China reports 21 new cases on Monday

Cheryl Sanders
March 17, 2020

All of the deaths were in Hubei Province, according to the National Health Commission.

China, where the epidemic began in December, appears to now face a greater threat of new infections from outside its borders as it continues to slow the spread of the virus domestically.

China tightened quarantine measures for worldwide arrivals on Monday as the country worries about a rise in imported cases of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and anger raged online at how Europe and the USA are handling the pandemic.

Sixteen imported cases were reported on the mainland Saturday. Three of the cases in Beijing involved travellers from Spain while one came from Italy and the other from Thailand.

People arriving from overseas had previously been allowed to undergo the mandatory two-week quarantine at home, but now only those in "special circumstances" will be exempted from being sent to facilities where they must pay for their stay, state-run Beijing Daily reported Sunday.

All expenses during the period will be borne by those in quarantine, city deputy secretary-general Chen Bei said.

"But now Europe has suddenly become the new center of the epidemic, bringing us huge uncertainty".

However, on March 11, she had another chest scan which showed an infection in her lungs.

All inbound overseas flights to Beijing will now land at the city's main global airport, where travellers will be handled separately at a designated area, state newspaper Beijing Daily reported on Sunday. That brings the total number of imported cases to 123 so far.

Beijing Capital International Airport has cordoned off a special zone for all international flights, with all disembarking passengers required to take health check-ups.

One coronavirus-themed hashtag was viewed 60 million times on China's Twitter-like Weibo site, with many users saying they wished US President Donald Trump was infected, and others calling for "strict" controls to prevent imported cases.

Another 20 cases of infections contracted outside China were also reported - nine in Beijing, three in Guangdong Province, three in Shanghai, while Zhejiang, Shandong, Yunnan and Shaanxi Provinces, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region all reported one case each.

After that case, Beijing found several other imported cases from Iran of people who had been in close contact with the translator.

China's death toll from the virus now stands at 3,213, while fewer than 10,000 people are currently still infected - down from tens of thousands in recent weeks.

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