China faces ‘worst outbreak since Wuhan’ as Delta variant spreads in Nanjing

At least 184 cases have been reported from Nanjing, where the outbreak was first detected

Stuti Mishra
Friday 30 July 2021 14:00
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<p>File: An elderly man receives a nucleic acid test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Nanjing in eastern Jiangsu province</p>

File: An elderly man receives a nucleic acid test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Nanjing in eastern Jiangsu province

China is facing its worst coronavirus outbreak after the one in Wuhan last year, as cases linked to the deadly Delta variant have spread to five of the country’s provinces, including Beijing, after first being discovered in Nanjing city.

The country’s Jiangsu province, where Nanjing is located, has been under strict lockdown, while stay-at-home orders have been issued for residents of Changping district located in the suburbs of northwest Beijing.

The outbreak in the city was first spotted at the busy Nanjing Lukou International airport on 20 July. The earliest cases from the outbreak first emerged from workers at the airport who were cleaning an aeroplane that had arrived from Russia, according to Ding Jie, deputy director of the city’s centre for disease control and prevention.

“After their work was complete, due to cleaning and protective measures not meeting standards, it’s possible some staffers got infected, causing the virus to spread among cleaning staff,” Mr Ding said.

China’s state-run news agency Xinhua news reported that the workers did not follow strict hygiene measures.

Gene sequencing results of 52 cases linked to the outbreak showed all of them were infected by the Delta variant, Mr Ding said at a news briefing on Friday.

All flights from Nanjing airport have been suspended until 11 August.

On Thursday, the city reported 13 new domestically transmitted Covid cases, bringing the total to 184 since July 20.

Authorities have ramped up efforts to test more people and spot any new clusters. Several strict restrictions have been put in place as well, including banning large gatherings and launching city-wide testing.

The all-inclusive nucleic acid testing campaign for Nanjing aims to test all 9.3 million of the city’s inhabitants, including those visiting, according to Xinhua.

China reported 64 new cases in the mainland on Thursday and 49 cases a day before, reported news agency Reuters.

As of July 29, mainland China had a total of 92,875 confirmed COVID-19 cases, it said. China’s death toll from the coronavirus remained unchanged at 4,636.

The World Health Organisation has warned against the highly transmissible Delta variant, first detected in India, and said that it can be responsible for several more outbreaks across the world.

Additional reporting by agencies

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