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Wuhan reports first coronavirus cluster since lockdown lifted

Officials from the central Chinese city where the novel coronavirus is believed to have originated reported on Monday five new confirmed cases of COVID-19, in what is the first cluster of cases Wuhan has seen since it lifted lockdowns in early April. 

Authorities in Wuhan said that the cases are all linked to the same residential compound, according to the BBC.

The announcement came just a day after the city reported its first confirmed symptomatic case of the virus since April 3. 

That patient, an 89-year-old man, had reportedly not left the compound since the Lunar New Year in late January. His wife had also tested positive for the virus, though she had not displayed symptoms until Monday.  

All five of the patients reported on Monday were previously classified as asymptomatic, meaning they had contracted the virus but had not exhibited symptoms such as a cough or fever. China does not include asymptomatic cases in its official tally of confirmed cases. 

Wuhan health authorities are reportedly monitoring hundreds of asymptomatic patients around the city. 

The residential compound where the patients live had 20 confirmed cases of the virus as of Sunday, according to Reuters, causing health experts to believe the new infections stemmed from previous community infections. 

Outside of Wuhan, Chinese state media reported that the city of Shulan in Jilin province confirmed 11 new virus cases on Saturday. Officials raised the risk level from medium to high in the city following the report. The local government has also ordered all public facilities to temporarily shut down. 

The new statistics come as governments around the world begin easing some of the restrictions that were ordered at the onset of the outbreak. Health officials have warned that a second wave of infections could take place if restrictions are lifted too quickly. 

The Chinese government reopened the city of Wuhan on April 7, after more than two months of complete lockdown. Restrictions were lifted after Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province, reported just three new cases of the virus in the previous three weeks. 

China has documented more than 84,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 4,600 deaths caused by it, according to a Johns Hopkins University database, although experts have questioned whether Beijing is providing accurate statistics.

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