China locks down hospital, residences after detecting 3 asymptomatic cases

Beijing, Oct 11 (efe-epa).- The city of Qingdao in east China announced on Sunday that it has detected three asymptomatic COVID-19 infections linked to a hospital in the city where imported cases are treated and ordered the lockdown of the buildings where the patients live and closed access to the medical center.

In a statement posted on its website, the Qingdao Municipal Health Commission said that the first two cases are a hospital attendant and her husband, a taxi driver, who went to the Qingdao Chest Hospital after exhibiting mild stroke symptoms and were tested there for the coronavirus with the results coming positive.

The third case is a 58-year-old man who had gone to the hospital, which specializes in chest diseases, to be admitted for tuberculosis again after being discharged a few days earlier.

The commission said that it “immediately” began tracking the contacts of the infected, who underwent nucleic acid testing, and closed the entrances and exits of the buildings where these three people reside, the hospital and also the emergency department of Qingdao Central Hospital, where the patients had been treated.

In the statement, the authorities urged citizens to maintain hygiene and physical distancing measures and told them to go to a designated hospital as soon as possible if they displayed any COVID-19-related symptoms.

According to the latest official data, China has recorded no local infections for 56 consecutive days.

This streak could continue as asymptomatic cases are not included in official data, according to the guidelines of the National Health Commission, and would be broken only in case of local infection with symptoms.

Qingdao, the most populous city of the eastern province of Shandong with 9.5 million inhabitants, is a port city known for housing the headquarters of the popular Tsingtao beer brand.

On Sep. 24, the city had already reported two asymptomatic cases detected during routine testing of dock workers who had unloaded frozen seafood from a ship.

China authorities are monitoring cold chain and imports of frozen products from other countries where the incidence of the virus is high owing to their link to some small outbreaks, such as the one that emerged in a seafood processing plant in the northeastern coastal city of Dalian in July.

Since containing the spread of the virus in the central Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, China has kept the pandemic at bay – according to official data – except for outbreaks that have already been brought under control in areas such as the northwest Xinjiang and Beijing. EFE-EPA


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