New coronavirus outbreaks spark unease in China

A new case of Coronavirus disease has been reported in Wuhan, China, the city where the outbreak first started in December last year, in over a month.

China’s National Health Commission also reported the first double-digit increase in countrywide cases in nearly 10 days, saying 14 new infections had been confirmed.


Two of the cases were imported into the country from overseas, the commission said.

On Sunday, Chinese authorities reclassified Shulan, a city near the Russian and North Korean borders, as high risk, after a cluster of cases connected to a woman with no known history of travel or exposure to the virus.

The coronavirus first emerged in China’s Wuhan, a major industrial and transport city in central China, in December.

It has since infected nearly four million people worldwide  claiming more than 270,000 lives and crippled the global economy.

The total number infected in China is 82,901, with an official death toll of 4,633.

No new deaths have been reported for nearly a month.

China’s ruling Communist Party imposed a quarantine lockdown on tens of millions of people, first in Wuhan and then the rest of Hubei province beginning January 23, making Wuhan the first place in the world subjected to draconian restrictions.

Authorities started lifting restrictions in late March.

It came just a week after China designated all regions in the country as low or medium risk. On Sunday the country’s national health commission reported 17 new cases, its second day of a double-digit rise and its highest number in nearly two weeks.

Chinese state media, CGTN, said authorities have ordered the temporary closure of all public places in Shulan, including sports facilities, cinemas and libraries, and for all residents to stay home except under “unusual circumstances”.

Students in their final year of middle or senior high school will return to online learning, it said.

China has faced criticism both at home and abroad for downplaying the virus and concealing information about the outbreak when it first emerged in Wuhan.

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Beijing has insisted it has always shared information with the World Health Organization and other countries in a timely manner.

A top health official said Saturday, however, that the outbreak exposed “shortcomings” in China’s public healthcare system.

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