Mainland China reports 46 new coronavirus cases, up from 42 a day earlier

Travelers arriving from Hubei province walk past workers in hazmat suits to buses taking them to their individual districts, at Beijing West Railway Station on April 10, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 11 April 2020

Mainland China reports 46 new coronavirus cases, up from 42 a day earlier

  • Mainland China’s tally of infections now stands at 81,953
  • The death toll rose by three to 3,339

BEIJING: China reported on Saturday a rise in new coronavirus cases, as authorities try to head off a second wave of infections, particularly from imported and asymptomatic cases, as curbs on cities and travel are lifted.
The National Health Commission said 46 new cases were reported on Friday, including 42 involving travelers from abroad, up from 42 cases a day earlier.
In its statement the commission added that 34 new asymptomatic cases were reported, down from 47 the previous day.
Mainland China’s tally of infections now stands at 81,953. The death toll rose by three to 3,339.
Tough curbs imposed since January helped rein in infections sharply from the height of the pandemic in February. But policymakers fear a second wave triggered by arrivals from overseas or asymptomatic patients.
Northeastern Heilongjiang recently reported a spike in new cases because of Chinese nationals entering the province from Russia, which has seen a surge of cases.
Provincial health officials said it had 22 new imported cases on Friday, all Chinese nationals coming from Russia, and one new local case, in its capital of Harbin.
Inner Mongolia had a daily tally of 27 new imported cases by Saturday morning, all from Russia, the region’s health authority said.
The central province of Hubei, where the virus emerged late last year, reported no new cases for a seventh successive day.
A rise in virus infections has prompted authorities in Guangzhou to step up scrutiny of foreigners, ordering bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin, the US consulate in the southern city said.
Anyone with “African contacts” faces mandatory virus tests followed by quarantine, regardless of recent travel history or previous isolation, it said in a statement.
It advised African-Americans or those who feel they might be suspected of contact with nationals of African origin to avoid the city.
Since the epidemic broke out in the provincial capital of Wuhan, it has spread around the world, infecting 1.6 million people and killing more than 100,000.


‘Disturbing’ allegations of rape in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: UN

Updated 22 January 2021

‘Disturbing’ allegations of rape in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: UN

  • A UN representative said she was greatly concerned by serious allegations from the northern region

ADDIS ABABA: The UN says it has received “disturbing” reports of sexual violence and abuse in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region, including of individuals forced to rape members of their own family.
Pramila Patten, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said she was greatly concerned by serious allegations from the northern region, including “a high number of alleged rapes” in the Tigrayan capital Mekele.
“There are also disturbing reports of individuals allegedly forced to rape members of their own family, under threats of imminent violence,” Patten said in a statement Thursday.
“Some women have also reportedly been forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities.”
Patten called on all parties involved in the hostilities to commit to a zero-tolerance policy for crimes of sexual violence.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, announced military operations in Tigray in early November, saying they came in response to attacks by the regional ruling party on federal army camps.
Abiy declared victory after federal forces entered the regional capital in late November, though leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) remain on the run and have vowed to fight on.
Thousands have died in the conflict, according to the International Crisis Group, though a communications blackout and media and humanitarian access restrictions have made it difficult to assess the situation on the ground.
In her statement Thursday, Patten noted that “medical centers have indicated an increase in the demand for emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which is often an indicator of sexual violence in conflict.”
She called for full humanitarian access to Tigray, including camps for displaced people “and refugee camps where new arrivals have allegedly reported cases of sexual violence.”
She voiced concern about “more than 5,000 Eritrean refugees in and around the area of Shire living in dire conditions, many of them reportedly sleeping in an open field with no water or food, as well as the more than 59,000 Ethiopians who have fled the country into neighboring Sudan.”
The caretaker administration in Tigray did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this month state television broadcast footage of a meeting during which an unidentified man in a military uniform expressed concern about rapes in Mekele.
“Why are women being raped in Mekele city?” the man said.
“It wouldn’t be shocking had it been happening during the war, because it is not manageable so it could be expected. But at this moment while federal police and local police are back in town, it is still happening.”