Wuhan back in spotlight as China's Delta variant challenge grows

The Nation  |  Aug 03, 2021

China on Tuesday announced that it would start mass testing in the city of Wuhan, the ground-zero of the novel coronavirus pandemic that emerged in late 2019, after new cases were detected in the city, according to local media.

The local administration in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, said it would conduct city-wide COVID-19 testing while it "upgraded its epidemic response measures in the face of the recent coronavirus infections, locking down the area where local COVID-19 infections have been reported while upgrading its risk levels," the Global Times daily reported.

All schools have been closed.

Amid a fresh outbreak of the pandemic in the country, China's National Health Commission said in a statement that of 98 new cases reported on Monday, 55 were locally transmitted, including 40 that were detected in Jiangsu province, two in the capital Beijing, and two in the central Hubei province. Wuhan is the capital of Hubei.

The Global Times report said Wuhan reported seven local COVID-19 cases on Monday -- the first cases since June 2020. It was here that the first anti-coronavirus lockdown in the world was imposed, extending for 75 days since mid-January last year

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Chinese authorities are alarmed over the pace of the latest outbreak first reported on July 20 in Nanjing, the capital of the eastern Jiangsu province, where some airport cleaners had tested positive during routine testing.

The latest outbreak has been mainly attributed to a flight from Russia that landed in Nanjing last month.

The country of 1.4 billion witnessed a spike in local infections, reporting last month 328 cases, which is equal to its five-month total, according to the state-run Xinhua News.

Most of the fresh infections are by the more transmissible Delta variant, first reported in India.

Cases have spread to at least 10 provinces where local authorities have taken various measures, including lockdowns in specific areas, while also halting inter-provincial traffic.

The National Health Commission said China reported 93,103 cases, including 4,636 deaths since the first cases were reported in Wuhan. However, China is leading the world in vaccinations with more than 1.67 billion doses administered in the country.

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