Hope in China as new Covid-19 cases continue to drop

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Authorities in China have confirmed that it had 78 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, of the new cases, 74 were imported infections, up from 39 imported cases a day earlier.

Hubei, the province at the center of the new coronavirus outbreak in China, announced that restrictions on Wuhan will be removed starting April 8, which would end a lock down that began on Jan. 23.

Over the last five days, health authorities have reported only one new locally transmitted case of Covid-19 – a patient in Guangdong province infected by someone traveling from abroad. In Wuhan, the center of the outbreak and the country’s worst-hit area, officials on Monday reported a fifth day without new cases.

The Chinese capital was the hardest-hit, with a record 31 new imported cases, followed by southern Guangdong province with 14 and Shanghai with nine. The total number of imported cases in China stood at 427 as of Monday.

But as the country returns to work, residents and analysts doubt the near-zero community transmission rate, worrying that leaders have prioritized restarting the economy over decisively containing the virus.

The southern city of Shenzhen said on Tuesday it will test all arrivals at its ports of entry and the Chinese territory of Macau will ban visitors from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Beijing has imposed tough screening and quarantine and diverted international flights to other Chinese cities, but that has not stemmed the influx of Chinese nationals, many of whom are students returning home from virus-hit countries.

Beijing officials said that everyone entering the Chinese capital will be subject to centralized quarantine and health checks especially those traveling from oversees.

Covid-19 has killed nearly 3,300 and infected nearly 82,000 in mainland China.

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