China recorded a steep rise in the imported coronavirus cases as expatriates and students returned home from the United States and Europe, sparking fears about the second wave of the disease that might spread across the country, as per reports. As of March 21, at least 41 cases confirmed in the mainland were mostly imported from overseas.
According to the reports, the National Health Commission of China told the press that there were no locally transmitted cases across the country anymore for the third consecutive day. The cases were reported after students returned from Europe and the US because the universities were shut as the pandemic spiked in these nations, it said.
Mi Feng, the spokesman of the National Health Commission, said at a regular press briefing, that since March 11, when the World Health Organization declared the epidemic as a pandemic, the cumulative number of imported cases across China has risen from 85 to 269, up by 216% and outpacing the 98% increase in the cumulative worldwide confirmed cases. He said that China must prevent the imported cases of the pathogen from overseas that could trigger a rebound in cases.
At least five out of the total students were Chinese returning from abroad. Among Shanghai's record nine cases, as many as five students entered the country from Britain, France, and Switzerland confirmed the Chinese state media report. Infected cases entered China through the major public transport hub of Shenzhen, including some that made their way back to the mainland from Hong Kong via land routes.
The first phase of a clinical trial of a vaccine has commenced in China, state-backed Science and Technology Daily reported. At least 36 volunteers, including the citizens of Wuhan, aged between 18 and 60, will reportedly undergo a 14-day quarantine for the clinical trial of the antidote vaccine, it further stated.
(with inputs from agencies)