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China sees highest monthly COVID-19 caseload since last March

China has recorded more than 2,000 new domestic cases of COVID-19 in January, the highest monthly total since the tail end of the initial outbreak in Wuhan in March of last year.

The National Health Commission says 2,016 cases were reported from January 1 to January 30. That does not include another 435 infected people who arrived from abroad. The tally for January 31 is due to be released tomorrow.

Two people have died in January, the first reported COVID deaths in China in several months.

Most of the new cases have been in three northern provinces. The hardest-hit Hebei province, which borders Beijing, has reported more than 900 cases. Beijing, the Chinese capital, has itself had 45 cases this month.

The numbers, while low compared to many other countries, have prompted officials to tighten restrictions and strongly discourage people from traveling during the Lunar New Year, a major holiday when people typically return home for family reunions.

Train trips were down nearly 75% in the first three days of the holiday travel season, the official Xinhua News Agency says, citing the state railway company. The Lunar New Year falls on February 12.

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