• China reported 17 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the second day in a row new cases were in the double digits.
  • Three cases were in Shulan, a city near the Russian and North Korean border that’s been reclassified as a high-risk region.
  • Wuhan, the original coronavirus epicenter, reported six new cases over the weekend, all within one neighborhood.
  • A local party secretary in Wuhan was fired due to his “poor control of the disease,” according to the South China Morning Post
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Two new clusters of coronavirus cases in China have been reported hundreds of miles apart, sparking fears of another large-scale outbreak.

On Sunday, the country’s National Health Commission reported 17 new coronavirus diagnoses, the highest number in almost two weeks, and the second day in a row new cases were in the double digits, Reuters reported

Fourteen cases were in Shulan, a city of more than 700,000 near the Russian and North Korean borders. They were all traced to a 45-year-old woman working at a police laundry department with no history of recent travel or contact with an infected person.

The government has reclassified Shulan as a high-risk region, the only city in China with that classification. Authorities have closed public spaces, with residents told to stay home unless there were “unusual circumstances.”

“We’re now in a ‘wartime’ mode,” Shulan mayor Jin Hua said Monday, adding that the city would be in lockdown until the end of May and testing for residents would increase. In addition, anyone who returned from abroad also would be tested.

coronavirus wuhan

People wearing face masks buy vegetables at a street market in Wuhan, April 6, 2020.

Aly Song/Reuters

Hundreds of miles away in Wuhan, the original epicenter for the novel coronavirus, six new cases were reported over the weekend, according to ABC News. All of them were in Sanmin, a district of about 5,000 people.

Five were reported on Sunday, the highest number of new infections since March 11.

Zhang Yuxin, the local Communist party secretary, was fired due to his “poor control of the disease,” according to the South China Morning Post.

Residents in Sanmin will remain in lockdown until they’re tested. Anyone who does not have the coronavirus will be allowed to return to work.

Wuhan has been the hardest hit by the virus in China: As of May 11, the city of some 11 million reported 50,334 cases and at least 3,869 deaths, Business Insider reported. But after numbers began to decline, city officials began easing lockdown protocols over the last few weeks. Children returned to school and residents were allowed to leave or enter the city.

The new clusters have been small compared to the thousands confirmed daily in February, but China is determined to avoid another large outbreak. “We must resolutely contain the risk of a rebound,” Wuhan’s health authority said in a statement on Monday, Reuters reported.

As of May 12, China has 84,010 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 4,637 deaths according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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