China today reported its first coronavirus death since May – as the country saw its largest daily increase in infections in more than 10 months.
The last death, the first in eight months, occurred Thursday in Hebei Province, but the National Health Commission did not provide any further details.
China has been fighting for the last few weeks to rekindle the cases of Covid-19 as World Health Organization experts prepared to fly to Wuhan to investigate the causes of the pandemic.
The largest daily surge in coronavirus cases since March 5 was reported on Thursday. 138 infections were found, compared with 115 cases the day before.
Infections in northeast Heilongjiang Province have nearly tripled, underscoring a growing threat ahead of the New Year celebrations on February 12.
The authorities in Heilongjiang Province – with 37.5 million inhabitants – declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. Pictured: A medic conducts a test on a resident of Qiqihar, Heilongjiang
Pictured: A worker in a protective suit takes a swab from a child for a coronavirus test in Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei Province, on Monday
The Chinese province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, has become a new virus hotspot
The commission said 124 of the new cases were local infections, of which 81 were reported in Hebei Province near Beijing and 43 in Heilongjiang.
Heilongjiang, which has more than 37 million residents, declared a "state of emergency" on Wednesday and ordered residents not to leave the province unless absolutely necessary.
In the capital of Hebei Province, millions of people queued in sub-zero temperatures yesterday to receive a second round of coronavirus tests.
The province of around 75 million people has emerged as the new Covid-19 epicenter in China's most recent outbreak of the deadly virus.
Though recent cases are still a fraction of what the country saw at the height of the pandemic, China quarantined more than 28 million people in January to help contain the spread of the disease.
Millions stood in sub-zero temperatures to receive a second round of coronavirus testing in Hebei Province. This picture shows residents waiting to be tested in Shijiazhuang on Tuesday
Women in face masks ride a motorcycle during rush hour in Wuhan on Wednesday
Residents are undergoing Covid-19 coronavirus tests as part of a mass testing program in the basement of a residential area after new cases of the virus emerged in Shijiazhuang
The new wave of infections comes before the New Year holidays next month, when hundreds of millions of people normally travel to their hometowns.
The resurgence has already led some provinces to discourage travel, which could reduce tourist traffic and dampen consumption during the long break.
China had largely brought the coronavirus under control since it emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.
However, in the past few weeks there have been a few cases resulting in localized bans, immediate travel restrictions, and widespread testing of tens of millions of people.
In the northern regions of the country, more than 20 million people are currently locked in some form.
All 37.5 million residents of Heilongjiang have been ordered not to leave the area unless clearly necessary and to cancel conferences and gatherings.
The nation's largest daily jump in Covid-19 cases since March 5 was reported on Thursday. 138 infections were found, compared with 115 cases the day before. Pictured: Wuhan
Volunteers stop a car at a checkpoint on a road leading to their village after the coronavirus outbreak on the outskirts of Beijing
The city of Suihua, a short drive north and home to more than 5.2 million people, was cordoned off Monday after one confirmed case and 45 asymptomatic cases were reported.
Several other small towns near Suihua have also been cordoned off or placed under travel restrictions, authorities said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, officials in Shijiazhuang ordered the city's 11 million residents to undergo a second round of testing as authorities attempt to isolate the causes of the outbreak.
Some of the infections have been tentatively linked to wedding meetings.
The number of new asymptomatic cases that China does not classify as confirmed cases rose to 78 from 38 the day before.
The total confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 87,844, while the death toll rose to 4,635.