China expands restrictions, lockdowns to halt latest Covid-19 outbreaks

Beijing, Aug 4 (EFE).- New coronavirus cases continue to rise in China, where several cities extended restrictions Wednesday with selective confinements to stop the spread of the worst outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic.

Authorities seek to contain the outbreaks – with 71 local contagions registered Wednesday, 61 on Tuesday and 55 on Monday – with massive rounds of tests and partial confinements in the up to 144 areas now considered at risk.

It is the highest figure since China established the standards for control and prevention tasks against Covid-19, detailed the country’s National Health Commission reported.

Taxi, intercity bus and private transport services have been suspended in these areas until further notice, the Transport Ministry said Wednesday.

The outbreaks, associated with the virus’ delta variant, have spread to different parts of the country, with new cases reported Wednesday in Hunan, Hubei, Shandong, Yunnan, Henan and Fujian.

On the sidelines, authorities also detected 27 new asymptomatic infections (15 of which were by local contagion; the rest, were “imported”), although Beijing does not count them as confirmed cases unless they manifest symptoms.

The total number of active infections is 1,240, 21 of which are serious, three fewer than the previous day.

There are more than 400 new local cases since a Jul. 20 outbreak at the airport in Nanking, capital of Jiangsu province, which authorities said originated due to the inadequate cleaning of an Air China plane from Russia in which an infected person was traveling.

Officials emphasized Wednesday the need to reinforce prevention measures at airports, with more exhaustive disinfection and nucleic acid tests every two days for some workers.

Chinese immigration authorities announced they would stop issuing or renewing passports to leave the country except for “urgent and necessary” cases given “the complicated pandemic situation abroad.”

Experts quoted Wednesday by the Global Times newspaper said the initial Nanking contagion could be related to imports of frozen products, which the country’s official press already reported about at the end of last year in relation to the initial outbreak in Wuhan.

The city, which had not seen local infections since June 2020, conducted nucleic acid tests Tuesday on all residents – some 11 million – and authorities extended confinements to 16 residential complexes Wednesday following another nine infections.

Shanghai, which did not report new cases, confirmed that Tuesday’s positive case is not related to the Nanking outbreak, although it also belongs to the delta variant, estimated to be up to 60 percent more transmissible. EFE


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