China, where the coronavirus outbreak first occurred in December, announced on Wednesday that new infections dropped dramatically.
This first reported the number of asymptomatic cases which could affect how patterns are read in the outbreak.
Nearly all of the 36 new cases from Tuesday included foreign arrivals, the National Health Commission said, down from 48 a day earlier and bringing overall infections to 81.554.
But that number excludes 130 new highly infectious disease sufferers who do not experience symptoms, the statistics revealed.
China has opted to concentrate further research on asymptomatic sufferers and those in touch with them.
In remarks during a visit to eastern Zhejiang province, President Xi Jinping urged improved management of symptom-free case .
Identifying asymptomatic carriers comes from screening and evaluating suspected cases and hundreds of thousands of individuals they have been in contact with.
As of Tuesday, the commission said about 20,000 people were under surveillance, although they might not necessarily be carriers.
So far in China, a total of over 700,000 people who had been in close touch with suspicious cases have been identified, it said.
The South China Morning Post, citing classified data, said China had found more than 43,000 cases of asymptomatic infection through touch tracing.
Asymptomatic infections would not cause a major outbreak if the transmission chain were broken, Zhong Nanshan, senior medical advisor to the Chinese government, told state-run Shenzhen TV. He said they would be isolated and their contacts separated and kept under surveillance until asymptomatic infected persons were identified.
Users of Chinese social media have expressed concern that carriers with no symptoms could unknowingly spread the virus, particularly as authorities are easing traveling curbs for previous hotspots now that infections have subsided.
In march, WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said symptomatic patients were the key drivers of transmission, whereas a few days after diagnosis most of those identified as as asymptomatic reported symptoms.
By Tuesday the health commission said 1,367 asymptomatic cases were under observation in China, down from 1,541 the day before.
Seven viral deaths were registered on Tuesday, up from just one the day before, all but one were in central Hubei province where the outbreak started.
In southern Guangdong province a single new local infection has been confirmed.
While the number of imported cases, at 806, is just a small fraction of the total cases, authorities who are afraid of a second wave of infection have banned most foreigners from entering and imposed stricter checks on foreign nationals.
A.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said last week that the Group of Seven Economies addressed China’s deliberate misinformation campaign on the coronavirus, adding that the world also needed reliable information from Beijing.
China rejects the allegation and has earned World Health Organization recognition for its efforts to stop the spread of the virus