A doctor looks at a patient’s CT scan at a hospital in Wuhan, China. File/AFP
China reported just one new domestic case of the coronavirus on Wednesday but a dozen more imported infections.
For the second consecutive day there was only one more fresh infection in Wuhan, the central city where the virus first emerged late last year, the National Health Commission said.
New cases in surrounding Hubei province have now been in the single digits for the past seven days, down from a peak of several thousand per day in early February.
Wuhan and its 11 million people were placed under strict quarantine on January 23, with the rest of Hubei entering lockdown in the following days.
But there has been an easing of restrictions in some parts of the province in recent days, with China saying it has "basically curbed" the spread of the virus.
A number of smaller cities are now allowing healthy people to leave the province to return to work or their hometowns elsewhere.
But imported cases are a rising concern for China, with 12 more reported Wednesday, bringing the total number to 155 and fuelling fears of an influx.
An average of 20,000 people are flying into China every day, according to the government, and 10 Chinese provinces and cities are imposing mandatory quarantines on those arriving from abroad.
Beijing is requiring almost all international arrivals go into a 14-day quarantine at designated hotels in the capital.
Five of the new imported cases reported on Wednesday were in southern Guangdong — China's most populous province, which announced quarantines on Monday. Beijing and Shanghai each had three, and there was one elsewhere.
China also reported 11 deaths Wednesday, raising its toll from the virus to 3,237, and total infections on the mainland reached 80,894.
The head of the World Health Organization-led team in the central Chinese city of Wuhan probing the origins of COVID-19 said on Tuesday that cold chain transmission of the virus is a possibility and warrants further investigation.
The group was driven to the Jinyintan Hospital, one of the city’s first to deal with patients in early 2020 suffering from a then-unknown virus, as the horrors of the virus emerged in the central Chinese city.
The mission, delayed by China and weighed down by political baggage, has a remit to explore how the virus jumped from animal to human. Experts say the Huanan market still plays a role in tracing the origins of the virus, since the first cluster of cases was identified there.
The comments came after the WHO chief said on Tuesday he was “very disappointed” that Beijing had yet to finalise permission even as the team of experts had begun travelling to China to explore the beginnings of the virus, which first emerged in late 2019 in the central city.
Tens of thousands of protesters marched in support of Palestinians on Saturday in major European cities including London, Berlin, Madrid and Paris.
The big winner was from Egypt, Asmaa Al Awani, who won the grand prize, a brand-new BMW car, while 5 shoppers won shopping worth Dhs5,000, 10 winners won Dhs2,500 shopping vouchers, and 10 lucky shoppers won a cash prize worth Dhs1,000 for each.
Cases have fallen steadily in some Indian states hit by an initial surge in infections, such as the richest state of Maharashtra and the capital New Delhi, after they imposed stringent lockdowns. Testing rates also at their lowest since Sunday.
The NCOC late last month announced a new set of restrictions including a blanket ban on tourism and inter-provincial transport in an attempt to contain a further rise in already mounting coronavirus cases under the "Stay Home, Stay Safe” strategy.