A year after Wuhan lockdown, China reports small rise in COVID-19 cases

SHANGHAI: China on Saturday (Jan 23) reported a slight increase in new cases of COVID-19 as it marks the anniversary of the world’s first coronavirus lockdown, in the city of Wuhan where the disease emerged in late 2019.

The National Health Commission said 107 new COVID-19 cases had been identified on Saturday, up from 103 cases the day before.

The commission said in a statement that 90 of the new cases were local infections.

Medical worker collects a swab from a woman for nucleic acid testing in Beijing
A medical worker in a protective suit collects a swab from a woman for nucleic acid testing at a makeshift testing site following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China Jan 22, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Yilei Sun)

The northeastern province of Heilongjiang recorded 56 new cases and neighbouring Jilin province had 13. Both Beijing and Shanghai recorded three new cases each, and the province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, recorded 15 new cases.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 99 from 119 cases a day earlier.

Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in some areas on Friday and Shanghai was testing all hospital staff as China faced its worst novel coronavirus outbreak since March, with families fretting over Lunar New Year reunion plans.

Also on Friday, China reported its first cluster of cases among workers in a meat processing plant in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang, raising consumer concerns.

People line up to get their nucleic acid test at a mass testing site following the outbreak of the
People line up to get their nucleic acid test at a mass testing site following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China, Jan 22, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

People getting nucleic acid test in Beijing
A man gets a nucleic acid test at a makeshift testing site in a park following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China Jan 23, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China stands at 88,911, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635.

Wuhan shut down transport networks and suspended outgoing flights on Jan 23, 2020, in an attempt to cut off transmission of the virus.

READ: Pride and caution in Wuhan on COVID-19 lockdown anniversary

READ: Then and now: Wuhan bustles a year after world’s first COVID-19 lockdown

China on Friday premiered a documentary film to mark the anniversary of the lockdown, part of a broader effort to cast China’s early response to COVID-19 in a positive light after some suggestions, which authorities reject, of an initial delay.

More than 2 million people around the world have died from the novel coronavirus, according to a Reuters tally.

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