China reported 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including 54 “imported” from abroad, as the country prepares to temporarily close its borders and drastically reduce international flights.
For the first time in three days, a case of contamination of local origin was identified in the east of the country, according to the official assessment.
Five deaths were also recorded in Hubei, the immense central province placed in quarantine at the end of January and whose restrictions have been progressively lifted since Wednesday.
China, from which the global pandemic started in December, has among its priorities today to prevent COVID-19 from returning to its soil from abroad. The country has a total of 595 “imported” cases.
The vast majority (90%) are Chinese returning to the country, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Beijing announced on Thursday evening that it will temporarily close its borders to most foreigners and drastically reduce its international flights.
The measure will take effect Saturday at 0 a.m. local time (Friday noon, ET).
These restrictions close the door of Chinese territory to tourists and foreigners domiciled in China but currently outside the country. Business travellers seem to be spared.
Holders of service and diplomatic passports will however still be able to enter Chinese territory.
The country has also announced a drastic reduction in international flights, again due to COVID-19.
From Sunday, a Chinese company will only be able to make a single weekly connection from China to a third country. A foreign company can only maintain one service per week to China.
The new coronavirus has infected at least 81,340 people in China and left 3,292 dead, according to data released by the authorities.