China reports 101 virus cases in a single day

China had largely brought domestic transmission under control. But sporadic regional outbreaks have illustrated the difficulty of keeping the virus at bay.

China reported 101 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Tuesday, the highest in over three and a half months, the health commission said on Wednesday.

China had largely brought domestic transmission under control through targeted lockdowns, travel restrictions and testing. But sporadic regional outbreaks have illustrated the difficulty of keeping the virus at bay.

The last time it recorded so many new cases was April 13, when 108 infections were confirmed — mostly imported.

Of Tuesday’s new cases, 98 were domestic infections, mostly in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, where a growing cluster first discovered earlier this month has prompted mass testing and restrictions.

The 89 newly confirmed cases in Xinjiang were all in the regional capital Urumqi, 43 of whom were previously asymptomatic cases, according to the regional health commission.

The region also saw 15 new asymptomatic cases in Urumqi on Tuesday.

Authorities have also concentrated their attention on another cluster which emerged last week at a food processing plant in Dalian City, in the northeastern province of Liaoning. Officials said workers there handled contaminated packaging of imported seafood.

Liaoning reported eight new confirmed domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, all in Dalian and were previously asymptomatic cases. The city also saw four new asymptomatic cases.

Fifty-two cases have been confirmed in the major port city in the past week, of which 30 involved employees at the factory.

More than 3 million people have been tested in Dalian and Zhao Lian, head of the city’s health commission, said on Wednesday that enclosed public venues, including libraries, gyms, bars, museums and spas, would be closed.

Following a June outbreak in Beijing which infected more than 300 people, Dalian authorities are using a similar targeted approach to implement virus control measures on different districts of the city based on their risk levels.

During an inspection tour to the city this week, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan demanded full screening of local residents in a quick manner, strengthened quarantine inspections on imported goods, and strict management of people leaving Dalian, including nucleic acid testing and tracking of their whereabouts. “The task of prevention and control is still arduous, and there should be no slacking,” Sun said.

She also urged efforts to step up epidemiological investigation and find out how the virus was transmitted in the region.

Meanwhile, over 13,200 people have been sampled for nucleic acid tests in an outlying district in Beijing after two new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases were reported there, a local official said.

One case was related to confirmed cases in Dalian, and the other is one of the patient’s family members. They both live in a densely populated community in Changping District, said Wu Bin, deputy chief of the district.

As of Wednesday noon, a total of 606 residents at the same building had been tested for nucleic acid and all were negative, while 12,649 nearby residents had also been sampled with no positive cases reported so far, Wu said.

Wu added that relevant departments have acted quickly to launch epidemiological investigations.

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