Several Chinese cities tighten epidemic prevention measures amid new flare-ups
Published: Aug 29, 2022 08:46 PM Updated: Aug 29, 2022 08:43 PM
A medical worker takes a swab sample from a freshman for nucleic acid test at Peking University in Beijing, capital of China, on Aug. 28, 2022.Photo:Xinhua

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a freshman for nucleic acid test at Peking University in Beijing, capital of China, on Aug. 28, 2022. Photo:Xinhua News Agency

As the new semester approaches, many places in China, including Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province and Tianjin Municipality, have begun to tighten epidemic prevention measures amid COVID-19 flare-ups, including carrying out large-scale nucleic acid tests and delaying the return of students.

After seven consecutive days of decline in the number of newly reported local infections in the Chinese mainland, the number of new local infections increased again and exceeded 1,500 on Sunday. At present, the epidemic in the Chinese mainland shows a tendency of multi-faceted and widespread, with outbreaks occurring in many places across the country.

A total of 301 confirmed cases were reported in 19 provinces and municipalities across the country on Sunday. In addition, 1,255 asymptomatic local infections have been reported nationwide, according to the data from China's National Health Commission on Monday.

Of the 301 local cases reported across the country on Sunday, 161 were from Sichuan Province, which saw the highest number of local infections in the province's current outbreak. The epidemic situation in Sichuan Province has been developing rapidly at the moment, and there has been a significant upward trend.

The local infections in Sichuan affected many places across the province. However, a new cluster of cases was reported in Chengdu on August 25, the capital of Sichuan, all of which were linked to a swimming pool in a gym, local health authorities said. The trace of the cases is still underway.

"The situation is very serious and the progress of the epidemic is very fast," local health authorities in Chengdu said on Sunday, noting that the genetic sequencing results of this outbreak have shown that it is Omicron variant BA.2.76, which is homologous to the virus strains circulating in many places in and outside the province recently. The virus spread quickly and was highly infectious, and the latent transmission was very strong, resulting in large-scale cluster outbreaks in many places of the country.

However, the virus of the infected person in North China's Tianjin, the municipality bordering Beijing, belonged to Omicron variant BA.5.2.1, and the sequence was different from that of the imported and domestic cases, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday.

Local health authorities in Tianjin also noted that more cases could not be ruled out in the city as the source of infection was still unknown, and further tracing of the source of the virus is still in progress.

In view of the high risk of the spread of the virus in China, large-scale nucleic acid testing is being carried out in many places across the country. Tianjin continued to carry out nucleic acid testing on Sunday, with 5.37 million people receiving the tests, most of them tested negative except for 4 people who tested positive.

As Chengdu also conducts large-scale nucleic acid testing, the local authorities announced that a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate will be required to enter public places from Sunday.

Meanwhile, schools and universities in many parts of the country will delay the return of students or suspend offline teaching due to the epidemic.

In addition, some parts of the country have seen a marked decline in the epidemic, with health authorities in South China's Hainan Province saying on Sunday that 34 new cases of local infections had been confirmed in the province and that the epidemic was "basically under control."

A total of 9 local cases were confirmed between 0:00 and 14:00 in Southwest China's Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region on Sunday and as of 16:00 on Sunday, many places in Xizang had been cleared of the community transmission, showing progress in the prevention and control of the epidemic.

Global Times