China fights new infections, top leaders call for steps to pump up economy


  • AseanPlus News
  • Saturday, 18 Apr 2020

Visitors wearing face masks amid concerns of the coronavirus walking along the Great Wall of China in Beijing on Saturday (April 18). China on Saturday (April 18) reported 27 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 as it tries to stem an upsurge in infections in a northeastern province bordering Russia. - AFP

BANGKOK: China on Saturday (April 18) reported 27 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 (coronavirus), as it tries to stem an upsurge in infections in a northeastern province bordering Russia.

Twenty of the new cases were in Heilongjiang province, including 13 Chinese nationals who had returned recently from Russia. The land border with Russia has been closed.

China’s official death toll rose sharply to 4,632, reflecting a major upwards revision the previous day by authorities in Wuhan, the nation’s hardest-hit city.

The latest confirmed cases brought the total to 82,719, of which 77,029 have recovered and been discharged, the National Health Commission said.

Eighteen officials in Heilongjiang province have been punished for failures in their response to the outbreak, state media reported on Friday.

They include the deputy mayor of Harbin, the provincial capital, and a vice president of Harbin Medical University.

They were given warnings or demerits in their personnel files.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

Meanwhile, the top leaders of China’s ruling Communist Party called for steps to pump up the economy after the biggest downturn since the 1960s in the first three months of this year.

A Politburo meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping said Friday that the government must offset the impact of the epidemic with deficit spending and special bond issues. The world’s second-largest economy shrank by 6.8% from a year earlier in the first quarter of 2020.

The Politburo meeting said the country’s economic development faces unprecedented challenges, but also that factory production and other work are gradually returning to normal. - AP

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