China has reported 27 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases, taking their total to 984, while a high-level committee headed by Premier Li Keqiang asked health officials to remain focussed on the targeted containment of the deadly virus.
Asymptomatic cases refer to people who are tested COVID-19 positive but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. However, they pose a risk of spreading the disease to others.
Besides the 27 asymptomatic patients, 10 new confirmed COVID cases, including six from Chinese returning from abroad, were reported in the country on Wednesday. The four other patients -- three from Heilongjiang province bordering Russia and one in Guangdong province -- were domestically transmitted, China's National Health Commission (NHC) said on Thursday.
No death was reported on Wednesday, the NHC said. As of Wednesday, the overall confirmed COVID-19 cases in China increased to 82,798, including 4,632 fatalities and 1,616 imported cases, it said.
Of the total imported cases, 37 are in critical condition, the NHC said. But more concerning factor for the Chinese authorities is the steady increase of asymptomatic cases among locals.
The 27 new asymptomatic cases, including one from abroad, were reported on the mainland, the NHC said, adding that 984 such asymptomatic patients, including 166 from abroad, were still under medical observation.
In a meeting on Wednesday, the Central Leading Group headed by Premier Li said considering the new circumstances and challenges at home and abroad, health official should stay focussed on targeted containment and detecting and reinforcing areas of weakness to forestall any resurgence of infection.
The Central Leading Group is supervising the COVID-19 containment efforts since January. The meeting noted the recent occurrence of case clusters and cross infections in hospitals in a few Chinese cities, an official press release here said.
It directed competent authorities to promptly send a working group consisting of disease control and medical experts to cities concerned to supervise local efforts in ascertaining causes and releasing information.
The meeting also called for all-round progress in restarting work and full-capacity production and restoring normal life and work on the basis of regularized containment measures.
Meanwhile, as of Wednesday, 1,033 confirmed cases, including four deaths, were reported in Hong Kong. Macao registered 45 COVID-19 cases and Taiwan 426, including six fatalities. A total of 678 patients in Hong Kong, 26 in Macao and 236 in Taiwan have been recovered.