Beijing: China has reported over 100 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in recent weeks, while two more people have died in the central Hubei Province, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus, taking the death toll in the country to 3,341, health officials said on Monday.
According to China’s National Health Commission (NHC), a total of 1,378 imported and 1,064 asymptomatic cases, as well as ten local infections have been reported.
Ten new domestically transmitted cases were reported, seven in Heilongjiang Province and three in Guangdong Province, the NHC said.
As many as 108 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the country on Sunday, of which 98 were people returning from abroad. Two deaths were reported all in epicentre Hubei Province, taking the overall death toll to 3,341, it said.
With the new increase in cases, the total number of cases in China has gone to 82,160 by Sunday.
Also as of Sunday, China had a total of 1,378 imported cases, of which 511 were discharged from hospitals after recovery and 867 were being treated with 38 in severe condition, the NHC said.
It also said that 61 new asymptomatic cases, including 12 from abroad, were reported, taking their tally to 1,064 cases, including 307 from abroad. They are all under medical observation.
Asymptomatic cases refer to people who are tested positive for the coronavirus but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. They are infectious and pose a risk of spreading to others.
Chinese officials say imported cases are on the rise as hundreds of people are returning to the country from various COVID-19 hotspots abroad, even though the deadly virus has been contained in epicentres of Hubei province and its capital Wuhan.
China on Sunday rushed a team of medical experts to its north-eastern city of Suifenhe, bordering Russia, after a spike in the number of imported coronavirus cases from the neighbouring country.
Suifenhe has so far reported 194 confirmed cases and more than 100 asymptomatic coronavirus carriers, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday. Most of the patients were Chinese nationals who crossed the border in recent days.
Experts said the number may increase.
“The proportion of COVID-19 patients has been very high at between 10 per cent to 20 per cent in each batch of inbound personnel,” said Yu Kaijiang, head of the local medical treatment team.
“The ratio in some batches was even higher,” he said.
Official data showed that so far a total of 2,497 people have entered Suifenhe from Russia.
By Sunday, 1,004 confirmed cases including four deaths had been reported in Hong Kong, 45 confirmed cases in the Macao and 388 in Taiwan including six deaths.
The novel coronavirus which originated from China in December has killed 114,185 people and infected over 1.8 million people globally. The US has the highest number of infections (556,044) and deaths (over 20,000), according to Johns Hopkins University data.