Local infections are down but China continues to see imported coronavirus cases rise

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: A timeline of how COVID-19 spread around world'
Coronavirus outbreak: A timeline of how COVID-19 spread around world
WATCH: A timeline of how COVID-19 spread around world – Mar 20, 2020

China on Sunday reported 46 new cases of coronavirus, the fourth straight day with an increase, with all but one of those cases imported from overseas, according to the country’s National Health Commission.

While China has drastically reduced the number of reported domestically transmitted cases — the one reported on Sunday was the first in four days — it is seeing a steady rise in imported cases, mostly from Chinese people returning from abroad.

On Saturday, China reported 41 new coronavirus cases for the previous day, all of them imported.

Among the new cases from abroad, a record 14 were in the financial hub of Shanghai and 13 were in the capital Beijing, a decline from 21 the previous day.

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The latest figures bring China’s total reported coronavirus cases to 81,054, with 3,261 deaths, including six on Saturday.

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The central province of Hubei, where the outbreak first emerged late last year in its capital city of Wuhan, reported its fourth straight day of no new cases.

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The new locally-transmitted case was in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou and was also the first known case where the infection of a local person was linked to the arrival of someone from overseas, according to Guangdong province.

Globally, roughly 275,000 people have been infected with the virus, and more than 11,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally, with the number of deaths in Italy recently surpassing those in China.

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China has used draconian measures to contain the spread of the virus, including locking down Hubei province and more recently stepping up measures to screen and quarantine overseas arrivals.

The country is trying to restart an economy that is widely expected to contract deeply in the current quarter, with life slowly returning to normal in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, albeit with everyone wearing masks in public.

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Still, numerous shops and restaurants remain shut – many have gone out of business — and factories and other workplaces are still not operating at full capacity.

“Now I think the epidemic has been controlled. But this definitely doesn’t mean that it’s over,” said a 25-year-old woman surnamed He who works in the internet sector and was visiting the vast Summer Palace complex in Beijing on Saturday.

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“I’m willing to come out today but of course I am still afraid,” she told Reuters.

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