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China sees fewer novel coronavirus infections as major cities grapple with imported cases

Click to play video: 'WHO declares Europe ‘epicentre’ of COVID-19 pandemic'
WHO declares Europe ‘epicentre’ of COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH: (From March 13, 2020) WHO declares Europe 'epicentre' of COVID-19 pandemic – Mar 13, 2020

Mainland China reported an overall drop in new coronavirus infections on Sunday, but major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai continued to wrestle with cases involving infected travellers arriving from abroad.

Mainland China had 16 new confirmed cases on Sunday, the National Health Commission said on Monday, down from 20 a day earlier. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in China so far to 80,860.

Of the new figures, 12 were imported infections, exceeding locally transmitted cases for the third day.

Beijing accounted for four of the cases, Guangdong province four, Shanghai two, Yunnan province one and Gansu province one. That brings the total number of imported cases to 123 so far.

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China has tightened checks on international travellers, with the capital of Beijing requiring anyone arriving from abroad to be transferred to city quarantine facilities for 14 days, starting Monday.

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Coronavirus outbreak: WHO official says Europe reporting more daily cases than at the height of China’s epidemic

Beijing has redirected all international flights that were scheduled to land at its new Daxing International Airport in the south to the older Beijing Capital International Airport in the northeast.

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Shanghai has designated hotels serving as quarantine venues for inbound international travellers, though the financial hub has not made it compulsory yet for all travellers to be quarantined at such venues on arrival.

Mainland China’s only locally transmitted new infections on Sunday were in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak and capital of Hubei province, with four cases.

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It was the 11th consecutive day that the central province recorded zero new infections outside of Wuhan.

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Coronavirus outbreak: How many people can possibly get COVID-19?

The death toll from the outbreak in China had reached 3,213 as of the end of Sunday, up by 14 from the previous day.

In Hubei, there were 14 new deaths, with Wuhan accounting for 13 of the fatalities.

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