Imported cases surge at border

By Ni Hao and Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/6 20:08:40

China temporarily closes Far East port with Russia

 Photo: IC

The risk of imported cases to China from neighboring countries is increasing, an official noted Monday, after a Chinese port city near Russia reported 20 imported cases from the other side in one day.

Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission, announced at a Monday press conference that 38 imported cases were found across China on Sunday, raising the total number to 951.  

Mi said the risk of imported cases to China from neighboring countries is increasing.

Mi's remarks came after Suifenhe, a port city in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, reported 20 imported cases from Vladivostok, Russia on Sunday, raising the number of imported cases discovered in Suifenhe to 39.

The local government ordered the port closed from April 7-13 as the surging number of people entering has exceeded the port's epidemic testing capacity as well as the city's quarantine and testing capacity. The decision was made after discussions with Vladivostok authorities, the government said on its website on Friday.

Timely measures are necessary to control personnel exchanges between the two sides and prevent imported cases, Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Zeng called for more attention on prevention and control work against imported cases in northern China in the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Medical workers and experts from Heilongjiang Province have been rushing to Suifenhe to support the city's epidemic prevention and control work. A total of 120 such personnel are expected to arrive in Suifenhe on Monday, the Suifenhe government website said. 

The local government is also recruiting volunteers to support local epidemic prevention and control work. 

As the two other major ports in Heilongjiang between China and Russia have been closed, Suifenhe is facing huge pressure to control people flooding in from Russia and prevent imported cases, according to an employee from Harbin-based investment group Longjiang Trading, which is in charge of the group's business in Russia. 

Many Chinese in Russia want to return to China as the epidemic eases in China, but they need to consider the infection risk during the trip, the employee told the Global Times on Monday under the condition of anonymity. He said most Chinese working in Russia are in the Far East region. 

The Heilongjiang provincial health authority's website said all 20 imported cases reported on Sunday flew from Moscow to Vladivostok before entering China through the Suifenhe port. The employee said it shows the epidemic situation is worse in European Russia than Russia's Far East region. 

Russia reported 6,343 COVID-19 cases with 47 deaths. Moscow had the highest number of infections in Russia.

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