China recorded its highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases Sunday since mid-April, according to AFP and Reuters.
There were 61 new cases reported on Sunday, up from 46 on Saturday. Of the reported cases, 57 did not come from people who had recently traveled outside of the country, making it the highest count of reported cases due to domestic transmission since March 6.
All 61 cases were reported from three regions: Xinjiang with 41 new cases, Liaoning with 14, and Jilin with two. Cases in Xinjiang and Liaoning have been rising for the last few days, according to Reuters, but the first reported cases in Jilin since late May are attributed to travelers from Liaoning.
As long as #COVID19 is circulating, we are all at risk. That’s why we’re asking everyone to treat the decisions about where they go, what they do and who they meet with as life-and-death decisions – because they are. pic.twitter.com/ALeUcT1uv4
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) July 25, 2020
According to Chinese health authorities, China has now reported a total of 83,891 cases and 4,634 deaths since the start of the pandemic. There have been no reported deaths from the virus since mid-May.
Can Chinese Numbers Be Trusted?
As these numbers emerge from China, it’s important to evaluate them with scrutiny and recall how the Chinese government manipulated COVID-19 numbers earlier in the pandemic.
In late March and early April, China announced that health authorities had significantly undercounted their number of positive coronavirus cases by not including asymptomatic patients in their official count.
By the time they announced they would count asymptomatic carriers of the virus in official releases, there had previously been seven other definitions of what constituted a positive, reportable case, according to Time.
Additionally, at the beginning of the pandemic, in January, local and national authorities in China actively worked to hide the presence of the virus outbreak and suppress news about COVID-19 from Wuhan, the local origin of the virus.
Masks Mandatory in Hong Kong
Meanwhile, in nearby Hong Kong, cases are spiking this week, too. The city reported 142 new cases on Monday and the same day, Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung announced new stricter social distancing guidelines.
Masks are now mandatory in all outdoor areas, Cheung said, and people cannot gather in groups larger than two people from different households. Violators of the new mask rules could face up to $645 in fines.
Cheung also announced that swimming pools and dine-in services at restaurants will close for at least a week to help slow the spread of the virus.
“The epidemic situation is critical,” Cheung said during his announcement. “We are facing a high risk of community outbreak.”