World

Imported coronavirus cases risk fanning second wave: China official

WUHAN: A growing number of imported coronavirus cases in China risked fanning a second wave of infections when domestic transmissions had "basically been stopped", a senior health official said yesterday.

China, where the disease first emerged in the city of Wuhan, has had a total of 693 cases entering from overseas, which meant "the possibility of a new round of infections remains relatively big", spokesman for the National Health Commission (NHC) Mi Feng said.

Nearly a quarter of those came from arrivals in Beijing.

"Beijing, the capital, still bears the brunt of the risks," Mr Xu Hejian, spokesman for the Beijing government, said.

Most of those imported cases have involved Chinese returning home from abroad.

A total of 3,300 people have now died in China, and it has nearly 81,450 infections.

In the last seven days, China has reported 313 imported cases but only six confirmed cases of domestic transmission, NHC's data showed.

There were 45 new cases reported on Saturday, down from 54 on the previous day, with all but one involving travellers from overseas.

Airlines have been ordered to sharply cut international flights from yesterday, and restrictions on foreigners entering the country went into effect on Saturday.

Five more people died on Saturday, all of them in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. The city has reported only one new case in the last 10 days.

QUARANTINE

In South Korea, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun yesterday said every person arriving from overseas must soon undergo two weeks of quarantine.

The country confirmed 105 new cases as of Saturday, bringing its total to 9,583, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday.

Of the new cases, 41 were travellers from overseas, including 40 South Korean citizens and one foreigner. - REUTERS

WORLD