Wuhan Records New Coronavirus Cases as China Puts Another City in Lockdown
Original epicenter of COVID-19 reports first new cluster of infections
Wuhan, the original epicenter of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, has just recorded its first new cluster of COVID-19 cases after lifting lockdown measures last month.
The new infections were reported on Monday, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence of the disease in China.
The news comes as the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) imposed lockdown measures on the north-eastern city of Shulan and its 600,000 residents, also due to a cluster of new cases.
The Chinese government has been easing coronavirus-related restrictions across China as businesses restart and people go back to work.
Five new confirmed cases were reported in Wuhan from people who all live in the same residential compound.
One of the patients is the wife of an 89-year-old man who, a day earlier, was the first confirmed case in the city in more than a month.
"At present, the task of epidemic prevention and control in the city is still very heavy," said the Wuhan health authority in a statement.
"We must resolutely contain the risk of a rebound."
All of the latest confirmed cases were previously classified as asymptomatic, people who test positive for the virus, and are capable of infecting others but do not show clinical signs such as a fever.
The new Wuhan cluster emerged after Shulan went into lockdown over the weekend.
The city in Jilin province had registered 12 COVID-19 cases in the space of two days, all linked to the same source.
Another case was reported today.
The chain of infections in Shulan started from a 45-year-old woman who is a laundry worker at the city's public security bureau, reported Beijing News.
She tested positive on May 7 before spreading the disease to 11 more, including her husband, three sisters and one brother-in-law, according to Jilin Health Commission.
The regional authority today reported three additional local cases, all of which are related to the cluster.
One of them lives in Shulan while the other two are from the city of Jilin and were uncovered through contact tracing of people who were in contact with earlier Shulan cases.
Shulan has been marked a high-risk area, the only place in China currently with that designation.
"We're now in a 'war-time' mode," said Jin Hua, mayor of Shulan, which until last Friday had reported no local cases for more than 70 days.
Officials have enforced draconian restrictions on its residents, with just one member of a household being allowed out each day to buy necessities.
Schools have been told to close again after some of the students had resumed classroom study.
The city's government will arrange officials to carry out door-to-door health checks to identify all suspected carriers, its mayor Jin Hua said today.
The number of asymptomatic cases in China is not known, as they only appear on the radar of health officials when they show up positive during tests conducted as part of contact tracing and health checks.
China does not include asymptomatic cases in its overall tally of confirmed cases, currently at 82,918, until they exhibit signs of infection. Mainland China has reported 4,633 deaths.
Hundreds of asymptomatic cases in Wuhan, which was released on April 8 from a months-long lockdown, are currently being monitored, according to the city's health authority.
The alleged number of new cases reported in China since April has been small compared with the thousands of confirmed each day in February, thanks to a nationwide regime of screening, testing, and quarantine.
The government said on Friday that China will gradually reopen cinemas, museums, and other recreational venues, though restrictions including mandatory reservations and a limit on numbers will be in place.
Shanghai has already reopened some night entertainment venues such as discotheques.
Walt Disney on Monday reopened its Shanghai Disneyland park to a reduced number of visitors.
New outbreaks in China in the past two months have mainly developed in residential compounds or at hospitals.
South Korea is also battling a wave of new cases, although the most recent outbreaks started in nightclubs and bars.
The Wuhan cases helped push the overall new COVID-19 infections confirmed on May 10 to 17, the highest daily increase since April 28.
Elsewhere in China, the provinces of Liaoning and Heilongjiang, both in north-eastern China, each reported one case, adding to worries about a resurgence of the outbreak in the region.
A 70-year-old patient in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang, had tested negative seven times before results turned positive.
Of the new cases, seven were so-called imported cases in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia involving travelers from overseas.
Across China, the number of new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases fell to 12 on May 10 compared with 20 reported a day earlier.