China tests millions after coronavirus flare-ups in 3 cities

China tests millions of people, imposes lockdowns and shuts down schools after coronavirus flare-ups hit three cities across the nation

  • China has recorded a total of 14 active domestic COVID-19 cases since last week
  • Large-scale measures are being conducted in Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli
  • The latest two infections were found in Shanghai’s Pudong International airport
  • Footage purportedly shows hazmat-clad staff herding passengers for testing

Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple native coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country.

Large-scale measures are being enacted in the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli as Chinese officials have reported two new locally transmitted cases today, bringing the total to 14 since last week.

China appeared to have largely controlled the virus in recent months. But the new flareups have shown that there is still a risk of the contagion returning as temperatures drop.

Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple native coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country. Police and security officers are seen standing guard as masked airport workers wait for COVID-19 testings at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai on Monday

China has recorded 86,442 total cases and 4,634 deaths since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. Picture shows residents receiving coronavirus tests at a makeshift testing centre in Tianjin on November 21 after five cases were reported

China has recorded 86,442 total cases and 4,634 deaths since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.  

On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday.

The two latest cases confirmed in Shanghai were close contacts of another airport worker who was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in November. 

On Sunday night, the city’s Pudong International airport decided to test its workers, collecting 17,719 samples through the early hours of Monday morning. Plans call for testing others in surrounding communities if further cases are detected. 

In Tianjin, health workers have collected more than 2.2million samples for testing from residents in the Binhai new district, after five locally transmitted COVID-19 cases were discovered last week. Tianjin residents are pictured lining up to be tested on November 21

Videos on social media purportedly from workers showed what appeared to be chaotic scenes at the airport as they were given last-minute orders to get tested. 

In the videos, people are seen standing in large groups pushing back and forth against officials in hazmat suits. 

Shanghai has been more selective with mass testing, targeting people associated with a particular place, such as the airport or the hospital where a confirmed individual had worked, rather than an entire district.

In Tianjin, health workers have collected more than 2.2million samples for testing from residents in the Binhai new district, after five locally transmitted cases were discovered there last week.

In Manzhouli, a city of more than 200,000 people, local health authorities are testing all residents after two cases were reported on Saturday. They also shut down all schools and public venues and banned public gatherings such as banquets.

Shanghai has been more selective with mass testing, targeting people associated with a particular place, such as the airport or the hospital where a confirmed individual had worked, rather than an entire district. Airport workers wait to be tested for the virus in Shanghai today

Security workers in protective suit prepare for administering COVID-19 testings for workers at the parking lot of the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai on Monday

Many experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater during the cold weather. 

China has resorted to its heavy, top-down approach each time new cases of local transmission are found – shutting down schools and hospitals, locking down residential communities and entire neighbourhoods, and testing millions.

Tianjin authorities shut down a kindergarten and moved all the teachers, family and students to a centralised quarantine space. They also sealed the residential compound where the five cases were found.

China’s approach to controlling the pandemic has been criticised for being draconian. 

Tianjin authorities shut down a kindergarten and moved all the teachers, family and students to a centralised quarantine space. They also sealed the residential compound where the five cases were found. Residents receive coronavirus tests at a makeshift testing centre in Tianjin

This photo taken on November 22, 2020 shows health workers in protective suits waiting to conduct COVID-19 coronavirus tests on staff at Pudong Airport in Shanghai

It locked down the city of Wuhan, where cases were first reported, for more than two months to contain the virus, with the local government shutting down all traffic and confining residents to their homes. Domestically, however, China has called its strategy ‘clear to zero’ and has boasted of its success.

‘In the entire world, only China has the ability to get to zero. Other countries don´t have this ability,’ Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a webinar hosted by Chinese media in September. ‘It´s not just getting to zero, even for them to control the first wave of the epidemic is hard.’

”Clearing to zero’ is actually the most economically effective way to do epidemic prevention. If you don´t do that, then this problem will get more troublesome,’ he said. ‘Use a heavier hand, and get to zero, then people will feel reassured.’

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