Two overseas returnees who traveled from Italy to Huzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, in late February have been confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus, a notice from the local authorities said on Thursday morning.
A police officer in protective gear is seen aboard a flight at Putuoshan Airport in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, Jan 28, 2020. (Photo: China Daily)
The two infected patients, a pair of mother and daughter who has been living in Italy for years, headed from the northwestern Italian city of Turin to Paris, France, on flight AF1503 on Feb 28 where they transferred to another flight, CZ348, to Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province.
They arrived in Guangzhou on the morning of Feb 29 and then took a flight, CZ3803, to Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, on the same day.
The two returnees were picked up by a family member and drove back to their hometown, the county of Deqing in Huzhou that afternoon. They were asked to be isolated at home for medical observation upon their arrival.
In the early hours of Wednesday, they started to show symptoms of the disease and were confirmed with the infection via nucleic acid tests later that day. The two patients are now being treated at a designated hospital in Huzhou.
Earlier this week, Qingtian county in Lishui, Zhejiang, had reported eight imported COVID-19 cases. All of them are overseas Chinese from the county who work and live in Italy.
The two new imported cases in Huzhou have taken the total number of infected patients from abroad in Zhejiang to 10 so far, all from Italy.
As the novel coronavirus is spreading worldwide, more overseas Chinese are heading back home, especially in regions with a tradition of local people moving abroad for business and job opportunities, such as Wenzhou and Qingtian county of Lishui in Zhejiang.
In these regions, measures such as conducting strict checks at airports, arranging chartered vehicles to transport people returning from overseas and asking returnees to be isolated at home have been adopted to curb the contagion coming from outside China.
As of Thursday, Zhejiang had reported a total of 1,215 confirmed cases, including 10 imported ones, and 1,130 of them who had recovered were discharged out of hospitals.