The southern Chinese city of Putian ordered Covid-19 tests on 3.2 million people and closed schools on Tuesday to try to contain a new outbreak of cases that could infect children, which has not yet are vaccinated.
All inhabitants of the city, which lies in the coastal province of Fujian, will be tested after confirming more than 100 delta variant cases that appear to be linked to a person who returned from Singapore (see below).
Public transport and classes were suspended in the city, and bars, cinemas and other facilities were closed.
At Australia, authorities extended until mid-October the confinement in the capital Canberra amid an outbreak and a still very slow vaccination campaign.
Nearly 400,000 residents have been forced to stay at home since Aug. 12 in the Australian capital, when a case of Covid-19 in the city was confirmed. There are currently more than 250 active cases.
After managing to control the first wave of the pandemic, China and Australia have recently registered several outbreaks of the delta variant — and the current outbreak in Fujian is the biggest for the Asian giant in several weeks.
Chinese officials suspect “patient zero” in this new outbreak is a man who returned from Singapore and developed symptoms after testing negative for Covid-19 and completing a 14-day quarantine.
Her 12-year-old son and a classmate were the first to be infected after returning to school. The virus has spread and has infected at least 36 children, including eight from pre-school, according to local authorities.
Health worker collects bulk Covid-19 test sample in Putian, Fujian Province, Southeast China, Sept. 12, 2021 — Photo: Wei Peiquan/Xinhua via AP
Both countries have adopted a zero tolerance strategy against Covid-19, with severe lockdowns and mass testing when a case is detected.
With this strategy, China claims to have registered just over 4,800 deaths and 107,000 symptomatic cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and Australia, 1,100 deaths and 76,000 infected.
Most populous country in the world, with 1.4 billion inhabitants, China has already applied more than 2 billion doses of its vaccines against Covid-19 and has 67% of the population fully immunized.
But most children are still unvaccinated, and Fujian authorities fear the coronavirus will spread among minors, so face-to-face classes have been suspended in Putian.
In Australia, which has 25 million inhabitants, 54% of the population has received at least one dose so far and less than 34% of the population is fully immunized — level similar to that of Brazil.