China stepped up border control measures today as the number of imported coronavirus cases rose sharply to 951 while the asymptomatic cases also surged, raising fears of a second wave of the COVID-19 infections, mainly from Chinese returning home from abroad despite drastic containment efforts.
A health official in Beijing warned that the Chinese capital, Beijing, will probably remain under long-term coronavirus epidemic control.
Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission (NHC) told the media on Monday that 951 imported cases have been reported till Sunday as China airlifted more of its nationals from different countries currently struggling to cope up with COVID-19 spread.
Mr Mi said the pressure brought by imported cases on China continues to increase, especially those from neighbouring countries.
His remarks followed reports of 20 imported infection cases in Suifenhe, a Chinese port city — with a population of 70,000 bordering China and Russia, on Monday, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Currently China has banned the entry of foreigners and is permitting only overseas Chinese returning home.
China has reported 39 new coronavirus cases, including 38 imported ones, as the number of asymptomatic cases also surged, raising fears of a second wave of the COVID-19 infections.
The NHC said one new domestic case was reported from Guangdong province, which is a major industrial belt.
On Saturday, five new local cases were reported raising concerns of the cases resurfacing though in smaller numbers as China resumed production at full steam after over two months.
Also, on Sunday 78 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were reported on the mainland, including 40 imported ones, the NHC said, adding that 1,047 asymptomatic cases were still under medical observation.
Asymptomatic coronavirus cases are those who test positive for the virus but do not show any symptoms and have the potential to cause sporadic clusters of infections.
Also on Sunday, one death was reported from the coronavirus virus epicentre Hubei province, taking the total number of deaths in the country to 3,331 people.
The overall confirmed cases on the mainland have reached 81,708 by Sunday, including 1,299 patients still being treated, 77,078 patients discharged after recovery, and 3,331 people died of the disease, the NHC said.
By Sunday, 890 confirmed cases, including four deaths have been reported in Hong Kong, 44 confirmed cases in the Macao, and 363 in Taiwan including five deaths, it said.
Meanwhile, a health official here has warned that coronavirus epidemic prevention and control in Beijing will probably become a long-term normal.
The capital, a centre for international exchanges, still bears the brunt of the risks as the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating, Xu Hejian, the spokesperson for the municipal government said, noting that there is no chance to call off the city’s prevention and control work in a short time.
The overall strategy of guarding against the imported cases and a rebound in indigenous cases will remain unchanged, Mr Xu said.
He also highlighted the importance of seizing the critical window to resume work and production, and bring people’s lives back to normal as transmission of the epidemic has been basically interrupted in Beijing and nationwide, although there were still imported and sporadic cases, Xinhua reported.