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New cases prompt cities to step up virus control efforts

By WANG XIAODONG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-05-12 07:25
A community worker disinfects the elevator in Shulan city, Northeast China's Jilin province, May 10, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The number of new daily confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland has rebounded to double digits over the past two days, prompting authorities in key areas to step up epidemic control efforts.

Seventeen new confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported on the Chinese mainland on Sunday, including seven imported from overseas and 10 domestic cases, according to the National Health Commission.

On Saturday, the Chinese mainland reported 14 new confirmed cases, including two imported from overseas. There was also one suspected case.

Before Saturday, the daily number of new confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland had remained in single digits since the beginning of this month. The COVID-19 outbreak in China was largely brought under control in China in late February, and the Chinese mainland saw no new reports of domestically transmitted cases on March 19 for the first time, according to National Health Commission.

Mi Feng, the commission's deputy chief for publicity, said at a news conference on Monday that seven provincial areas in China had reported new domestically transmitted cases over the past two weeks, and the number of cluster cases is increasing.

"It is necessary to identify infection sources and transmission routes, trace close contacts and put them in isolation for medical treatment to cut off virus transmission," he said.

Of the 10 new confirmed domestic cases reported on Sunday, five were from Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, and the hardest-hit city by the epidemic in China, and all of these were from the same residential compound. The other five were reported in Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang, the three northeastern provinces.

Zhang Yuxin, the chief official in Changqing subdistrict in Wuhan's Dongxihu district, was removed from his post for failures in epidemic prevention and control work at the residential compound, local authorities said on Monday.

The city's health commission said on Monday that Wuhan faces heavy tasks in epidemic prevention and control, and it urged constant efforts to prevent a rebound of the outbreak.

The city reported one confirmed case on Saturday. Previously, no new confirmed cases had been reported in the city for 35 consecutive days.

In Shulan, a city in Jilin province, 13 confirmed cases have been reported since Thursday, ending more than 70 days of no new domestically transmitted cases in the province, Jin Hua, the city's mayor, said at a news conference on Monday.

Jilin City's Fengman district also reported two new cases on Monday.

Experts from the National Health Commission have arrived in Shulan to guide the city's epidemic control and prevention work.

The city has declared it is now in a state of war and will take the most stringent epidemic control and prevention measures, including tracing and screening all close contacts of new cases and putting them in isolation, imposing a lockdown on all residential compounds and villages, and banning all clinics and retail pharmacies from receiving fever patients or selling drugs that treat fever, Jin said. Shulan is now the only place on the Chinese mainland graded as a high-risk area.

The city had already imposed a strict lockdown on all of its residential areas, permitting only one member of each household to leave home to do shopping every day.

Fan Ming, an official at the Health Commission of Jilin Province, said on Monday that five epidemiologists from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention have arrived in Shulan to help trace the infection sources and their close contacts, and major progress is expected soon.

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