BEIJING (AP) – Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and closing schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were found in three cities across the country last week.
With temperatures dropping, the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzholi, despite the lower number of new cases compared to the United States and other countries, are taking massive measures, seeing new waves of infection.
Many experts and government officials have warned that the virus is more likely to spread in cold climates. Recent outbreaks have shown that the virus is at risk of relapse despite widespread control in China.
On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two newly transmitted cases locally in Shanghai in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday. A total of 86,442 cases and 634 deaths have been reported in China since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
The two most recent cases confirmed in Shanghai were the close contacts of another airport employee who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early November. On Sunday night, the city’s Pudong International Airport decided to test its workers, collecting 17,719 samples early Monday morning. If more cases are found the surrounding communities are planning to test others.
Videos aimed at workers on social media show what looks like chaotic scenes at the airport as they were given last-minute orders for testing. In the video, people in hazmat costumes are seen in large groups pushing back and forth in front of officers.
Shanghai has been more selective with group testing, targeting people associated with a specific location, such as an airport or hospital where someone who has tested positive works instead of the entire district.
In Tianjin, health workers collected more than 2.5 million samples for testing from residents of Binhai New District, where five locally infected cases were found last week.
Manhuzli is a town of more than 200,000 people, according to local health officials, after two cases were reported on Saturday. They also closed all schools and public places and banned public gatherings such as banquets.
China has resorted to its heavy, top-down approach when it comes to new cases of local transmission – closing schools and hospitals, locking up residential communities and surrounding neighborhoods, and testing millions.
Tianjin authorities closed the kindergarten and moved all teachers, family and students to a centralized quarantine site. They also sealed off a residential compound where five cases were found.
A UPS worker at Pudong airport said one of those who tested positive earlier this month had gone to his visited fee. Since then, his company has asked employees to quarantine themselves in office fees and they have been banned from taking leave for four days, unless they sign an agreement to keep themselves at home for two weeks, he said, revealing his name for fear of retaliation Did not fall. She said she had been sleeping in the office fee since Friday, but was able to get out by Monday. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
China’s approach to controlling the epidemic has been criticized for being harsh. It locked the city of Wuhan, where cases were reported for more than two months to contain the virus, in which the local government closed all traffic and residents to their homes. Locally, however, China has called its strategy “clearly zero” and boasted of its success.
“All over the world, only China has the ability to reach zero. Other countries do not have this capability, ”said Zheng Guang, chief epidemiologist at Chinese Disease Control and Prevention, at a webinar hosted by Chinese media in September. “It’s not just going to zero, it’s also difficult for them to control the first wave of the epidemic.”
“Clearing to Zero is a really economically effective way to prevent an epidemic. If you don’t, the problem will get worse, “he said. “Use a heavy hand, and go to zero, then people will be reassured.”
A.P. Researcher Chen CA contributed to the report from Shanghai.
Amateur web specialist. General food junkie. Typical zombie enthusiast. Avid music trailblazer. Lifelong explorer.