China shuts schools, events as Delta outbreak spreads

Beijing: With the resurgence of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in China’s Fujian province, the country has shut schools, called off events, and imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, media reports said.

The Fujian Province reported 120 locally transmitted confirmed Covid-19 cases and 19 local asymptomatic carriers as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the Xinhua news agency quoted local authorities as saying.

The confirmed cases occurred in the cities of Putian, Quanzhou, and Xiamen, and the new asymptomatic carrier was detected in Putian, the provincial anti-pandemic workgroup said in a press conference.

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All of the infected have been transferred to designated hospitals for treatment. Since the latest resurgence began on Friday, local authorities have made all out efforts to trace the close contacts, who are all under concentrated quarantine.

As of Monday, two areas in the province have been classified as Covid-19 high-risk areas and four more as medium-risk areas, the report said.

Fujian authorities have also ordered mass Covid-19 testing for students and teachers in the province to be completed within a week. The city of Xiamen has closed off two districts and a hospital after identifying coronavirus patients.

Pupils from a Putian primary school were among the first identified Covid-19 patients in the latest outbreak.

The parent of a child at the Putou Primary School in Putian, who returned from Singapore, is the suspected source of the latest outbreak, Al Jazeera reported.

He had returned to China from Singapore in August and completed quarantine — including multiple coronavirus tests — before testing positive this month after developing Covid symptoms.

Putian, a city of 3.2 million in Fujian, has ordered the testing of all residents as the infection has spread to more than 100 people in the province, the report said.

Further, the country’s largest trade fair China Import and Export Fair also known as Canton Fair, being held in the neighbouring Guangdong province, has also been cut short from 12 days to five days, Chu Shijia, director of the China Foreign Trade Centre, told a press conference on Tuesday, the South China Morning Post reported.

Several airports in Guangdong — including in Zhuhai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou — are now demanding passengers coming from Fujian to take compulsory tests after landing regardless of whether they had presented negative coronavirus tests in the previous 48 hours, according to statements from the airports.

The National Health Commission team sent to Fujian said it was likely that cases would continue to be detected in communities, schools and factories in Putian, where the present outbreak is mainly concentrated, with a risk of further spread of the virus, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

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