New pandemic outbreak hits eastern China, travel restricted

A city in China’s southeastern province of Fujian has closed public venues, sealed off some entries and exits to highways and told residents not to leave town as it battles a local COVID-19 outbreak. The city of Putian has been virtually sealed off with residents advised not to leave after 20 new Covid-19 cases were reported on Sunday for the day before, health authorities have said. All reported 20 positive Covid-19 cases were from Xianyou county, the largest county in Putian.

The outbreak was triggered by the Delta variant of the coronavirus as preliminary analysis of the Covid strain reveals. The new cluster comes weeks after China contained the July wave of the Delta variant that had spread across the country, the worst since the Wuhan outbreak in 2020. The new cases have been linked to a Chinese national who returned from Singapore last month. At least six infections have been traced back to him. Hundreds of contacts including children in an elementary school have been isolated. Six people from two families were first to test positive on Friday, including three children aged between 10 and 12 years. The confirmed cases were found in the villages in Xianyou, have been sealed, a state media report said. The county’s Fengting town has been designated as a Covid-19 high-risk area after new local infections were reported, news agency Xinhua reported. The Covid-19 response headquarters of Xianyou has advised residents to work from home and wear masks on public transportation, and has banned large gatherings. The national health commission (NHC) has deployed a work team to Fujian to guide local epidemic control.