Over A Dozen Chinese Cities Including Beijing Witness Sudden Surge In Covid-19 Cases, As Situation Turns Disconcerting

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Jul 31, 2021 11:58 AM
Over A Dozen Chinese Cities Including Beijing Witness Sudden Surge In Covid-19 Cases, As Situation Turns DisconcertingThe Covid outbreak in China.
Snapshot
  • The new wave of Covid-19 cases has spread throughout five Chinese provinces and the Beijing municipality, beginning at an airport in Nanjing, which is the capital of Jiangsu province in the east of the country.

    According to reports, all flights have been halted in Nanjing after several airport employees tested positive for Covid-19.

With 15 cities, including the capital Beijing, battling with clusters of Covid-positive cases, China is experiencing a rapid spike of Covid-19 cases linked to the Delta variant.

Official media said that the situation was the most extensive domestic epidemic since the virus outbreak in Hubei’s Wuhan in December 2019. The surge in cases also led the authorities imposing stricter restrictions.

The new wave of Covid-19 cases has spread throughout five Chinese provinces and the Beijing municipality, beginning at an airport in Nanjing, which is the capital of Jiangsu province in the east of the country.

According to reports, all flights have been halted in Nanjing after several airport employees tested positive for Covid-19.

Even though the number of new coronavirus cases is still in three digits, concerns have been raised about the vast spread of the infection across provinces. The rapid emergence of the cases in Beijing, after more than 175 days since the last incidence, is causing tension among officials.

The local government of Beijing, which has an almost 22 million population, safeguarded the capital city for several months in preparation for the ruling Chinese Communist Party centenary celebrations which took place on 1 July.

China has yet to open its skies to air travel from India and several other nations. However, most international aircraft heading for Beijing are redirected to neighbouring cities, where passengers must wait 21 days before accessing the national capital.

But as per the reports, a few days ago, this bubble burst when a high-ranking African official and his team tested positive while staying in a premium hotel.

Panicky officials sealed the hotel, putting hundreds of guests and workers on a 21-day quarantine, and tracked several individuals who came in touch with the affected people.

However, Nanjing city halted domestic and international flights on 30 July as it dealt with a number of Covid-19 cases at the airport, particularly involving cleaning crew members.

As of now, according to officials, almost 200 cases were reported. Meanwhile, Ding Jie, deputy director of the municipal centre for disease control and prevention, said that the coronavirus outbreak in Nanjing was caused by a flight from Russia.

Ding also said that the viral genome sequencing of 52 cases related to the outbreak revealed that the new cases were highly homogeneous, implying the same transmission chain.

Another significant node on the infection chain is believed to be Zhangjiajie, which is a popular tourist destination in Hunan province.

On July 22, four infected people who had visited the Nanjing Lukou international airport were found to be watching a cultural performance in Zhangjiajie with over 2,000 people. Meanwhile, Beijing recorded two positive cases of people returning from Zhangjiajie, which is also the location of James Cameron’s Hollywood blockbuster ‘Avatar’.

As per latest reports, on 30 July, in the city of Xiamen, four individuals tested positive for coronavirus in nucleic acid testing. A member of an international freight flight crew and his three family members are among those affected.

Considering the surge in cases, many Chinese cities have increased screening for close contacts and to identify people who have been to Nanjing or other places where confirmed cases have been discovered.

The authorities have also tightened prevention efforts.

The sudden and widespread Covid-19 outbreak that began in Nanjing has impacted the general public psychologically, with many people cancelling holiday plans.

The Delta variant, which is the epicentre of Covid-19 related concerns in China, has now reached 132 countries after being detected for the first time in India.

Michael Ryan, Executive Director, World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme, said: “Delta is a warning: it's a warning that the virus is evolving but it is also a call to action that we need to move now before more dangerous variants emerge.”

The WHO expert also emphasised that the "game plan," which includes physical separation, masks, hand cleanliness and immunisation, is still effective. Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, updated its mask-wearing recommendations on 27 July.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, the CDC's director said: "The delta variant is showing every day its willingness to outsmart us. When we examine the rare breakthrough infections and we look at the amount of virus in those people, it is pretty similar to the amount of virus in unvaccinated people."

Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.
Advertisement

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.