China has reached its highest number of daily cases in nearly six weeks, with 108 patients reported as of April 12.
The highest number of cases reported in China was on March 5 with 143 patients testing positive for the deadly virus. After the following week, the number of cases continued to decline.
This record follows a recent influx of international travelers and citizens returning home. Reuters reports that 98 of whom comprise the new record of daily cases are people who entered China from another country. This raises deep concerns for China’s citizens, who have only just experienced relaxed quarantine measures after being in lockdown for months.
China’s resurgence in daily cases especially raises red flags for the capital city of Beijing and other major cities, where concerns arise regarding a potential second wave if restrictions are not maintained.
After relaxing its own regulations in response to the outbreak, the city of Hong Kong also experienced a major resurgence in number of confirmed cases, according to CNN. In the face of this sudden increase, the city has been pushed to reinstate restrictions in order to prevent further spread of the virus. Hong Kong was the global model for containing COVID-19; Virus mapping, social distancing, intensive handwashing, masks and other protective clothing are now the common measures taken for all impacted areas.
President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China also spoke at a Communist Party meeting this past week, where he brought to attention the increase in number of COVID-19 patients and suggesting potential methods to prevent further infection. Noting that many of the new cases along the northeast Heilongjiang province are coming from travelers of the neighboring country of Russia, border cities such as Suifenhe and Harbin are taking extreme precautions. This includes a four-week mandatory lockdown, as well as nucleic acid and antibody tests.
Currently, China reports approximately 82,160 confirmed cases and 3,341. However, foreign governments, as well as the public, suspect that these are misrepresentative numbers to understate the impact of COVID-19 in its “patient zero” state.
According to The Hill, the CIA has been “warning the Trump administration since February that China is underreporting their coronavirus cases.” Intelligence officials currently do not know the exact number of infected patients in China. Since the United States and parts of Western Europe have surpassed China’s total confirmed cases, public health officials are eager to learn accurate information from China in order to further understand and learn to cope with the virus.
As the source of the outbreak, China has suffered greatly, not just regarding COVID-related deaths, but also as a trade-based economy. In the face of employment and economic issues, locals are anxious to leave their homes and return to their daily lives. While it may be understandable to desire a return to normalcy, the resurgence in cases demonstrates an important reason to remain cautious during these times, as public health officials have emphasized.