At least 18 provinces in China sound alarm about COVID-19, the worst in months
Published: Aug 01, 2021 05:54 PM
Photo: Wechat account of Nanjing Lukou International Airport

Photo: Wechat account of Nanjing Lukou International Airport

At least 18 provinces in China have sounded alarm about COVID-19 as more than 300 domestic cases were detected in 10 days, posing great challenges to the country as it deals with the worst epidemic in months. 

Chinese health authorities reported 53 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in eight provinces on Saturday alone, involving 53 from East China’s Jiangsu, 12 from Central China’s Henan and Hunan. A total of 37 new asymptomatic cases were also reported on Sunday, mainly from flood-hit city Zhengzhou, Henan Province. 

As of press time, at least 27 cities in 18 provinces had reported more than 300 confirmed cases in recent days, including Beijing, Jiangsu and Sichuan, the Global Times found. 

The number of medium- and high-risk regions across the country rose to 95 on Sunday, of which 91 are medium-risk regions and four are high-risk regions including Dehong Prefecture of Yunnan, Nanjing of Jiangsu and Zhengzhou of Henan.

This wave of domestic outbreaks started with the infections of cleaners from Nanjing’s Lukou International Airport, later it spread to more local people and other provinces after shared travel experiences in renowned tourist destination in Zhangjiajie, Central China's Hunan Province.

Zhong Nanshan, China's top respiratory disease specialist, expressed grave concern over the latest outbreak in Zhangjiajie where at least eight confirmed cases were found as of Sunday and is linked to COVID-19 infections of at least seven cities in five provinces. 

Zhong pointed out that Nanjing as a big city is doing a good job in epidemic prevention and control but whether the epidemic in Zhangjiajie will further spread within the smaller city is still unknown. 

Many confirmed cases across the country had links with Meili Xiangxi Grand Theater in Zhangjiajie. One performance of the show reached 2,000 audiences. Zhong pointed out that in an environment where about 2,000 people gathered for a show, all of their close contacts and family members will be tracked.

In a new notice released on Sunday, Zhangjiajie required communities to strengthen control, and urged people to stay indoors and all people working public posts stay at home and keep their phones on. Apart from vehicles used for emergency, all other vehicles within the city will not be allowed on the roads starting from Sunday noon.

The city also closed its tourist sites and required all tourists to take three nucleic acid tests before leaving the city. 

Authorities from Nanjing, where the recent outbreak is most severe, said the city has detected 204 domestic confirmed cases in recent three rounds of nucleic acid testing, mostly relating to the Lukou Airport and its neighboring areas, according to the newest information released by Nanjing health commission on Sunday. 

The Lukou Airport said it will disinfect thoroughly including the accommodation of the working staff in the next 10 days. 

Apart from Nanjing and Zhangjiajie, many other cities had also adopted concrete measures to prevent and control the further spread of epidemic domestically at the wake of a spike in COVID-19 infections. 

People, vehicles, airlines and trains from regions with reported COVID-19 infections are being restricted from entering Beijing, Beijing municipal government said on Sunday.

The city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, where 12 confirmed cases were reported on Saturday, announced it will suspend all domestic airlines and boats in and out of the city. It also plans to roll out the second round of nucleic acid testing starting from Sunday.

People who want to leave Yangzhou on trains must provide negative results of nucleic acid testing within 48 hours and public transportation within the downtown area has been suspended. 

Southwest China’s Sichuan Province suspended its cross-province group tours. Nine cases were reported whose gene sequences is similar to that of cases in Nanjing, reports said. 

On Sunday, Haikou, a city in South China’s Hainan Province, reported one confirmed case, whose travel history had close links with confirmed cases in Jiangsu. Public venues where the patient had been to were undergoing disinfections and mass nucleic acid testing. 

Separate from the one relating to Nanjing, the infection chain in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan, which was triggered by interior hospital cross infection, further extend on Sunday. On Saturday alone, Zhengzhou registered 11 confirmed and 16 asymptomatic cases. 

Most of the infected are in the No. 6 People's Hospital, involving cleaning staff, medical staff and inpatients, which exposes the hospital's loopholes in management, Wang Wanpeng, the new Party chief of city health commission, said at a press conference on Saturday.