03/24/2020, 13.22
CHINA
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Travel to and from Wuhan is set to restart on 8 April. ‘Asymptomatic' cases are not counted

by Wang Zhicheng

According to official sources, no positive cases have been recorded in recent days, but an infection prevention team reports dozens of asymptomatic cases in Wuhan every day, which are not counted in official figures. If they were, they could increase the number of infected by more than 50 per cent. At present China has 81,747 positive cases.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Hubei’s provincial government today announced that the travel ban on Wuhan will be lifted as of 8 April. Travel to and from other cities in the province will resume tomorrow.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, is considered the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. For the past four days, no positive cases have been reported in the city.

The isolation of the city of 11 million inhabitants began on 23 January. Many other cities in the province and the country have also been placed in isolation.

At present, new cases in China are almost entirely "imported" by Chinese from abroad.

Yesterday, the National Health Commission reported 78 new cases of infection, 74 of which are “imported”. One of the other four was in Wuhan, whilst the other three were reported in unnamed parts of the country.

By late yesterday, China had a total of 81,747 cases, including 356 in Hong Kong, 195 in Taiwan and 25 in Macau. The death of at least 3,283 people can be directly attributed to the coronavirus, including four in Hong Kong and two in Taiwan.

However, according to a member of the infectious disease prevention and control team in Wuhan, every day the city continues to record “several or more than a dozen asymptomatic infected individuals,” i.e. people who have tested positive for COVID-19, but do not feel ill and are excluded from published numbers.

A study from early March 6 by Chinese and American researchers suggests in fact that asymptomatic cases and those with mild symptoms could account for at least 59 per cent of COVID-19 infections.

Last month, the National Health Commission decided that asymptomatic positive cases should not be counted with the number of infected and thus should not be reported.

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