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September 22, 2021

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Single case prompts Harbin to act

SPAS, cinemas and mahjong salons in the Chinese city of Harbin were ordered to close yesterday to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in poorly ventilated spaces, state television reported.

The temporary shutdowns were part of a range of restrictions imposed on the northeastern city after one case of community transmission, the report said, citing the Harbin government.

The patient was reported by the No. 2 People’s Hospital in Bayan County in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province.

The city advised its citizens to avoid non-essential outbound travel. Religious activities were also suspended, tourist attractions were ordered to operate at half capacity, and visits were banned at retirement homes. All large gatherings will be canceled, the local government said.

The patient rode high-speed train G492 from Ji’an City to Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province, on September 7 and boarded Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8266 to Harbin Taiping International Airport the same day.

The patient visited multiple places, including a role-playing detective game club for three consecutive days. The local government urged people to report to their community offices if they had been to those locations.

The restrictions came as China celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival yesterday, and ahead of the National Day golden week holiday starting on October 1, a time of increased travel and social interaction.

The National Health Commission dispatched a working group yesterday to guide COVID-19 response efforts in Harbin.

The Chinese mainland on Monday reported 42 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, all in Fujian Province, the NHC said yesterday.

Also reported were 30 new imported cases, including 12 in Yunnan, six in Shanghai, three each in Jiangsu and Guangdong, and two each in Heilongjiang, Zhejiang and Fujian.

China has brought under control several clusters of infection since late July, driven mainly by the highly transmissible Delta variant of the new coronavirus. That was achieved by swift contact tracing and locking down areas deemed high-risk.

In cities where most infections were found, multiple rounds of testing on local populations were undertaken and travel restrictions imposed.


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