China has reported the highest daily tally of new confirmed Covid-19 cases since January, driven by a surge in imported infections in southwestern Yunnan province, which shares a border with Myanmar.
Mainland China recorded 65 new confirmed cases for 19 July, compared with 31 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said in a statement on Tuesday. That was the most since 30 January, when 92 new cases were reported.
Imported infections accounted for most of the new cases reported for 19 July, with Yunnan reporting 41 new cases originating from abroad, all of whom were Chinese nationals who recently returned from Myanmar.
The current bout of cases in Yunnan started on 4 July, and has been concentrated in Ruili and Longchuan, two small cities on China’s border with Myanmar, which has been hit by a sharp uptick in infections since June.
Ruili, battling its fourth outbreak since the pandemic started, reported seven new locally transmitted cases for 19 July, while Longchuan had one.
Ruili is a key overland transit point for Yunnan, which has a 4,000 km (2,485-mile) border with Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Yunnan vice-governor Zong Guoying promised on Sunday to establish a “fortress of iron” to stop further transmissions as he visited Ruili.
In the prefecture of Xishuangbanna, which also shares a long and porous border with Myanmar, police have set up checkpoints on all roads to inspect all incoming and outgoing traffic.
Travel outside Xishuangbanna’s urban centre of Jinghong was discouraged, and special permits were also required to enter neighbouring cities of Lincang and Puer, as well as Ruili, police told Reuters during a recent visit.
For mainland China, 19 asymptomatic coronavirus cases were detected on 19 July, compared to 17 a day earlier. China does not count asymptomatic infections as confirmed cases.
China’s total of Covid-19 cases has now reached 92,342, with deaths unchanged at 4,636.