Infections in China rise as tests, lockdowns continue

Beijing, Aug 6 (EFE).- China confirmed 80 new Friday cases of Covid-19, the highest number since several outbreaks associated with the delta variant began spreading in recent weeks, as authorities have responded with selective confinements, mass test rounds and transport restrictions.

These 80 positives represent a slight rebound compared to Thursday’s 62, Wednesday’s 71 or Tuesday’s 61, although local press estimated the curve would not stabilize until tests in the affected areas and the tracking of nearby cases aren’t carried out.

The delta variant’s higher infection rate – up to 60 percent – is testing the anti-Covid-19 strategies of Chinese authorities, which said the situation is “controllable,” adding that they commit to strong control measures and prevention to prevent clusters from spreading.

Of the local cases reported today, 61 were detected in the eastern province of Jiangsu, the scene of the largest active outbreak, caused by the inadequate cleaning of an Air China plane from Russia in which an infected person was traveling, according to authorities.

The outbreak has spread to other provinces in the country, and the Health Commission reported cases Friday in Hunan, Hubei, Inner Mongolia, Henan, Hainan and Yunnan.

More than 600 infections have been detected by local transmission since Jul. 20, and although the outbreaks for the moment have not left deaths, there are 34 serious cases – 8 more than the day before – among the 1,370 active infections.

The situation in Yangzhou, in Jiangsu, is of particular concern, with 14 severe and two critical cases, mostly elderly patients who had not been vaccinated.

China began by vaccinating only those under 60, although it has slowly begun to vaccinate the elderly since March.

The confinements also continue – in neighborhoods in cities such as Wuhan and Beijing – which have caused the number of patients under observation to go from 8,577 registered on Jul. 22 to Friday’s 40,990.

Travel restrictions are also among measures to curb infections, with the suspension of new passports or greater control in the country’s ports and airports, which have recently undergone massive disinfection programs.

According to the Global Times newspaper, the situation could cause an increase in the costs of imports of basic products, a headache for the country’s politicians, as they said on Jul. 30 at the last meeting of the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party, in which it was called to “ensure the supply of goods and stabilize prices.”

Meanwhile, dozens of flights have been canceled, including cargo flights from Haikou, capital of the island province of Hainan, after it was known Friday that an airport worker had tested positive.

It is the second infection registered on the island in the middle of the holiday period due to the national school break, which has raised concerns about the impact it may have on the recovery of the tourism industry, according to official media.

In the first half of 2021, Hainan took advantage of the situation due to the practical impossibility of conducting tourism outside the country with 43.21 million trips and income worth 81.970 million yuan ($ 12.7 billion), 260 percent more than in 2020 and 67.1 percent more than in 2019.

China continues with its “zero tolerance” policy against the virus, although some experts such as Feng Zijian, former deputy director of the disease control center, believe the country should “optimize” the duration and intensity of Covid-19 measures.

Others, such as Zeng Guang, from the same center, added that it takes “a change of mentality and loss of fear,” while epidemiologist Zhang Wenhong said on the Sina Weibo social network that people should learn to coexist with the virus in the long term.

His comments drew both praise from users who urged that the country return to normal and open its borders and criticism from those who accuse him of “surrendering” to the pathogen.

Experts insist on vaccination, although according to epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan, the delta variant means China needs to inoculate 83.3 percent of its population of 1.4 billion people to achieve herd immunity.

So far, the country has administered 1.7 million doses of its vaccines, according to the National Health Commission, which does not publish data on how many people have received the full vaccination course. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button