CHINA / SOCIETY
Chinese Vice Premier Sun inspects Yangzhou as city battles latest COVID-19 surge
Published: Aug 11, 2021 02:45 PM
Aerial photo taken on Aug. 10, 2021 shows Falcon air-inflated testing labs for COVID-19 nucleic acid testing at Yangzhou International Exhibition Center in Yangzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province.(Photo: Xinhua)

Aerial photo taken on Aug. 10, 2021 shows "Falcon" air-inflated testing labs for COVID-19 nucleic acid testing at Yangzhou International Exhibition Center in Yangzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province.(Photo: Xinhua)



Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan on Wednesday arrived in Yangzhou, a latest COVID-19-hit city in East China's Jiangsu Province, where the number of patients with severe illness has doubled since Monday.

Yangzhou found 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a record high since the outbreak in late July.

Sun inspected some sites in Yangzhou, including a big data center, a residential community and a nucleic acid testing site, after her inspection in Zhengzhou in Henan Province, another city hit by the latest outbreak,

Sun urged the local authorities in Yangzhou to speed up the progress and expand the scope of epidemiological investigation. She stressed that personnel with possible risk of infections must be surveyed and put under observation within 24 hours.

The health commission in Yangzhou reported six severe cases on Monday and by Wednesday, the tally had doubled to 12.

Since the outbreak in Yangzhou on July 28, which was triggered by a resident surnamed Mao who travelled from Nanjing, the city has reported 448 confirmed cases. 

After Nanjing reported zero new cases on August 8, the main battle on the prevention and control of the epidemic in Jiangsu Province essentially shifted to Yangzhou.

The spread of the virus in Yangzhou is concentrated on local mahjong parlors with a high rate of infection among senior citizens. The latest data available as of August 3 showed 69 percent of the patients are aged 60 and above. 

The city started the sixth round of citywide nucleic acid testing on early Wednesday as the number of daily confirmed cases exceeded 30 for eight consecutive days. There are still "loopholes in epidemic control," said Wu Zhenglong, the provincial governor of Jiangsu during a press conference on Tuesday.

Wu said that epidemic prevention and control in Yangzhou remains very serious and complex, adding that "according to nucleic acid tests, some of the infected people were found through screening, indicating that there are still weak links and loopholes in epidemic control and quarantine measures in communities and villages in the city."

During the fifth round of nucleic acid testing, 1.59 million residents were screened, informed Wang Jinsong, Deputy Director of the local health commission.

The city has upgraded the risk level in seven areas to medium-risk, starting from Tuesday. As of Wednesday evening, there were two high-risk areas and 94 medium-risk areas in Yangzhou.

A local resident surnamed Du told the Global Times that she has stayed at home for over 10 days and has been screened six times with nucleic acid tests.

"For a city of no more than 4.6 million residents, dozens of daily new cases seem a little serious," another local resident surnamed Yang told the Global Times, adding that the epidemic has affected her online business because she has been "stranded at home and unable to deliver goods and customers who bought online have returned their orders one after another." 

"I have deeper feelings for residents in Wuhan who sacrificed a lot in early 2020 and I really want the city to overcome the surge as quickly as possible," Yang said.


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