China reports 26 new COVID-19 cases; outbreak partially linked to Myanmar

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Mainland China reported 26 new COVID-19 cases on April 2, up from nine a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Saturday, as officials in the country’s southwest linked a local outbreak to Myanmar.

The National Health Commission said seven of the new cases were local infections in Yunnan province, where a COVID-19 cluster has emerged in the city of Ruili bordering Myanmar.

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Genetic analysis of cases in Ruili suggest they stemmed from viruses imported from Myanmar and are not related to other recent localized outbreaks in China, state media reported, citing a press briefing.

Ruili is a key transit point for Yunnan province, which has struggled to monitor its rugged 4,000 km (2,500-mile) border with Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam for illegal immigration amid a wave of unauthorized crossings last year by people seeking a haven from the pandemic.

The city has imposed home quarantine, exit restrictions and mass testing. By Saturday it had identified 3,650 close contacts and secondary contacts of cases, state media reported.

The other 19 new infections in mainland China were imported, the National Health Commission said.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 24 from 20.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stand at 90,252, with the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

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