Southern Chinese cities conduct large-scale COVID-19 testing after new case reported

More than 120,000 samples of nucleic acid tests had been collected in the cities of Shanwei and Shenzhen in Guangdong Province after a new confirmed case emerged last week.

More than 120,000 samples of nucleic acid tests of COVID-19 had been collected by Sunday morning in the cities of Shanwei and Shenzhen in south China’s Guangdong Province after a new confirmed case emerged earlier this week, local authorities said.

A 41-year-old woman who worked as a yoghurt salesperson at Alibaba-owned supermarket chain Freshippo in Shenzhen had returned to her hometown of Lufeng City, which is under the administration of Shanwei, and tested positive for the virus on August 14.

The Guangdong government has begun testing at 36 Freshippo stores across the province and 12 related warehouses and processing firms.

A total of 37,669 samples were collected in Shanwei, 34,284 of which had been tested. Three close contacts have been found to be asymptomatic cases, all of whom were family members of the confirmed case, said Duan Yufei, chief of the provincial health commission.

In Shenzhen, 83,413 samples were collected, with test results from 58,459 samples obtained. Two staff members who worked at the same Freshippo store as the confirmed case in the IBC mall in Luohu District have been found to be asymptomatic cases.

Shanwei currently can offer 26,000 nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 every day, while daily nucleic acid testing capacity in Shenzhen has topped 103,000, according to Duan.

Asymptomatic cases test positive for the virus, but are not classified as confirmed cases in China until they show clinical symptoms of infection, such as a fever or a cough.

So far, no new confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the two cities.

Freshippo said on Saturday it has shut 21 of its Shenzhen stores and was requiring all its employees in the city to undergo tests for the novel coronavirus.

“All Freshippo employees in Shenzhen, as well as fresh food products at the stores, will undergo nucleic acid testing. All test results will be formally announced by the government,” the company said in a statement.

It also said it would begin offering free nucleic acid tests to anyone who had visited the supermarket from July 24.

The IBC Mall was sealed off and under police supervision on Friday evening, with around 200 people queuing outside waiting for COVID-19 tests from medical personnel in protective suits.

Meanwhile, the city of Dalian in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, has been classified as a COVID-19 low-risk area as the city reported no new locally transmitted confirmed cases for the last 10 days, authorities said.

By Saturday, the city had also seen no new confirmed cases in communities for 14 consecutive days, said Zhao Lian, deputy director of the municipal health commission.

The Dalianwan area, previously classified as a high-risk zone since a 58-year-old man working with a local seafood company tested positive for COVID-19 last month, and four other areas formerly classified as medium-risk have all been categorized as low-risk areas by Saturday.

Yi Qingtao, secretary-general of the Dalian government, said medics had conducted a total of 7.33 million nucleic acid tests on local residents since the resurgence of COVID-19 weeks ago.

The city will promote the work resumption of industrial enterprises in an orderly manner and help the service sector to resume business, according to the municipal bureau of industry and information technology.

The number of locally transmitted cases on the Chinese mainland dropped to four on Saturday, all of which were in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the National Health Commission said in a statement. That compares with eight cases nationwide a day earlier and is the lowest since July 16. The total number of new confirmed infections stood at 19 on Saturday.

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