2 more Chinese cities begin mass testing after detecting Covid-19 cases

Beijing, Dec 11 (efe-epa).- The cities of Dongning and Suifenhe in China’s northeastern province of Heilongjiang have begun nucleic acid testing campaigns among their populations after detecting two local coronavirus infections, authorities announced Friday.

In a statement published on their website, local authorities said that they expect to finish the process of testing the 300,000 residents – which began on Thursday after the detection of the two cases – in three days.

Suifenhe – which has 70,000 inhabitants – has imposed restrictions on movement and deemed it necessary for people wanting to leave the city to produce a negative test certificate issued within one day of travel.

The city experienced a coronavirus outbreak during the second quarter of the year due to an influx of Chinese citizens returning from Russia across the land border between the two countries.

The last time that Heilongjiang had appeared in the official statistics of the National Health Commission was on Oct. 27, after the detection of a case in an overseas traveler, which, upon entering the country, are required to remain in quarantine for at least two weeks and undergo various tests.

Dongning – which has a population of 230,000 – and Suifenhe are not the only cities in the Asian country to conduct testing among their citizens at this time.

The capital city of the central Sichuan province, Chengdu, which has witnessed a small outbreak of unknown origin in recent days, activated “wartime mode” and ordered mass coronavirus testing in a district on Dec. 8 after detecting seven local cases – one of them asymptomatic – the origin of which is still unknown.

These are the first cases to be detected in the city in nine months.

On Wednesday, official media reported that Sichuan had started an “emergency” vaccination program that will cover up to 2 million people at high risk of infection.

The province’s health authorities hope to complete the vaccination by the end of the year.

Health workers, teachers, port workers, students and workers going overseas will be among the first to receive the vaccine while other vulnerable groups, including the elderly or those with chronic diseases whose condition could easily worsen on contracting Covid-19, will begin to be vaccinated from early 2021.

Vaccination of the general population will begin in February, after the Chinese New Year, although it will depend on their availability.

The total number of active cases in the country stands at 292, of which 5 are serious, according to the data of National Health Commission of China released on Friday. EFE-EPA


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