Nanjing COVID-19 outbreak source detected: cleaning staff get infected in cabin of flight CA910 from Russia
Published: Jul 30, 2021 01:35 PM Updated: Jul 30, 2021 03:30 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A flight from Russia was identified as the source of the latest round of the COVID-19 infections in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, the Nanjing health authority said on Friday. Airport cleaning staff members were infected when cleaning the cabin.

The city found the genetic sequences of the cleaners at Nanjing Lukou International Airport, who were reported as confirmed cases at the beginning of the outbreak, are consistent with those of imported cases on the flight CA910, which arrived in Nanjing on July 10 from Russia, local authority said.

Flight CA910 has been suspended 10 times for carrying passengers who tested positive for COVID-19, since China introduced "circuit breaker" measures for inbound air flights in June 2020, media reported. In July alone, it was suspended for three times.

In its 10 flights that triggered a "circuit breaker," CA910 has transported a total of 69 COVID-19 patients from Moscow to Chinese cities including Nanjing, Tianjin and Zhengzhou, China Youth Daily reported on Friday.

Cleaning staff most likely contracted the virus after not strictly adhering to personal protection requirements while completing a deep clean of flight CA910, said Nanjing Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Nanjing CDC) at a press release on Friday.

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Investigations found the cleaners were responsible for garbage removal for both domestic and international flights, Nanjing CDC said. The other cases at the airport were infected by contacting with the cleaners, or by being exposed to the contaminated environment, it added.

Nanjing CDC has completed sequencing work of the virus genes of 52 cases in the outbreak, all of which are of Delta strain, said Ding Jie, the CDC's deputy director. 

"The gene sequences of these viruses are highly homologous, suggesting they are from the same transmission chain," Ding added.

Nanjing authorities have identified13 local COVID-19 patients on Thursday. The city has reported a total of 184 confirmed cases and one silent carrier since the latest outbreak on July 20.

Global Times