Cases More Than Double in Covid Outbreak in Chinese Province

BEIJING – The total number of Covid-19 cases more than doubled between Monday and Tuesday in Fujian province in southeast China, according to the National Health Commission. Health officials said 60 new locally transmitted cases were reported on Monday, against 22 infections the day before.

From the 10th to the 12th of September, the province had a total of 42 cases. With the new 60 cases — 25 in the capital Putian, 32 in Xiamen and three in Quanzhou — the total number of infections reached 102.

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The outbreak began in Putian, a city of 3.2 million people, where the first case was reported on 10 September. Preliminary tests showed that patients contracted the more contagious Delta variant. The first infections, found during routine Chinese mass testing, were from elementary school students in Xianyou County, Putian.

Experts suspect that the trigger for the outbreak could be one of the parents of a student who had arrived from Singapore, even though he completed the mandatory two-week quarantine. Since then, the outbreak has spread to Xiamen.

As Putian has been doing since Monday, Xiamen closed some areas considered to be at higher risk of spreading the virus, canceled classroom classes, closed public places like cinemas, gyms and bars, and asked residents not to leave the city for non-essential reasons .

Covid-19’s first patient in Xiamen City was identified as a person who had a contact with a positive case in Putian. About 60% of flights to and from Xiamen were canceled on Tuesday, according to aviation data provider Variflight.

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The two cities began strengthening the mass testing on Tuesday.

The outbreak comes before one of the biggest Chinese holidays, National Day, which commemorates the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. The holiday lasts up to seven days.

This is the second outbreak of the Delta variant faced by China this semester, after nearly a year without serious outbreaks at Covid-19.

Between the end of July and mid-August, the country recorded more than 1,200 cases, which spread across 17 provinces, after contamination occurred in the city of Nanjing, in Jiangsu province, initially in airport workers who cleaned a plane coming from the city. Russia.

This outbreak disrupted travel, hitting the tourism, hospitality and transport sectors in the midst of summer vacations in the Northern Hemisphere.

China’s air passenger traffic fell 51.5% in August from a year earlier, data released Tuesday showed, highlighting the vulnerability of Chinese airlines to the outbreaks, although Covid-19 generally is , under control in the country.

Across China, 95,340 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed since the start of the pandemic, with the cumulative death toll at 4,636.