China today reported its first coronavirus death since May – as the country suffered its biggest daily jump in infections in more than 10 months.
The latest death, the first in eight months, took place in the Hebei province on Thursday but no further details were given by the National Health Commission.
China has been battling to contain a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, while World Health Organiaation experts prepared to fly to Wuhan to investigate the origins of the pandemic.
The nation’s biggest daily jump in coronavirus cases since March 5 was reported on Thursday, with 138 infections noted compared to 115 cases a day earlier.
Infections in the northeastern Heilongjiang province have nearly tripled, underscoring a growing threat ahead of the Lunar New Year on February 12.
The authorities in Heilongjiang Province – with a population of 37.5 million people – declared an ’emergency state’ on Wednesday. Pictured: A medic conducts a test on a resident in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang
Pictured: A worker in a protective suit takes a swab from a child for a coronavirus test in Shijiazhuang in northern China’s Hebei Province on Monday
The Chinese province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, has emerged as a new virus hot spot
The Commission said 124 of the new cases were local infections, 81 of which were reported in Hebei province surrounding Beijing and 43 in Heilongjiang.
Heilongjiang, which has more than 37million residents, declared an ’emergency state’ on Wednesday, ordering residents not to leave the province unless absolutely necessary.
Meanwhile, millions were seen lining up in sub-zero temperatures to receive a second round of coronavirus tests in the capital of Hebei province yesterday.
The province, with a population of around 75million, has emerged as the new Covid-19 epicentre in China‘s latest outbreak of the deadly virus.
Though the recent increases in cases remain a fraction of what the country saw at the height of the pandemic, China put more than 28 million people under home quarantine in January in a bid to curb the spread of the disease.
Millions were lining up in subzero temperatures to receive a second round of coronavirus tests in Hebei Province. This picture shows residents wait to be tested in Shijiazhuang on Tuesday
Women wearing face masks ride on a motorcycle during rush hour in Wuhan on Wednesday
The new wave of infections comes ahead of next month’s Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of people typically travel to their home towns.
The resurgence has already prompted some provinces to discourage travel, which could lead to reduced travel and dampen consumption during the long break.
China had largely brought the coronavirus under control since its emergence in Wuhan late in 2019.
But recent weeks have seen smatterings of cases, prompting localised lockdowns, immediate travel restrictions and widespread testing of tens of millions of people.
More than 20million people are now under some form of lockdown in the country’s northern regions.
All of the 37.5million residents of Heilongjiang have been ordered not to leave the area unless absolutely necessary, and to cancel conferences and gatherings.
The nation’s biggest daily jump in Covid-19 cases since March 5 was reported on Thursday, with 138 infections noted compared to 115 cases a day earlier. Pictured: Wuhan
Volunteers stop a car at a checkpoint on a road leading into their village, following the coronavirus outbreak, on the outskirts of Beijing
Suihua city, a short car journey north and home to more than 5.2million people, was sealed off on Monday after reporting one confirmed case and 45 asymptomatic cases.
Several other small cities near Suihua were also sealed off or placed under travel restrictions, authorities said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, officials in Shijiazhuang ordered the city’s roughly 11million residents to undergo a second round of testing as authorities seek to isolate the sources of the outbreak.
Some of the infections have been tentatively linked to wedding gatherings.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 78 from 38 a day earlier.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mainland China now stands at 87,844, while the death toll rose to 4,635.