China moves to contain fresh Covid outbreak in Fujian province

By Vincent Ni and agencies
A health worker collects swab sample from a resident for Covid-19 test in China's Fujian Province
A health worker collects swab sample from a resident for Covid-19 test in China's Fujian province. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

China has imposed new restrictions to contain a fresh outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19 in the south-eastern Fujian province, with measures including mass testing, suspended transport services and closures of bars and cinemas.

There were at least 22 new local cases recorded in Fujian province on Monday. The South China Morning Post said authorities had ordered mass testing for students and teachers in the province of nearly 39 million people to be completed within a week.

Nationally, China on Monday reported 49 new confirmed cases in the mainland for 12 September, compared with 46 a day earlier, according to the country’s national health commission.

Putian, a city of 2.9 million people south of Shanghai, appeared to have among the highest number of infections in the current outbreak. Schools have been closed, and anyone leaving the city must have proof of a negative Covid test in the previous 48 hours.

On Monday, 15 cases were confirmed in Putian in the latest 24-hour period. A further six were found in Quanzhou city, and one more in Xiamen, suggesting the virus may be moving south from Putian.

The first cases in Putian were students from Xianyou county, but experts suspect the outbreak might have originated with the father of one student who returned from Singapore on 4 August, according to the Global Times newspaper.

Residents of villages in Xianyou where infections were found were barred from leaving, the newspaper said.

Bus and train services to Putian were suspended on Saturday, Global Times said. Elsewhere in Putian, cinemas, card rooms, gyms, tourist sites and other facilities were ordered to close. Restaurants and supermarkets were told to “strictly control” customer numbers and to check for fevers.

The health commission said on Saturday experts had been sent to the city to oversee disease-control work.Separately, vaccinations for teenagers have been ramped up in the province.

China has taken tough action to clamp down on recent outbreaks linked to the fast-spreading Delta variant. Last month, authorities ordered all 11 million residents of Wuhan – where Covid-19 was first reported in late 2019 – to be tested for the virus, after new cases emerged in the city for the first time in more than a year.

China has reported 4,636 coronavirus deaths out of 95,199 confirmed cases.

With Associated Press

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