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China still combating coronavirus cluster in northeast region

Authorities believe the outbreak may have begun among a group of family and friends who gathered for dining and drinking without social distancing.

JILIN, China — China is continuing to combat a coronavirus cluster in its northeastern province of Jilin, with four out of five new cases reported in the region north of Beijing. 

Authorities believe the outbreak may have begun among a group of family members and friends who gathered for dining and drinking without maintaining social distancing. 

No deaths were reported on Wednesday.

Just 87 people are still under treatment, while 375 others are under isolation and monitoring for being suspected cases or for having tested positive without showing symptoms.

China has recorded a total of 4,634 deaths from the virus among 82,965 cases.

The social distancing regulations have been increasingly relaxed nearly four months after they were imposed over much of the country.

However, news outlets report that millions of people in the northeast region of China are now again under lockdown conditions over the recent cluster of cases.

Fan Pai, who works at a trading company in Liaoning province, which neighbors Jilin, told Bloomberg that people “are feeling more cautious again.” 

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China had reported six new cases Tuesday, a day after President Xi Jinping announced the country will provide $2 billion to help deal with the outbreak and its economic fallout. 

Three of the new cases were listed as imported. Two were registered as local infections in Jilin province, and another local case was identified in Hubei province, where China's outbreak was centered. 

Authorities in Hubei carried out nucleic acid tests on more than 1.5 million people between May 11 and May 17. More than 72.5% of the tests were administered in Wuhan, where authorities plan to eventually test all 11 million residents as part of safeguards against a second wave of virus cases. Wuhan and surrounding cities in Hubei accounted for the bulk of China’s reported 82,690 cases and 4,634 deaths from COVID-19. 

Xi’s appearance via video link at the World Health Assembly on Monday came amid finger-pointing between the U.S. and China over the pandemic, and the World Health Organization bowing to calls from most of its member states to launch an independent inquiry into how it managed the response to the coronavirus.

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Credit: AP
In this May 17, 2020, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a medical worker collects sample for COVID-19 testing at the Tongji community in Shulan in northeastern China's Jilin Province. Authorities have tightened restrictions in parts of Jilin province in response to a local cluster. (Zhang Nan/Xinhua via AP)