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By K J M Varma

Beijing/Wuhan, Apr 11 () China’s health authorities on Saturday asked the public to strengthen protective measures and avoid gatherings after a number of cluster infections of the coronavirus were reported in some parts of the country, sparking concerns about the re-emergence of the vicious virus.

All localities should intensify screenings and detection of Covid-19 cases, targeting key places and groups with high risks of infection, in order to minimise the risk of an epidemic rebound, Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission (NHC) said.

Noting that cluster infections have been reported in some parts of the country, Mi urged the public to strengthen protective measures and avoid gatherings, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

Concerns about the second wave of coronavirus cases grew as hundreds of Chinese citizens returned from abroad, including from countries hit hard by the coronavirus.

On Saturday, China reported 46 new coronavirus cases, including four local and 34 asymptomatic infections, while three more people died due to the global pandemic, taking the death toll in the country to 3,339.

According to the NHC, the Chinese mainland reported a total of 1,183 imported cases as of Friday. Of them, 449 have been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 734 are being treated with 37 in severe condition.

The overall confirmed cases in the country reached 81,953 by Friday, including 1,089 patients who were still being treated, 77,525 people discharged after recovery, it said.

A total of 46 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported on Friday, of which 42 were imported, it added.

The four new domestically transmitted cases were reported, with three in Guangdong and one in Heilongjiang, it said in its daily report on Saturday.

Three deaths, all in the epicentre Hubei province and eight new suspected cases, all imported ones, were reported on Friday on the mainland China, it said.

The commission said that 44 people, all imported ones, were still suspected of being infected with the virus.

Also on Friday, 34 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, including seven from abroad, were reported on the mainland.

The NHC said 1,092 asymptomatic cases, including 338 from abroad, were still under medical observation.

Asymptomatic cases refer to people who are tested positive for the coronavirus but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. They are infectious and pose a risk of spreading to others.

By Friday, 989 confirmed cases including four deaths had been reported in Hong Kong, 45 confirmed cases in Macao and 382 in Taiwan including six deaths.

The Health Commission of Wuhan, the origin of the pandemic, said the number of Covid-19 patients in severe and critical condition dropped below 100 on Friday showing further improvement of city, where the virus was first reported in December last year.

Among the 320 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospital, 51 were still in severe condition and 44 others in critical condition, it said

Medical experts said the treatment of the severe and critical cases remained difficult.

“Most of the severe patients (in Wuhan hospitals) have turned negative in nucleic acid testing, so the anti-virus treatment is no longer needed,” said Yuan Yufeng, vice president of Wuhan Leishenshan Hospital that mainly treats severely ill patients.

“Their main problems include severe organ damage caused by the disease, thus requiring advanced life support, and pre-existing health problems such as cerebral infarction, coronary disease and diabetes, which keep them in hospitals. Many of them are elderly patients and their treatment remains difficult,” he said

“The reason such patients are placed in the four largest hospitals in Wuhan is that the Chinese government hopes the hospitals’ medical prowess can help save their lives,” Yuan said, Xinhua reported. KJV NSA

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