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China reports zero local coronavirus transmissions, but new imported ones +World updates

China has managed to prevent local transmissions of the new coronavirus for a second consecutive day, while reporting an increase in cases of infection coming in from abroad.

According to Press TV, the Chinese National Health Commission announced in a statement on Thursday that 67 new cases had been imported on Wednesday, up from 47 a day earlier, and said the total number of cases now stood at 81,285.

The commission also reported six new deaths, increasing its total fatality figure to 3,287.

Increased cases of infection in travelers arriving from abroad has raised concerns about a second wave in China, which has significantly reduced tallies of new infections.

Chinese authorities have ramped up quarantine and screening measures for incoming travelers in major cities, including the capital, Beijing.

The Chinese Province of Hubei and its capital, Wuhan, where the virus first appeared late last year, reported no new cases on Wednesday and opened its borders, with media reports saying the lockdown of the epicenter city would be lifted on April 8.

China had brought the number of its local transmissions to zero for the first time last Thursday. A few cases kept appearing afterward, however, until Monday.

South Korea reports new cases

Meanwhile, the South Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 104 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total infections across the country to 9,241.

The death toll from the pandemic in South Korea rose by five to a total of 131.

Italy’s deaths pass 7,500

The Civil Protection Agency in Italy — the country the worst hit by the coronavirus in Europe — said on Wednesday that more than 680 people had died of the disease over the past 24 hours.

The agency said the total number of confirmed cases in the country had risen to 74,386 from a previous 69,176.

Italy has been reporting strangely large daily tallies of deaths in recent days.

Latest figures show 7,503 people have died of the infection since the outbreak emerged in northern Italian regions on February 21.

But the northern region of Lombardy, by far the hardest-hit, on Wednesday showed a steep decline in the number of new infections and fatalities, raising hopes that the epidemic may be slowing at its original epicenter.

However, there are concerns that the contagion is spreading toward the south of the country, where the health system is much less well-equipped than in the rich north.

“At this point, there is the real prospect that Lombardy’s tragedy is about to become the South’s tragedy,” Vincenzo De Luca, the President of the Campania region around Naples, wrote in an open letter to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

“We are on the eve of a major expansion of infections that may not be sustainable,” he said, complaining that the central government had failed to provide Campania with promised ventilators and other life-saving equipment.

So far, there have been 74 deaths in Campania, the worst-affected region in the Italy’s south.

Spain’s death toll overtakes China’s

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain expressed alarm on Wednesday about a mounting coronavirus crisis as its death toll exceeded that of China with another 738 lives lost in a single day.

With 3,434 fatalities, Spain now has the second-highest number of deaths globally after Italy.

People have been forced to stay home since a lockdown began on March 14. The Spanish parliament is also expected to extend a 15-day state of emergency that has shuttered schools, restaurants, and most shops.

Moreover, Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo became the third cabinet member to test positive for the virus.

Prince Charles tests positive

The office of Britain’s Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to Queen Elizabeth II, said Wednesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus but was in good health and was self-isolating in Scotland.

The news came as Britain said there were more than 8,000 cases of COVID-19 and 422 deaths as of Tuesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered Britons on Monday to stay home to halt the spread of the virus, imposing curbs on everyday life.

Additionally, the 93-year-old queen has been staying with her 98-year-old husband, Prince Philip, at Windsor Castle, 820 kilometers south of Balmoral, since March 19, with a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman saying she “remains in good health.”

More than 471,600 people worldwide have been infected with the virus and over 21,000 have died, according to a running count by worldometers.info.