China's asymptomatic coronavirus cases have increased to 981, including 631 in Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly virus outbreak, while the government has stepped up vigil to contain the spread of the infection during the 5-day May Day holidays. While the confirmed cases were steadily on the decline in China, including in Wuhan, prompting the government to resume normal operations all over the country, the steady rise in asymptomatic cases continued to be a cause of concern.
Asymptomatic cases refer to people who tested positive for the coronavirus but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. They are infectious and pose a risk of spreading to others. China's National Health Commission (NHC) on Friday said 25 new asymptomatic cases were reported in the country, taking the total tally to 981, including 115 from abroad, who were still under medical observation.
The health commission of Hubei province said no new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 were reported for 27 consecutive days. But the province and its capital Wuhan reported 631 people with asymptomatic infections who are under medical observation. A total of 282,482 close contacts of COVID-19 patients in the province had been tracked by Thursday, 1,434 of whom were still under medical observation, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Hubei has so far reported 68,128 confirmed COVID-19 cases in total, including 50,333 in Wuhan. The NHC in its Friday report said 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in the country on Thursday, of which six were imported. The other six new cases were domestically transmitted, including five in Heilongjiang Province and one in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The death toll in the country remained at 4,633 as no new fatalities were reported on Thursday, it said.
As of Thursday, the overall confirmed cases in China had reached 82,874, including 599 patients who were still being treated and 77,642 people discharged after recovery, it said. Also, China has a total of 1,670 imported cases of which 505 were being treated with seven in severe conditions, the NHC said. Meanwhile, a high-level leading group headed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang which is supervising the operations to contain the coronavirus since January directed the officials to work out a well-calibrated response for the international Labour Day holiday.
China observed the May Day with a five-day official holiday during which thousands were expected to travel as the country has eased travel restrictions in recent weeks. "The responsibility for containment at all levels must be fully discharged, including specifying and strictly enforcing containment at transportation vehicles, hotels and tourist attractions, fully meeting the personal protection requirements, and rigorously forestalling large gatherings of tourists", an official press release issued by the leading group on Thursday said.
"Local governments must have sound contingency plans and enhance emergency preparedness. Any infection, once detected, must be promptly handled with targeted measures, and the transmission route be cut off as quickly as possible. Information should be released in a fact-based, open and transparent manner. No cover-up, under-reporting or delay of the disclosure will be allowed," it said. China is under severe international pressure to come clean on the origins of the coronavirus which broke out in Wuhan in December.