China may have managed to contain the coronavirus at home, but it’s not over the hump yet. There’s danger of a return of the deadly disease as the number of infected travelers entering the country reaches record levels.
The Chinese authorities have done huge work since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in Wuhan in late December. The blow was hard as 3,248 have died and 80,967 were infected, but for the last two days there was not a single domestically transmitted coronavirus case in the country.
But as the situation improved, many Chinese expatriates, including students, rushed back home to escape the coronavirus, which is now raging in Europe and North America. For many, it was too little too late as they were already infected.
On Thursday, China recorded 39 confirmed Covid-19 cases, all of them people coming from abroad, the National Health Commission said. The total number of imported infections now stands at 228, raising real fears of the second wave of the disease.
The vast majority of those new cases were discovered in Guangdong, Shanghai and the capital Beijing, which are all major transport hubs and main entry points for travelers. The Chinese media reported that the infected people arrived from the US, UK and Spain, among other countries.
Earlier this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that the coronavirus shouldn’t be allowed to make a comeback through imported infections. Many of the country’s regions have already ordered those arriving from abroad to spend 14 days in isolation in order to reverse the trend.
Header: A passenger in protective suit waits for check in at the Hong Kong International Airport. © Reuters / Tyrone Siu