China is stepping up scrutiny of inbound foreigners and tightening border control after the number of single-day imported Coronavirus cases set a record, helping double the daily number of newly detected infections.
New confirmed cases in mainland China reached 99 on April 11 from 46 the previous day, with all but two involving travelers from abroad. In commercial hub Shanghai, 51 Chinese nationals flying in on the same flight from Russia tested positive.
“The risk of imported cases has increased dramatically,” Wen Guohui, mayor of Guangzhou, an economic hub in Southern China, told a news conference on Sunday.
Guangzhou is enforcing anti-virus measures on anyone who enters the city from across the national border, regardless of nationality, race or gender, foreign affairs official Liu Baochun said at the same event.
“We hope foreigners can strictly abide by anti-virus rules as Chinese do,” he said.
In the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, which reported 21 new, Russia-imported cases on April 11, the local government said its Suifenhe border with Russia will remain closed after April 13. The border was temporarily closed on April 9 to contain the epidemic, and was scheduled to open next week.
Even Wuhan, the first virus epicenter which this month emerged from lockdown after containing the virus, is vulnerable to imported infection, China’s senior medical advisor Zhong Nanshan said.
“At the moment, the epidemic is still spreading rapidly overseas, so China’s coastal, major cities with close international contact are highly vulnerable, and could see the epidemic come back again,” Zhong told the official People’s Daily newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
Zhong cautioned with the world’s virus epicenter shifting from Europe to the United States, it is too early to judge whether the pandemic’s peak is imminent.
“It’s not yet time to take off masks,” he said, adding China’s enforcement of anti-virus measures offers experience to other countries seeking to contain the disease.
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