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Covid: China locks down city of 4.5 mn as Delta variant surges again

The latest outbreak, which has yet to escape the Fujian province, includes 103 cases in three cities thus far.

Delta variant of coronavirus | Coronavirus | China

Bloomberg News | Bloomberg 

Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

locked down a city of 4.5 million people in the southeastern province of Fujian after detecting a dozen cases, an attempt to once again halt a delta outbreak and maintain its strict zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19.

Residents of the scenic coastal city of Xiamen, a manufacturing hub for electronic components from companies including ABB Ltd. and Schneider Electric SE, according to the city’s almanac, were banned from leaving other than in exceptional circumstances. All residential compounds and villages were closed off, while leisure venues in the tourist city - including cinemas, bars, gym, and libraries - halted operations, city officials said at a press conference on Monday night.

The latest outbreak, which has yet to escape the Fujian province, includes 103 cases in three cities thus far. The first cases were detected in two students from local schools through routine testing. Their father, who returned from overseas in early August, was also infected and is considered as the likely origin.

ALSO READ: Delta breaches China less than a month after previous outbreak

The wave comes less than a month after fought off the broadest outbreak in the country since the virus first emerged in Wuhan. The fast and furious measures taken by local authorities reflect the difficulty of containing the more transmissible delta variant and the escalation needs to undertake to sustain its Covid Zero status.

Experts from the national health team have said they see a “spillover risk” in the latest outbreak. Putian, the city at the epicenter of the current outbreak, is in a “tough and complicated” situation, officials said, with residential compounds, schools and factories are likely to find more cases. Some 30,000 people have left Putian for other provinces since late August, though no outside cases have yet been found, according to local media reports.

Starting Tuesday, all kindergartens, primary and middle schools in Xiamen will be closed, and students have been asked to attend classes online. The city’s long-distance bus station suspended all routes to other provinces in order to cut the risk of transmission. Some parts of Xiamen have initiated mass testing, and local authorities plan to roll out citywide testing, according to deputy mayor Liao Huasheng.

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First Published: Tue, September 14 2021. 14:13 IST