Wuhan reports first virus infection in over a month

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A woman and her child wear protective masks a nearly empty commercial street in Beijing on 18 February. (Photo by Kevin Frayer)
A woman and her child wear protective masks a nearly empty commercial street in Beijing on 18 February. (Photo by Kevin Frayer)

China on Sunday reported the first case of coronavirus in over a month in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak first started in December last year.

China's National Health Commission also reported the first double-digit increase in countrywide cases in nearly 10 days, saying 14 new infections had been confirmed.

Two of the cases were imported into the country from overseas, the commission said.

The virus first emerged in Wuhan, a major industrial and transport city in central China, in December.

It has since infected nearly four million people worldwide - claiming more than 270 000 lives - and crippled the global economy.

The total number infected in China is 82 901, with an official death toll of 4 633.

No new deaths have been reported for nearly a month.

China's ruling Communist Party imposed a quarantine lockdown on tens of millions of people - first in Wuhan and then the rest of Hubei province - beginning January 23, making Wuhan the first place in the world subjected to draconian restrictions.

Authorities started lifting restrictions in late March.

China has faced criticism both at home and abroad for downplaying the virus and concealing information about the outbreak when it first emerged in Wuhan.

Beijing has insisted it has always shared information with the World Health Organisation and other countries in a timely manner.

A top health official said Saturday, however, that the outbreak exposed "shortcomings" in China's public healthcare system.

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