China’s health authority called for a stronger and more rigorous testing regime to ensure that the new coronavirus does not escape detection, whether in travellers arriving from abroad or from other parts of the country.
All localities must improve their testing capabilities, including those at border crossings, and report any epidemic information in a timely manner, the National Health Commission cited its director Ma Xiaowei as saying. Ma made the comments on Saturday, but they were released by the ministry on Monday.
China, where the new virus emerged late in 2019, reported 12 new confirmed cases on April 19, the lowest since March 13.
Despite the downtrend, officials remain concerned about the re-emergence of local transmissions in parts of the country, including Beijing, where a central district has been re-classified as high-risk following three recent local infections.
Ma singled out the provinces of Heilongjiang and Guangdong, saying they should identify the “weak links” in their ability to prevent and control the epidemic.
Of the 82 new local infections in China in the past 14 days, northeastern Heilongjiang province accounted for 42 and southern Guangdong province for 30.
The new local cases have been driven by an influx of Chinese nationals coming home from abroad, particularly in Heilongjiang, which has seen a surge in citizens returning from Russia.
Below is a Live Tracking of the cases, death toll and other information, updated daily: