East China's Shandong reports first confirmed case with new virus strain
Published: Jan 05, 2021 09:56 PM

Countries such as Australia, Iceland and Italy have reported cases of people infected by the new COVID-19 variant confirmed in the UK. At least 40 countries have suspended flights or taken stricter entry measures to curb the spread of the more transmissible variant. Graphic: Deng Zijun, Chen Xia/GT

East China's Shandong becomes the third province to report its first confirmed COVID-19 case of the new coronavirus strain on Tuesday.

The case was found in the city of Qingdao and is an imported case from the UK. It's similar to the recently found mutant strain in the UK.

Shandong has implemented strict closed-loop management for inbound travelers. After positive samples were collected in the quarantine hotel, the patients were immediately sent to designated medical institutions for diagnosis and treatment, and the process was under strict closed-loop management, according to the official of the local Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The official said the public need not panic as neither the confirmed cases nor asymptomatic infected persons found among inbound travelers are unlikely to enter the public community under strict control, but it is still necessary to take personal protection with masks and social distancing.

So far, it has not been found that the mutant strain will affect the immune efficacy of the inoculated coronavirus vaccines, reports said.

Shandong is the third province after Shanghai and Guangdong to report a case infected by the mutant virus strain.

It proves that the current epidemic situation can be "prevented, controlled" and the discovery in a timely manner will help carry out the related research and improve the country's response system, said the CDC official. 

"This is another proof that the monitoring system we have established is sensitive and reliable," the official added, stressing that it sent a warning to China that the country should never be relaxed as the world is still plagued by the pandemic, and targeted, timely measures should be adjusted to deal with imported cases.

The South China's Guangdong Province CDC said on Sunday that it detected the B.1.1.7 variant in the nucleic acid test sample from a Chinese student who returned from the UK on December 4. The genetic sequencing of the variant is highly similar to that of the mutated virus reported in the UK.

The 18-year-old student tested negative for COVID-19 on arrival in Guangzhou on December 4 but later tested positive on December 18 during his quarantine.

Shanghai CDC announced on Friday that the genetic sequencing of an imported case confirmed on December 16 was found to be similar to that of the strain in the UK. 

Public health experts said that the current prevention mechanism will be effective in warding off the spread of the imported strain in China, but the measures might be escalated if more cases occur. 

Global Times