Manzhouli to start third round of complete COVID-19 testing after cluster of infections found

By Huang Lanlan Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/2 13:56:16

Manzhouli File Photo: VCG

North China's port city of Manzhouli, China's largest land port bordering Russia, announced on Wednesday it will undergo a third round of nucleic acid COVID-19 testing for all its 30,000 residents, after the city had suffered from local COVID-19 cases since late November.

The third round of testing will start at 8:00 am Thursday, said the health authorities in Manzhouli, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The previous two rounds of all-member testing started on November 22 and November 27, respectively. A total of 12 people — 11 confirmed patients and one asymptomatic carrier — tested positive in the first round. The second round discovered seven confirmed cases and one asymptomatic case.

A Manzhouli resident surnamed Li, who had undergone tests in the previous two rounds, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the nucleic acid tests were free and only required three minutes each time.

Li praised the government for doing a good job in controlling this round of the epidemic. "I've seen a lot of medical staff and related support personnel busy on the front lines [conducting the testing] these days," he told the Global Times, saying that he doesn't think the virus will be spread in Manzhouli under the joint efforts of local people.

Earlier, the Manzhouli authority said on November 26 that COVID-19 was thought to have spread among local families, communities and a local school. It had suspended all gatherings across the city, and put six communities with confirmed cases under 24-hour closed-loop management.

Before Manzhouli, Urumqi and some areas in Kashi Prefecture in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region had undergone similar complete rounds of COVID-19 testing.

Manzhouli entered "quasi-lockdown" mode after two local infections were reported on Saturday, involving a 55-year-old sanitation worker and his domestic helper wife. The genetic sequencing of the two patients belongs to the L genotype of the European branch and shares a high similarity with the strain found in Russia, said local authorities.

Li suggested the city take more flexible measures amid the current lockdown. "It can learn from some other domestic cities to allow residents with negative nucleic acid test results to leave," he said.

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