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China reports 20 new coronavirus cases; jump in ‘imported’ infections says Health Commission

BEIJING: China on Sunday reported 16 new imported cases of the coronavirus, the highest in over a week, as domestic cases dwindle in the country.

The National Health Commission said infections involving people arriving from overseas were reported in five provinces and cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

Only four new domestic cases were detected, all in Hubei province’s capital Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December.

There have now been 111 imported infections, with regions outside of Hubei reporting no new indigenous cases for the third day in the row, prompting fears that China’s measures to contain the virus domestically could be undone by reintroduced outbreaks.

Another 10 people died, all in Wuhan, bringing the national toll from the disease in mainland China to 3,199.

More than 80,000 people have been infected.

Central Hubei was locked down in January, placing some 56 million people under quarantine, but the number of cases has declined in recent weeks.

Provincial authorities in Hubei Saturday loosened restrictions that had prevented people from leaving their residential compounds and villages freely.

“All the (administrative authorities) in urban communities and village areas that are classified as low risk have removed closed management,” said Liu Dongru, deputy director of the Hubei Health Commission said Sunday, referring to a previous policy of blocking entrances to communities and monitoring residents’ movements.

The province had announced on Tuesday that people in medium-and low-risk areas would be able to travel within the province.

There is no indication that people can leave the province, and the measures also did not appear to loosen restrictions in Hubei’s capital, Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December.