E China's coastal city Xiamen to conduct mass COVID testing; virus detected as variant BA.2.76
Published: Aug 16, 2022 06:22 PM
Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province Photo:IC

Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province Photo:IC

Xiamen, a coastal city in East China's Fujian Province, will conduct a three-day mass nucleic acid testing starting from Wednesday amid the latest COVID-19 outbreak mainly sweeping across summer tourist destinations in the country. The virus spreading in the city was identified as Omicron variant BA.2.76, a city official said.

Xiamen, a popular tourism city home to more than five million people, will start three-round of city-wide testing for COVID-19 from Wednesday to Friday. It has already conducted multiple rounds of testing in some certain epidemic-affected regions starting from August 10. 

The current epidemic situation in Xiamen is complex and subject to change, said Wang Mingzhai, chief expert of local Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at a press conference on Tuesday. 

Multiple transmission chains are interwoven and superimposed in the city, with positive cases repeatedly detected within the community and increasing number of imported infection coming or returning from other places in China, said Wang.

As of Tuesday noon, the city reported eight new confirmed cases within the past 18 hours, bringing the total number to 42. 

The cases in the latest outbreak in Xiamen showed strong transmission ability that has led to the infection of a number of their close contacts or people who simultaneously exposed to the space where they stay.

The virus was classified by the Xiamen CDC as Omicron variant BA.2.76, a more transmissible subtype than the variant BA.5. 

China has seen fresh COVID-19 flare-ups across at least 17 provincial-level regions recently, with a high level of virus transmission notably coming from three major tourist destinations - Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region and South China's Hainan Province.