Covid-19 outbreak hits eastern China; Putian city sealed off, travel restricted | World News - Hindustan Times
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Covid-19 outbreak hits eastern China; Putian city sealed off, travel restricted

BySutirtho Patranobis
Sep 12, 2021 11:35 PM IST

The city of Putian in the province of Fujian in China has been virtually sealed off with residents advised not to leave after 20 new Covid-19 cases were reported on Sunday for the day before

The city of Putian in the province of Fujian in China has been virtually sealed off with residents advised not to leave after 20 new Covid-19 cases were reported on Sunday for the day before, health authorities have said.

Medical workers give thumbs-up to their colleagues leaving to help during an outbreak of Covid-19 in Putian from a provincial hospital in Fuzhou in Fujian province in China on Sunday. (AP)
Medical workers give thumbs-up to their colleagues leaving to help during an outbreak of Covid-19 in Putian from a provincial hospital in Fuzhou in Fujian province in China on Sunday. (AP)

All reported 20 positive Covid-19 cases were from Xianyou county, the largest county in Putian.

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Preliminary analysis of the Covid strain shows the outbreak was triggered by the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The new cluster comes weeks after China contained the July wave of the Delta variant that had spread across the country, the worst since the Wuhan outbreak in 2020.

The new cases have been linked to a Chinese national who returned from Singapore last month. At least six infections have been traced back to him.

Hundreds of contacts including children in an elementary school have been isolated.

Six people from two families were first to test positive on Friday, including three children aged between 10 and 12 years.

Villages in Xianyou, where confirmed cases were found, have been sealed, a state media report said.

The county’s Fengting town has been designated as a Covid-19 high-risk area after new local infections were reported, news agency Xinhua reported.

The Covid-19 response headquarters of Xianyou has advised residents to work from home and wear masks on public transportation, and has banned large gatherings.

“The operations of the county’s indoor entertainment venues, such as museums and movie theatres, have been suspended. Also, customer flow has been restricted in supermarkets and other essential services providers,” the report said.

Putian authorities announced the suspension of inter-city and inter-province bus services until further notice.

Cinemas, card rooms, gyms, tourist sites and other facilities in Putian have been shut down. Restaurants and supermarkets have been told to “strictly control” customer numbers and to check for fever.

The national health commission (NHC) has deployed a work team to Fujian to guide local epidemic control.

“The city government of Putian reported the viral genome sequencing of 19 relevant cases in the outbreak has preliminarily identified the strains as the highly infectious Delta variant,” the Xinhua report added.

The mainland on Sunday also reported 26 new imported cases for Saturday, including 11 in Yunnan, six in Guangdong, three in Shanghai, two in Inner Mongolia, and one each in Tianjin, Liaoning, Fujian and Henan.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases on the Chinese mainland stood at 95,199 until Saturday, with the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

Meanwhile, China has administered a total of 2.14 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of September 11, data from the NHC showed on Sunday.

More than 969 million Chinese people, which is about 69% of the country’s population, were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as of September 7, the NHC said last week.

China aims to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus disease by the end of this year. China’s top respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan told state media in August that the country would need more than 80% of the population to be fully inoculated to achieve that.

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