BEIJING, Apr 7 (Reuters) – Mainland China on Tuesday reported a decline in new cases of coronavirus after closing its borders to virtually all foreigners in order to curb imported infections, while the central city of Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak, did not record new deaths for the first time.
China had 32 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Monday, down from 39 cases the previous day, the National Health Commission said.
The 32 cases affected travelers who arrived from abroad, compared to 38 cases imported the day before. The total number of imported infections so far is 983, according to the health authority.
Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province, reported only two new confirmed cases in the past 14 days. People are slated to leave town on Wednesday for the first time since it closed on January 23 to curb the spread of the virus.
After far exceeding the February peak of infections, the Chinese authorities have turned their attention to imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who do not show symptoms but can still transmit the virus.
China has closed its borders to foreigners as the virus spread around the world, although most of the imported cases have been of Chinese citizens returning from abroad. International flights were down to about 3,000 a day in April, compared to tens of thousands earlier.
It also began testing the virus for all arrivals from abroad this month.
The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China totaled 81,740 as of Monday, while 3,331 people have died, according to authorities.
Wuhan, where daily deaths have fallen to single-digit figures since the end of March, had no new deaths on Monday.
China reported 30 new asymptomatic cases on Monday, nine of which involved travelers arriving in its territory. Of the new asymptomatic cases, 18 were in Hubei province.
According to data from Monday, there are 1,033 asymptomatic patients under medical observation.
(Information from Ryan Woo, Se Young Lee, and Huizhong Wu; edited by Shri Navaratnam and Muralikumar Anantharaman; translated by Tomás Cobos)