Chinese National, Who Returned from Singapore, Likely Source of New Covid-19 Outbreak in Country

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A Chinese national has been identified as the probable source of the new outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic spreading widely in China’s Fujian province. According to state media, Lin Moujie, who returned from Singapore and completed 28-day-long quarantine period including three weeks at a centralised isolation point, had tested negative for nine nucleic acid and one serum tests during the four weeks.

Some Covid cases including asymptomatic ones have been found in Putian, Quanzhou and provincial capital, Xiamen in Fujian province.

Preliminary testing on samples from some cases in Putian city showed patients had contracted the highly transmissible delta variant, a local health official said on Saturday. The first few infections, found during routine testing, were elementary students in Xianyou county in Putian. Of these students, two are children of the first patient Lin. From there, experts suspected the source of the outbreak might be a student’s parent who had travelled to the county from nearby Xiamen city after arriving from Singapore, state media reported on Saturday.

Then it was found that Lin entered the Xiamen airport from Singapore on August 4. After being isolated for 14 days in Xiamen, he was shifted to the Xianyou county’s centralised isolation point on August 19 to continue with his remaining quarantine period.

“The official notification showed that during the 21-day quarantine period after entry, Lin Moujie conducted a total of nine nucleic acid tests and one serum test, and the results were all negative,” Hindustan Times quoted the state media report as saying.

Meanwhile, Xianyou, with a population of about 900,000, has sealed up some areas deemed of higher risk and started a testing drive. The county has also halted buses and taxi services, closed a long-distance bus station, and barred passengers from boarding or getting off from its train station, state media said.

Putian city has closed cinemas and gyms, sealed off some entries and exits to highways and told residents not to leave town as it battles a local Covid-19 outbreak. The virus situation in the city of Putian is “serious and complex” and it is very likely more new cases will emerge in communities, schools and factories, state broadcaster CCTV said on Monday.

Certain offline lessons in schools have also been suspended in Putian and China’s national health authority has sent a team of experts to the city, which has a population of 3.2 million.

Among a total of 20 highway entries and exits in the city, 12 have barred vehicles from entering or leaving.

A total of 43 local cases had been reported in Fujian between September 10 and September 12, including 35 in Putian, data from the National Health Commission (NHC) shows.

Another 32 asymptomatic cases, which China does not count as confirmed cases before they show clinical signs such as fever, have been detected in the province since September 10, all in Putian city.

Outside Putian since September 10, seven locally confirmed cases have been found in Quanzhou city and one in Xiamen, both in Fujian province.

As of September 12, mainland China, where coronavirus first emerged in late 2019, had recorded 95,248 confirmed cases, with a cumulative death toll of 4,636.

China’s last outbreak, which affected mainly Jiangsu, ended about two weeks ago, with no new local cases reported in the eastern province. That outbreak lasted a month.

(with inputs from Reuters)

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