| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak spreads to 20th province as cases near 800

The latest COVID-19 outbreak in China is spreading east through the country’s rust belt, prompting officials to implement increasingly stringent prevention measures in an effort to keep it under control.

On Friday, the country’s health commission reported 68 locally confirmed cases, as well as 22 additional infections that caused no symptoms.

The northeastern province of Heilongjiang, which accounted for more than one-third of the total, has become the latest epicenter, as a mysterious cluster that emerged in the northern border town of Heihe grew despite a city-wide lockdown.

The latest wave, fueled by the virus’s highly infectious delta variant, has spread to 20 mainland provinces, making it the most widespread outbreak since the virus first appeared in Wuhan in 2019. In the last three weeks, nearly 800 people have been diagnosed.

Concern is growing.

While the number of infections may appear low in comparison to the West, where tens of thousands of cases are reported daily, the zero-tolerance policy adopted by the world’s second-largest economy means that the rising case count is cause for concern.

China continues to conduct mass testing whenever a single case of the deadly pathogen is detected, quarantines everyone who could be infected, and restricts travel to other locations to prevent possible transmission.

Beijing has reported zero cases in the last two days, after the country surrounded the political center with increasingly stringent restrictions, including the suspension of inbound trains from more than 23 locations where infections were discovered during the latest outbreak.

On Friday, Hebei, which borders Beijing, reported 10 days.

Many municipal governments have urged residents not to travel across provinces and have discouraged residents from leaving their cities unnecessarily.

Wuzhen Scenic Area, a popular tourist destination in eastern Zhejiang province, announced a temporary closure after one of its visitors tested positive for the virus. There is no word on when it will resume operations.

  • alarabiya