led (WHO) team of investigators remained in quarantine in the city of Wuhan, where the disease was first detected in late 2019.
The team aims to investigate the origins of the pandemic that has now killed over 2 million people worldwide.
Giving details of the latest daily caseload, the National Health Commission (NHC) said 96 were local infections, 72 of them in Hebei, 12 in northeastern Heilongjiang province, 10 in northeastern Jilin province and two in Beijing.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 119 on Saturday from 79 on Friday.
The numbers remain well below levels seen at the height of the outbreak in China in early 2020, but authorities remain on guard, and as a result of the outbreak in recent weeks a handful of cities have been put under lockdown.
NHC Minister Ma Xiaowei said on Saturday that outbreaks in the northeast have come from travelers entering the country or contaminated frozen food imports. China is the only country to claim COVID-19 can be transmitted via cold chain imports, even though the WHO has downplayed the risks.
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