Chinese cities near the border with Russia said they would tighten border controls and quarantine measures on arrivals from abroad after the number of imported cases of COVID-19 hit a record high. This is reported by Reuters.
New daily confirmed cases in mainland China reached 99 on April 11, almost doubling from 46 the previous day to a one-month high. All but two of the newly recorded cases involved people traveling from abroad, many of them Chinese nationals returning from Russia.
Strict lockdowns had contained the disease in China, where it has killed a recorded 3,339 people since it emerged in the city of Wuhan late last year and then spread around the world.
Russia had previously halted all flights into China and closed its land border to incoming traffic from China, leaving the route through remote Suifenhe as one of the few options for many Chinese trying to return home.
China’s senior medical advisor Zhong Nanshan said as the coronavirus is still spreading rapidly overseas, China could see the epidemic return.
“At the moment, the epidemic is still spreading rapidly overseas, so China’s coastal, major cities with close international contact are highly vulnerable and could see the epidemic come back again,” Zhong told the official People’s Daily newspaper in an interview published on Sunday, adding that even Wuhan is vulnerable to imported infection.
He cautioned that with the world’s virus epicenter shifting from Europe to the United States, it is too early to judge whether the pandemic’s peak is imminent.
“It’s not yet time to take off masks.”
Shanghai authorities have quarantined 92 other passengers who were in close contact with the 51 infected people who flew in from Russia on April 10, the city’s health commission said on Sunday. The 52nd case in Shanghai involved a Chinese national arriving from a trip to Canada.