China records highest surge in COVID-19 cases since April

BEIJING: China recorded 61 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday (Jul 26) – the highest daily figure since April – propelled by clusters in three separate regions that have sparked fears of a fresh wave.

Of the new infections, 41 were in the far western region of Xinjiang, where a sudden outbreak in the regional capital of Urumqi occurred in mid-July.

Fourteen domestic cases were also recorded in the northeastern province of Liaoning where a fresh cluster broke out in the city of Dalian last week.

Two more local cases were found in the neighbouring province of Jilin near the North Korean border – the first since late May.

The remaining four were imported cases, according to a statement by the National Health Commission on Monday.

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Sunday’s COVID-19 figure is the highest daily tally of new cases since Apr 14, when 89 cases, mostly imported, were recorded.

China also reported 44 new asymptomatic patients, down from 68 a day earlier.

Chinese authorities have rolled out mass testing for hundreds of thousands of people in the port city of Dalian.

A second wave of mass testing was also launched in Xinjiang’s Urumqi on Sunday to detect residents who had previously tested false negative, reported the state-run Global Times, following a mass testing effort earlier this month.

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More than 2.3 million people in the city of 3.5 million have been tested so far, according to a local press conference Friday.

The outbreaks come as the Chinese Super League football tournament kicked off its much-delayed season on Saturday.

Residential communities in both Dalian and Urumqi have been placed under lockdown, with authorities declaring a “wartime mode” to combat the virus.

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Experts still have not confirmed the origin of the recent Xinjiang cluster, which has infected 178 people to date.

The fresh infections in Jilin were announced just days after President Xi Jinping concluded an inspection tour of the province last week.

China now has 83,891 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 4,634 fatalities.

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