Having largely contained the virus at home — the number of new infections reported each day has fallen to barely 100, almost all in Hubei province — China now faces the prospect of imported infections as the outbreak rages beyond its borders.

China thought that once it had contained the epidemic, that would be the end of it, said Zhang Wenhong, director of the department of infectious diseases at Shanghai Huashan Hospital, affiliated with Fudan University. But now, more cases are emerging abroad than in China — and they’re starting to come back.

“This is a bad sign and very worrisome,” Zhang told China News. “It will bring difficulties to China’s outbreak control.”

China’s Communist Party appears mindful that other governments might lack the techno-authoritarian tools to shut down the spread like it did. Authorities are taking measures to prevent people who have traveled to new hotspots — South Korea, Iran, northern Italy and Japan — from bringing the disease back.