China virus cases fall to three-week low

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China has reported its lowest daily increase in new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks, reversing a sharp uptick a day earlier and amid efforts to contain the disease ahead of a major holiday break.

New confirmed reported cases more than halved to 42 on Monday, the National Health Commission said, down from 92 a day earlier and marking the lowest one-day increase since 33 reported on January 8.

Of the 33 new locally transmitted infections, northeastern Heilongjiang reported 22 new cases while new patients reported in neighbouring Jilin province fell to 10 from 63 a day earlier.

The remaining nine cases were imported infections involving travellers arriving from overseas.

National and local authorities continue to discourage travel even as the number of new cases fell, underscoring their concerns about another flare-up as the country approaches the Lunar New Year holiday period next month when hundreds of millions typically travel.

Official forecasts are for the total number of trips taken during the holiday break to fall 60 per cent from 2019, the last time when Chinese travellers did not face any major restrictions in movement during the period.

The number of asymptomatic infections, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, also fell to 16 from 19 a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed mainland COVID-19 infections to date stands at 89,564, while the death toll remain 4636.