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August 4, 2021

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Wuhan mass testing after 3 local cases

Wuhan will test its 12 million residents for the coronavirus after confirming its first domestic cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Wuhan, once hard-hit by COVID-19, had not reported any local coronavirus cases since mid-May last year but on Monday authorities confirmed three cases of the Delta variant. The strain has been found in a handful of provinces and big cities including Beijing over the past two weeks.

They were among 90 new cases confirmed nationwide on Monday, the National Health Commission said yesterday. Of those, 61 were locally spread ones and 29 among people who had recently arrived from abroad.

“To ensure that everyone in the city is safe, citywide nucleic acid testing will be quickly launched for all people to fully screen out positive results and asymptomatic infections,” Wuhan official Li Qiang said.

Parts of an industrial and technology zone where seven migrant workers tested positive on Monday were sealed off.

The new cases in Wuhan, along with infections in the nearby cities of Jingzhou and Huanggang since Saturday, were linked to cases in the city of Huaian in Jiangsu Province, said Li Yang, vice director of the Hubei Province disease control center.

The outbreak in Jiangsu is believed to have begun in the provincial capital of Nanjing in late July, with the Delta variant most likely introduced on a flight from Russia, officials have said.

A Nanjing official said on Monday that even after the first cases were reported there, some shops did not rigorously check customers’ digital health credentials and some did not wear masks properly.

Jiangsu officials said the root cause of the Nanjing outbreak was “laxity of the mind.”

The tally of local cases in China since July 20, when the first Nanjing infections were found, stood at 414 as of Monday. Numerous cities in southern China and a few in the north including Beijing have reported infections, and authorities have advised against non-essential travel, conducted mass testing, and sealed off some higher-risk neighborhoods.

The eastern city of Yangzhou, near Nanjing, was the latest local government to order residents to stay home after large-scale testing detected 40 new infections on Monday.

The more than 1.3 million residents of Yangzhou’s urban core are now confined to their homes, with each household allowed to send only one person outside per day to shop for necessities, the city government said.

Police in Yangzhou said the outbreak in that city’s center got worse after a 64-year-old woman left her locked-down Nanjing neighborhood to visit family in Yangzhou, where she visited restaurants and shops. The woman, surnamed Mao, has been detained by police for allegedly obstructing the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases on July 29, Yangzhou Police reported yesterday.

Police said Mao didn’t report the history of her stay in Nanjing to the community after arriving in Yangzhou and frequently went to crowded places, resulting in the spread of COVID-19 epidemic in urban Yangzhou.

Airports in Nanjing and Yangzhou have suspended domestic flights.

In Zhengzhou, Henan Province, most of the 13 local cases were linked to a hospital that treats patients arriving from outside China. The strain in the first two infections bears a similarity to cases similar to those arriving from Myanmar, an official said.

“This outbreak mainly occurred inside the hospital, involving people including cleaning staffers and medical workers,” said Wang Songqiang, director of Zhengzhou’s disease control center. “This outbreak has ... exposed the loopholes at a few hospitals in their in-hospital infection control,” Wang said.


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