China has reported dozens of new COVID-19 cases, predominantly due to the arrival of foreign residents into the country. Doctors fear that it might trigger another large-scale outbreak in the country.
New 'imported' coronavirus cases reported in China
China reported 78 new cases of the deadly coronavirus on Tuesday, with the majority of infected patients coming in from overseas, raising fears over a second wave of infections in the country.
The city of Wuhan, where the virus originated in December 2019, also reported its first new case in nearly a week along with seven more deaths, according to the National Health Commission, the New Straits Times reported.
Among the 78 new cases reported on Tuesday, 74 are imported cases, the highest tally since officials started reporting the data since the beginning of March, and nearly twice the number of cases reported on Monday. The total tally of imported cases in China has soared to 427.
Second outbreak 'inevitable'
Over the last few days, almost all of the new infections across China have been brought in from other countries, and Beijing is becoming increasingly concerned about the new influx just as the country appears to be on the verge of bringing the outbreak in the country under control.
Chinese media outlets have issued warnings of a second wave of infections in the country, with China's nationalistic Global Times publishing a front-page report with the warning that "inadequate quarantine measures" mean a new wave of COVID-19 cases is "highly likely, even inevitable."
A leading Beijing-based Coronavirus expert also warned China to prepare for a second outbreak. Professor Li Lanjuan, a member of China's expert team on the virus, also echoed state media's sentiments. As we previously reported, Li said she was "very worried that imported cases could trigger another large-scale epidemic in our country."
"Cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou have frequent international communications. [I am] very worried that imported cases could trigger another large-scale epidemic in our country," she explained, before adding that it will be an "arduous" task to prevent infections from abroad.
Taking into account the new cases, China's total number of COVID-19 cases stand at 81,514 and the death toll has reached 3,281.
China eases lockdown restrictions
As the country struggles to contain the imported cases, things appear to be going back to normal in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province, where 56 million people have been in lockdown since January. Travel and work restrictions have also been relaxed in the province but authorities might be forced to reverse it in order to prevent the outbreak from relapsing.
In a plea to the government, Chinese media is urging all cities to put those arriving from countries affected by the virus under a 14-day mandatory quarantine even if they do not show symptoms while those arriving from other countries should self-isolate for two weeks.