By Ryan Woo and Huizhong Wu
BEIJING (Reuters) – Mainland China reported a drop in new coronavirus infections on Sunday, but major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai continued to wrestle with cases of infected travellers arriving from abroad.
China had 16 new infections on Sunday, the National Health Commission said on Monday, down from 20 the previous day, taking the mainland’s tally to 80,860.
Twelve of the new figures were imported infections, exceeding for a third day the number of domestic transmissions.
Beijing accounted for four infections, the southern province of Guangdong for four, while the commercial hub of Shanghai had two, with one each in southwestern Yunnan and northwestern Gansu. That took the tally of imported infections to 123.
China has tightened checks on international travellers, with the capital Beijing ordering 14 days in its quarantine facilities for anyone arriving from aboard, starting Monday.
It has suspended departures by ships on international cruises from mainland ports as well as routes to South Korea and Japan, according to remarks at a news conference on Monday by the State Council, or cabinet.
Beijing has redirected all international flights that were scheduled to land at its new Daxing airport in the south to the older international airport in the northeast.
Shanghai has designated hotels as quarantine sites for inbound international travellers, but it has not yet made quarantine there compulsory for all travellers on arrival.
Mainland China’s only locally transmitted new infections on Sunday were in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak and capital of the central province of Hubei, with four cases.
It was the province’s 11th consecutive day with no new infections outside Wuhan.
China’s death toll in the outbreak stood at 3,213 by Sunday, up 14 from the previous day. In Hubei, there were 14 new deaths, 13 in Wuhan.
As the rise in new cases subsides, China has stepped up donations of supplies to other countries.
Last week, Jack Ma, the billionaire co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba pledged to donate two million protective masks for distribution across Europe.
“The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the United States is taking off from Shanghai,” Ma said on Twitter on Monday.
Supplies donated to Laos and South Korea by China’s central province of Hunan included 100 infrared sensors, the official Xinhua news agency said.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo, Huizhong Wu and Se Young Lee; Additional reporting by Noah Sin and Winni Zhou; Writing by Engen Tham; Editing by Stephen Coates and Clarence Fernandez)