CHINA – China has reported a large number of new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases since January as some cities stepped up restrictions, cut flights and increased testing to get to grips with an outbreak driven mainly by the Delta variant.
The coronavirus first emerged in late 2019 in the city of Wuhan in central Hubei province, but until recently, China had largely managed to keep infections imported from abroad from sparking major local outbreaks.
China has reported 485 locally transmitted cases with symptoms between July 20 and now, although it’s not immediately clear how many involve the Delta variant.
As of today, 17 provinces, regions and municipalities have reported locally transmitted cases both with symptoms and without.
“At present, the global epidemic is rapidly intensifying and the risk of imported infections is increasing,” said Mi Feng, spokesman at the National Health Commission.
China now has 144 areas deemed to be high or medium-risk, the most since the peak of the epidemic in the spring of 2020. Authorities have cancelled trains to Beijing from riskier areas, with high-risk areas subject to the toughest containment measures.
China reported 71 new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases, the highest daily tally since January. The number of cases has increased for five consecutive days since July 30.
Many cities with COVID-19 cases have closed tourist sites and shuttered entertainment venues. The southern tourist city of Zhangjiajie has banned residents and travelers from leaving.
Including symptomatic patients arriving from abroad, the number of new confirmed cases stand at 96 up from 90 a day earlier.
China reported 27 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases, which it does not classify as confirmed cases, compared with 41 a day earlier.
Yesterday, Wuhan city committed to test its 12 million residents for the coronavirus after confirming its first domestic cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant.
Wuhan had reported no local coronavirus cases since mid-May last year but on Monday authorities confirmed three cases of the Delta variant.
“To ensure that everyone in the city is safe, city-wide nucleic acid testing will be quickly launched for all people to fully screen out positive results and asymptomatic infections,” Wuhan official Li Qiang told a news briefing.
China brought the epidemic under control last year and fought just a few localized outbreaks after that.
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