The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in China stands at 82,947 and the death toll is 4634. Image by AP PHOTO

health

China opens more schools, revives flights

2020-05-17 19:12:59

Mainland China has reported five new confirmed COVID-19 cases for May 16, down from eight the previous day, the National Health Commission says in a statement.

Two of the five confirmed cases were so-called imported infections, while three were locally transmitted in the northeastern Chinese city of Jilin.

The number of confirmed cases in the mainland now stands at 82,947 and the death toll at 4634.

The three domestically-transmitted cases are related to a district in Jilin city called Fengman, which has been classified by Chinese officials as a high-risk area for COVID-19.

Heightened disease control measures in the district include only allowing only one person from a family to go out and purchase daily necessities each day, acccording to the district’s official post on WeChat.

Residents were advised not to leave the city and any who do need to leave must provide a negative test result taken within the previous 48 hours.

Jilin is the second largest city of Jilin province, which borders North Korea and Russia. It temporarily suspended passenger train services last Wednesday.

The number of China’s new asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus fell to 12 from 13, the NHC said.

Zhong Nanshan, the Chinese government’s senior medical adviser told CNN on Saturday that the danger of a second wave of infections is looming large.

“The majority of … Chinese at the moment are still susceptible to COVID-19 infection because (of) a lack of immunity,” Zhong said. “We are facing (a) big challenge, it’s not better than the foreign countries I think at the moment.”

Zhong acknowledged that the number of infections were initially under reported in Wuhan but said the government has learned lessons from the SARS epidemic 17 years ago and he thinks all the data will be correct since January 23.

In Shanghai, students retain the option of continuing to follow classes online rather than facing virus testing and social distancing measures at schools. As in Beijing and other cities, Shanghai has already restarted classes for middle and high school students preparing for exams.

No new deaths have been reported for the past month, but Jilin added one fatality retroactively, bringing China’s total to 4634 out of 82,947 cases recorded since the outbreak was first detected in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

Just 86 people remain hospitalised for treatment of COVID-19 while another 519 are in supervised isolation for showing signs of the virus or having tested positive without displaying symptoms.

China now has the capacity to perform 1.5 million nucleic acid tests per day, National Health Commission Guo Yanhong told reporters on Saturday.

The commission is placing a new emphasis on bio-safety, management of laboratories and training of personnel, Guo said.

Meanwhile, the number of domestic flights has returned to 60 per cent of pre-outbreak levels, exceeding 10,000 per day for the first time since February 1, the country’s civil aviation regulator reported.

With the summer holidays approaching, numerous tourist sites have reopened, including Beijing’s storied Forbidden City palace complex and Shanghai’s Disneyland resort, although with strict social distancing measures still in place.