Students and expatriates returned home from the United States and Europe, sparking fears of a second wave of infections just as the country recovers from the initial outbreak.
Beijing and Shanghai were the main entry points for the returnees, many of whom are students studying abroad. They have come back after many campuses in the United States and Europe shut down to stem rapidly rising infection rates there.
Also returning in a flight to safety were China-based expats, as businesses begin to reopen.
While there is no reported transmission of the virus from people arriving from abroad to local communities, authorities across China are tightening public health measures.
“Since March 11, when the World Health Organization characterized the epidemic as a pandemic, the cumulative number of imported cases (in China) has risen from 85 to 269, up by 216% and outpacing the 98% increase in the cumulative worldwide confirmed cases during the same period,” Mi Feng, spokesman of the National Health Commission, said at a regular press briefing.
China must strictly prevent the import of the virus from overseas and a rebound in cases, Mi said.