Chart of the Day: The latest COVID-19 outbreak in SE China
Updated 23:35, 14-Sep-2021
By Gao Yun, Pan Zhaoyi
COVID-19 nucleic acid testing in Xianyou County, Putian City, southeast China's Fujian Province, September 13, 2021. /CFP

COVID-19 nucleic acid testing in Xianyou County, Putian City, southeast China's Fujian Province, September 13, 2021. /CFP

The new infections of the latest COVID-19 outbreak in southeast China's Fujian Province have more than doubled, local health authorities said on Tuesday. A total of 120 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 19 asymptomatic cases have been reported since September 10.

Among the confirmed cases, 75 were reported in Putian City, 12 in Quanzhou City and 33 in Xiamen City. All of the reported cases are in Fujian Province.

The COVID-19 outbreak situation in Putian City is severe, but multiple measures have been implemented to bring it under control, said Wu Haiduan, head of Putian's Xianyou County and director of the local epidemic control center, in an interview with China Media Group on Monday.

The outbreak features speedy transmission and infection among vulnerable groups of children and the elderly, Wu explained.

"The oldest that got infected is 84 years old, and the youngest is 5 years old," he added.

How did the virus spread?

Fujian's outbreak began in Putian, a city of 3.2 million, with the first case reported on September 10. Preliminary tests on samples from some Putian cases showed patients had contracted the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The outbreak has since spread south to Xiamen, which reported 35 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and one asymptomatic carrier in the latest resurgence as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, according to the city's COVID-19 prevention and control headquarters.

According to Wu, three transmission chains being closely monitored concern a patient surnamed Lin, who came back from Singapore and is suspected to be the source of the cluster. One is Lin's family; the other is the factory where his wife works, and the third is the primary school his son attends.

To contain the spread of the virus

On Saturday, Putian announced the suspension of inter-city and inter-province bus services until further notice.

Citywide nucleic acid testing was set to start in Putian on Tuesday afternoon. 

The local government also imposed a citywide lockdown on some of the high-risk areas. Kindergartens, primary schools and high schools were required to cut offline classes. Public venues such as cinemas, gyms and bars have also closed. Residents are suggested not to leave the city for non-essential reasons.

The authorities have also provided psychological counseling for parents who need quarantine and given children extracurricular reading and drawing materials to create a relaxing environment. Living materials for local people are also prepared and guaranteed, the governor said. 

Xiamen has also started citywide nucleic acid testing due to the latest COVID-19 resurgence in the city. An area in the city's Tongan District has been classified as high risk after a cluster of COVID-19 infections was reported in a factory there. Xiamen residents have been advised not to leave the city unless necessary, and those who want to leave must present a green health code and a negative nucleic acid test result within 48 hours before departure.

(With input from Xinhua)

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