A Chinese teenager studying in the UK has become the first person to bring the novel coronavirus back to Wuhan, the former centre of the pandemic.
The city last week declared that it had largely curbed the outbreak after recording only one new infection in 10 days.
Local health officials today reported the 16-year-old student as its first 'imported case' in the city. They claimed he showed no symptoms.
The 16-year-old student left the UK on March 21 and arrived in Wuhan on March 23 after stopping over in Dubai and Beijing. Pictured, airport staff wearing protective suits check information of inbound passengers at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on March 29
The boy, known by his surname Zhou, had travelled to Wuhan from Newcastle via Dubai and Beijing, authorities revealed.
The news comes as Beijing resorts to new draconian measures to screen new arrivals from abroad as well as the so-called 'silent carriers' amid fears that they could trigger a second wave.
China has so far registered 691 imported cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The UK is now the worst offender for sending cases to China.
Official statistics show that more than a third of the imported cases in the Chinese capital of Beijing were detected among people arriving from Britain, followed by those coming from Spain and Italy.
More than 1,800 people have died of COVID-19 and over 25,000 have been infected with the disease in the UK.
Hubei officials have identified 982 asymptomatic cases, who suffer no symptoms and can pass on the virus without realising. They are under medical observation, authorities said today.
Official statistics show that more than a third of the imported cases in the Chinese capital of Beijing were detected among people arriving from Britain. The picture shows a passenger wearing a protective mask while riding on the tube in London during the coronavirus crisis
According to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, Zhou lives in the city's Caidian District and studies in the UK.
It is said that he boarded a plane in the Newcastle International Airport on March 21 and arrived in the Beijing Capital International Airport the next day after stopping over in Dubai.
After passing medical checks at the airport, he was taken to a single room to undergo medical observation.
He was arranged to travel to his hometown from Beijing on March 23 by high-speed train and put into quarantine at an isolation centre.
The patient, who studies in the UK, flew out of the Newcastle International Airport (pictured)
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The authority said that Zhou showed no symptoms of the disease. But the result of his nucleic acid test, which can detect the coronavirus, came back positive on March 28.
He was taken to the Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital on the same day as a suspected asymptomatic case and was diagnosed with the disease on Tuesday.
Zhou is the only new infection reported by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission on Wednesday. The authority also reported five news deaths and 173 new cases of recovery.
At least 2,553 have died of COVID-19 and 50,007 have contracted it in the former ground zero.
Worldwide, the pandemic has killed more than 42,300 people and infected about 860,000.