BEIJING (Reuters) – Mainland China reported a drop in new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday as imported infections declined and no locally transmitted infections were reported, not even in central Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak in China.

Men with protective masks stand on a hike along a section of the Great Wall of China in Badaling in Beijing on the first day of reopening after the closure of the coronavirus in China on March 24, 2020. REUTERS / Thomas Peter

Due to the risks from imported cases, China is increasing the quarantine and screening rules for all international arrivals.

The city of Quanzhou in Fujian province will cancel all international and regional flights from March 26, after four imported cases from the Philippines were found on Tuesday.

Quanzhou Jinjiang International Airport will cancel 17 routes, including those connecting Manila, Hong Kong and Macau, the Fujian government said in a statement.

China’s capital Beijing has already diverted flights to other cities, where passengers are checked and quarantined.

China has encouraged airlines to maintain international flights with cash grants.

The number of new coronavirus cases was 47 on Tuesday, all from travelers returning home, compared to 78 the previous day, the National Health Commission said.

Newly imported cases in Beijing, Guangdong and Fujian declined, although the daily number of newly imported infections in the Shanghai financial center rose to a record 19 cases.

New cases of infected international arrivals have also been reported in Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Jilin, Zhejiang, Shandong and Shaanxi.

Despite three new deaths, no new infections were reported in Hubei province – two of them in Wuhan City, where the virus first appeared at the end of last year. On Wednesday, the local authorities downgraded the epidemic risk in Wuhan from “high” to “medium”.

The Hubei Health Commission has announced that it will lift the curbs for outgoing travelers on March 25, provided that they have a health clearance code.

In the provincial capital Wuhan, which has been completely blocked since January 23, travel restrictions will be lifted on April 8.

The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China is 81,218, with 474 infections imported. The death toll in mainland China reached 3,281 at the end of Tuesday, four more than the previous day.

Reporting by Ryan Woo and Se Young Lee; Additional reporting from Stella Qiu and Yawen Chen; Edited by Himani Sarkar and Michael Perry

Our standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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