Coronavirus: Xinjiang city must brave ‘wartime conditions’ to stop Covid-19

Echo Xie
·2-min read

A city in China’s far western region of Xinjiang has declared “wartime conditions” after a fresh Covid-19 outbreak was reported last month.

Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan said counties in Xinjiang should keep up with “wartime conditions” and take resolute measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“The cluster cases in Kashgar were discovered early with a timely emergency response mechanism and decisive measures, so the epidemic is manageable,” Sun said, adding that the situation was still grim as most of the infected cases were discovered in village factories with confined spaces.

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During her visit to Kashgar and neighbouring Kizilsu Kyrgyz autonomous prefecture on Thursday, Sun also underscored the need to strengthen the work of epidemiological investigations and strict quarantine measures.

As of Thursday, Xinjiang had reported 78 confirmed cases and 339 asymptomatic carriers since the first case was detected in a clothing factory in Shufu county on the outskirts of Kashgar on October 24.

Kashgar, which is home to 700,000 people, started a fourth round of Covid-19 tests on Wednesday after the latest outbreak was reported last month.

The neighbouring Kizilsu Kyrgyz autonomous prefecture also carried out two rounds of mass testing in October and detected 15 cases in Aktau county. Aktau began testing its 220,000 residents on Tuesday for the fourth time.

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Kashgar officials on Thursday that the city was in a “wartime” situation and it had taken strict quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Wang Xijiang, deputy director of the Kashgar Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, called on communities to disinfect the homes of people under quarantine and improve hygiene and sanitary conditions in shared spaces.

He also asked that residents monitor their body temperatures every day and report their health conditions to communities or villages.

To safeguard essential water supplies, 723 personnel are on duty at some 12 water supply plants in Shufu county and access to the facilities has been restricted, according to an official. He said staff checked their body temperature three times a day and workplaces were disinfected every day.

Meanwhile, Xinjiang officials have ruled out the link between the new clusters in Kashgar and cases in Urumqi in July.

Cui Yan, director of the Kashgar CDC, said the initial results of the genetic sequence showed no connection between the two outbreaks.

The latest outbreak in Kashgar could be traced to a clothing factory in a village in Shufu county, he said, but it remained unclear how the virus had spread there.

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