Nearly all of China's new coronavirus cases outside Wuhan from abroad

Data shows 24 of 25 such cases reported on Friday were imported - mostly from Iran, Italy

A photo taken on March 5, 2020 shows a medical worker checking a patient at a temporary hospital set up for Covid-19 coronavirus patients in a sports stadium in Wuhan.
A photo taken on March 5, 2020 shows a medical worker checking a patient at a temporary hospital set up for Covid-19 coronavirus patients in a sports stadium in Wuhan.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING • About a quarter of China's new confirmed cases, and almost all of those outside the epidemic's epicentre in Wuhan, originated outside the country on Friday, according to official data.

Most of these cases, which include infections of Chinese nationals who caught the virus abroad, were in north-western China's Gansu province.

Gansu has confirmed 17 new cases imported from Iran, bringing the total imported cases to 28, the province's health authorities said late on Friday.

The 17 new patients were among quarantined passengers who entered the provincial capital of Lanzhou on commercial flights from Iran between March 2 and 5.

Outside of central China's Hubei province - where Wuhan is its capital - there were 25 new confirmed cases reported on Friday, of which 24 came from outside China.

The capital Beijing reported four new cases on Friday, of which three came from Italy, according to a notice from the Beijing health commission posted on its official Weibo account yesterday.

The fourth was a case of a recovered patient testing positive again.

There were also three cases in Shanghai that originated abroad, and one in Guangdong province on Friday, according to the National Health Commission.

The total nationwide number of cases that originated outside China reached 60 as of the end of Friday.

For the second day in a row, there were no new infections in Hubei outside of Wuhan, where new cases fell to the lowest level since Jan 25.

As imported virus infections from countries such as Italy and Iran emerge as the biggest source of new cases in China outside Hubei, Shanghai increased airport screening yesterday.

As imported virus infections from countries such as Italy and Iran emerge as the biggest source of new cases in China outside Hubei, Shanghai increased airport screening... It said it would step up control measures at the border, which had become "the main battlefield".

Shanghai said it would step up control measures at the border, which had become "the main battlefield".

At a news conference, Shanghai Customs officials said they would check all passengers from seriously affected countries for the virus, among other airport measures.

Shanghai already requires passengers flying in from such countries, regardless of nationality, to be quarantined for 14 days. They will now be escorted home in vehicles provided by the government.

Tighter screening has greatly lengthened waiting times at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport - some passengers say they have had to wait for as long as seven hours. The Shanghai government vowed yesterday to severely punish passengers who concealed infections.

Beijing police said yesterday they would work with other departments to prevent imported infections. They said some members of a Chinese family flying in from Italy on March 4 had failed to fill in health declarations accurately, and later tested positive for the virus.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 08, 2020, with the headline 'Nearly all of China's new cases outside Wuhan from abroad'. Subscribe