Chinese teenager who studies in UK brings coronavirus back to Wuhan, the former pandemic epicenter
A Chinese teenager has reportedly brought the coronavirus back to Wuhan, the former epicenter of the pandemic, after returning from the UK.
The city had recorded only one new infection in the past 10 days, declaring last week that it was successful in largely containing the outbreak.
But the 16-year-old student, identified only by his surname Zhou, has become the city's first "imported case", with local health officials claiming he displayed no symptoms.
Authorities revealed how the teenager had traveled to Wuhan from Newcastle in the UK via Dubai and Beijing. Zhou lives in Wuhan's Caidian District and studies in the UK, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.
Beijing is currently taking drastic measures to screen new arrivals from abroad as well as the so-called "silent carriers" fearing they could spark a second wave of the deadly outbreak.
So far, China has registered 691 positive cases of the novel coronavirus among people entering the country, primarily from the UK. More than a third of imported cases in Beijing were detected among people arriving from Britain, official statistics revealed, followed by those arriving from Spain and Italy.
According to the live-tracking dashboard set up by John Hopkins University, the UK as of April 1 has recorded more than 29,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with more than 2,300 deaths.
Meanwhile, officials in Hubei have kept 982 asymptomatic cases under medical observation. These are people who suffer no symptoms and can spread the virus without realizing it, authorities explained.
According to British newspaper Daily Mail, the student boarded a plane from Newcastle International Airport on March 21 arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport the following day after a layover in Dubai.
Upon arrival, he underwent medical checks at the airport before being taken to a single room to be kept under medical observation.
As a precaution, Zhou was arranged to travel to his hometown from Beijing on March 23 via high-speed train and subsequently placed in quarantine at an isolation center.
The result of his nucleic acid test, which can detect the coronavirus, came back positive on March 28 — albeit displaying no symptoms of COVID-19, authorities noted.
The same day he was rushed to the Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital as a suspected asymptomatic case, before being diagnosed with the disease.
The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has reported five new deaths and 173 new cases of recovery. However, Zhou was the only new infection reported by the authority on April 1.
Wuhan, the former ground zero, has reported at least 2,553 coronavirus deaths and 50,007 cases so far.
Meanwhile, in the US, there have been 188,647 confirmed cases of coronavirus while at least 4,059 people have died as of April 1. Globally there are 882,210 confirmed cases of coronavirus with the count constantly increasing. So far, there have been around 44,137 deaths across the world due to coronavirus as of April 1.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that young people should not consider themselves "invincible."