China has recorded the highest total number of cases in a day of more than five months, according to the National Health Commission, with three cities blocked in an attempt to prevent a new wave of infections in the world’s second-largest economy.
Most of the new patients enrolled, according to data from Tuesday, are near the capital Beijing, but a province in northeast China is also seeing an increase in new cases, official data released on Wednesday showed.
A statement from the National Health Commission said 1
The commission said 107 of the new cases were local infections. Hebei Province, which bypasses Beijing, accounts for 90 of the cases, while the northeastern province of Heilongjiang reported 16 new cases.
Hebei has blocked three cities – Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Langfang – as part of efforts to further spread the virus, while Beijing city officials have stepped up screening and prevention measures to prevent the development of another cluster.
The number of daily new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, has dropped from 81 to 38.
The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in mainland China now stands at 87,706, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.
The number of new cases reported in recent days remains a small fraction of what China saw in the midst of the outbreak in early 2020. The increase in cases comes when a team formed by the World Health Organization to investigate the origin of the virus prepares to arrive in Wuhan, the city in the heart of the global hearth.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that the team would fly directly to Wuhan. Spokesman Zhao Lijiang did not answer questions about whether the team would be quarantined and did not give further details.
A delegation of WHO scientists tasked with investigating the origin of the virus is expected to arrive in China on Thursday, after nearly a year of negotiations. They expected to travel to Wuhan and talk to scientists on the spot, but Chinese authorities are reluctant to go into details and nothing has been confirmed.
Members of the WHO team began leaving their homelands early last week only to find that Chinese officials had not finalized the necessary permits. WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreesus said he was “very disappointed”, but Chinese authorities said the two countries were still in discussions.
The research mission is a priority for the WHO and has widespread international support, but observers are urging people to manage the team’s expectations of reaching any conclusions during the trip, and researchers say the mission is not about sharing the blame.
“It’s about reducing risk. And the media can help by avoiding pointing a Trump-style finger. Our work is not political, “said Fabian Lienderz, a professor of epidemiology of highly pathogenic microorganisms in German public health and part of the team.