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China new COVID-19 cases hit six-week high

Mainland China has recorded its highest number of daily local new COVID-19 infections in more than six weeks, as the country battles an outbreak concentrated mainly in its northern provinces.

China reported 59 new locally-transmitted infections for Friday, the National Health Commission said on Saturday, up from 48 a day earlier. It was the highest number of new local infections since September 16.

Most of the new local cases were in northern China, with infections reported in Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Beijing and Ningxia.

Including infections imported from overseas, China recorded 78 new cases for Friday, up from 64 cases a day earlier. China also reported 24 new asymptomatic cases, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, up from 23 a day earlier.

There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4636.

Although the tally is tiny compared with infections elsewhere in the world, recent widespread outbreaks have forced officials to toughen restrictions, squeezing the service sector, including tourism and catering companies.

China’s border towns, faced with a higher risk of infection from overseas and with relatively few resources, have tended to suffer more severe disruptions than richer cities.

In Inner Mongolia, the government in Ejina Banner, a remote administrative division on China’s border with Mongolia, said it would transfer more than 9400 stranded travellers to low-risk areas in the coming days, the official China Daily reported.

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