China is experiencing yet another Covid outbreak caused by the delta variant, with dozens of infections detected in the southeastern province of Fujian less than a month after the nation’s last flare-up was contained.
The cluster was detected thanks to routine testing in local schools, where two students tested positive on Friday. Their father, who returned from Singapore in early August, was also found to have been infected. Officials believe he is the likely source of the latest outbreak in the region, a manufacturing hub for sneakers, clothing and electronic components, which now stretches to more than 60 people in three cities.
The man did three weeks of quarantine and took 10 tests with no signs of infection before returning to the community, underscoring how difficult it can be to identify every case. China’s so-called Covid Zero policy relies on aggressive testing and contact tracing to quickly spot and isolate the pathogen anytime it penetrates the world’s second-largest economy.
The virus quickly took off in Fujian’s schools and factories. At least 19 of the infected people are under the age of 12, a group that China’s blistering vaccination campaign has yet to reach. The country’s top health regulator sent a task force over the weekend to the city of Putian, where most of the cases have been found thus far. Other patients were detected in the port cities of Quanzhou and Xiamen.