Coronavirus: Kashgar confirms 22 new cases but says outbreak now under control

Guo Rui
·2-min read

Authorities in the west China city of Kashgar on Wednesday confirmed 22 new Covid-19 infections but said the spread of the disease was now under control.

Wang Xijiang, deputy director of the regional centre for disease control and prevention, said 183 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday, but of those 161 were classed as asymptomatic.

The city recently completed the testing of 4.7 million residents after scores of coronavirus patients were identified on Saturday in a village in Shufu county, about 24km (15 miles) outside the city centre.

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“After three days of non-stop effort, we completed the nucleic acid testing for all residents at 5pm on Tuesday,” Wang told a press conference.

“Besides the 183 who tested positive, all the others were negative. So we can now basically rule out the possibility of any further spread of the disease,” he said.

The swift implementation of a mass testing programme had been crucial in identifying the infected patients, even though most of them did not show any symptoms, he said.

Wang did not say how many close contacts of the 183 positive cases had been identified through the government’s track and trace programme but said epidemiologists were trying to identify the source of the virus and determine its transmission path.

Authorities in Kashgar tested 4.7 million people for Covid-19 in just three days. Photo: Xinhua
Authorities in Kashgar tested 4.7 million people for Covid-19 in just three days. Photo: Xinhua

Experts from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing had been helping with the treatment of patients, Gu Yingsu, deputy head of Xinjiang Health Commission, said.

Kashgar is the largest city in southern Xinjiang and close to China’s borders with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The first confirmed case in the latest outbreak was a 17-year-old girl from Shufu. Her parents work at a factory in the Zhanmin township that was linked to 164 infections.

The discovery of the cluster follows similar incidents in Beijing, the eastern city of Qingdao and Xinjiang’s Urumqi.

“Because Xinjiang has borders with a number of countries, frequent testing was conducted following the earlier outbreaks in Urumqi and this helped in detecting the first patient [in Kashgar] at a relatively early stage of infection,” Professor Lu Hongzhou from the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre was quoted as saying by state media.

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