China reported on Saturday a rise in new coronavirus cases, as authorities try to head off a second wave of infections, particularly from imported and asymptomatic cases, as curbs on cities and travel are lifted.
The National Health Commission said 46 new cases were reported on Friday, including 42 involving travellers from abroad, up from 42 cases a day earlier.
In its statement the commission added that 34 new asymptomatic cases were reported, down from 47 the previous day.
Mainland China’s tally of infections now stands at 81,953. The death toll rose by three to 3,339.
Tough curbs imposed since January helped rein in infections sharply from the height of the pandemic in February. But policymakers fear a second wave triggered by arrivals from overseas or asymptomatic patients.
Northeastern Heilongjiang recently reported a spike in new cases because of Chinese nationals entering the province from Russia, which has seen a surge of cases.
Provincial health officials said it had 22 new imported cases on Friday, all Chinese nationals coming from Russia, and one new local case, in its capital of Harbin.
Inner Mongolia had a daily tally of 27 new imported cases by Saturday morning, all from Russia, the region’s health authority said.
The central province of Hubei, where the virus emerged late last year, reported no new cases for a seventh successive day.
A rise in virus infections has prompted authorities in Guangzhou to step up scrutiny of foreigners, ordering bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin, the U.S. consulate in the southern city said.
Anyone with “African contacts” faces mandatory virus tests followed by quarantine, regardless of recent travel history or previous isolation, it said in a statement.
It advised African-Americans or those who feel they might be suspected of contact with nationals of African origin to avoid the city.
Since the epidemic broke out in the provincial capital of Wuhan, it has spread around the world, infecting 1.6 million people and killing more than 100,000.