© Reuters. A woman with a face mask is seen on a street after the Wuhan lock was lifted
BEIJING (Reuters) – China reported an increase in new coronavirus cases on Saturday as authorities try to ward off a second wave of infection, particularly through imported and asymptomatic cases, as city and travel restrictions are lifted.
The National Health Commission said 46 new cases were reported on Friday, including 42 with overseas travelers, compared with 42 the previous day.
In its statement, the Commission added that 34 new asymptomatic cases were reported, compared to 47 the previous day.
The number of infections in mainland China is now 81,953. The death toll increased by three to 3,339.
The rigorous curbs that have been imposed since January have helped to contain infections from the peak of the pandemic in February. However, policymakers fear a second wave triggered by overseas arrivals or asymptomatic patients.
The northeast of Heilongjiang recently reported an increase in new cases because Chinese nationals have entered the province from Russia, which has led to an increase in cases.
Provincial health officials said they imported 22 new cases, all Chinese nationals from Russia, and one new case in Harbin, the capital, on Friday.
In Inner Mongolia, 27 new cases were imported from Russia every day until Saturday morning, the region's health agency said.
The central province of Hubei, where the virus appeared at the end of last year, reported no new cases for a seventh day in a row.
An increase in virus infections has prompted the Guangzhou authorities to tighten foreigners' controls and order bars and restaurants not to serve customers who appear to be of African origin, the U.S. consulate said in the southern city.
Anyone with "African contacts" faces mandatory virus testing and subsequent quarantine, regardless of recent travel history or previous isolation, a statement said.
It advised African-Americans or those suspected of contacting African nationals to avoid the city.
Since the epidemic broke out in Wuhan, the provincial capital, it has spread worldwide, infected 1.6 million people and killed more than 100,000 people.
(Interactive graphical tracking of coronavirus distribution worldwide: Open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.)
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