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August 3, 2021

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China reports 55 new cases as variant spreads

Millions of people were confined to their homes in China yesterday as the country tried to contain its largest coronavirus outbreak in months including seven positive tests found in Wuhan.

China reported 55 new locally transmitted cases on Sunday as an outbreak of the fast-spreading Delta variant reached over 20 cities in more than a dozen provinces.

The Wuhan cluster came after the official daily tally was released, but it was confirmed by local authorities which said the infections had been traced to a train station.

The seven were identified as migrant workers at the Wuhan Economic & Technological Development Zone, according to the zone’s headquarters on COVID-19 prevention and control.

One of the workers, surnamed Tang, had waited at a train station in the city of Jingzhou, also in Hubei Province, where a tour group from Jiangsu Province was also waiting. Members of the tour group have also tested positive. The other six reported cases are close contacts of Tang, the headquarters said.

Wuhan, once hard-hit by the COVID-19 epidemic, had not reported locally transmitted cases for over a year.

Major cities including Beijing have now tested millions of residents while cordoning off residential compounds and placing close contacts under quarantine.

Authorities in the capital met and agreed on the need to “raise vigilance, take strict precautions and defend the city, sparing no expense,” in comments put out by the Beijing government.

Elsewhere, over 1.2 million residents were placed under strict lockdown for the next three days in the central city of Zhuzhou in Hunan Province yesterday, as authorities roll out a citywide testing and vaccination campaign, according to an official statement.

“The situation is still grim and complicated,” the Zhuzhou government said.

The latest outbreak is linked to a cluster in the city of Nanjing where nine cleaners at an international airport tested positive on July 20. Since then, more than 300 domestic cases have been reported across China.

In the tourist destination of Zhangjiajie, famed for its national forest park, an outbreak spread last month among theater patrons who then brought the virus back to their homes around the country.

Zhangjiajie locked down all 1.5 million residents on Friday.

Officials are urgently seeking people who have recently traveled from Nanjing or Zhangjiajie, and have urged tourists not to travel to areas where cases have been found.


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