Chengdu is on high alert after a cluster of locally transmitted COVID-19 infections were discovered there this week. The capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province is scrambling to restrict movement in and out of the outbreak area and test all people who may have come into contact with the newly diagnosed patients.
A total of seven confirmed cases were recorded this week, prompting mass testing, local lockdowns and restrictions on entertainment venues. The first two cases, confirmed Monday, were a 69-year-old woman and her 71-year-old husband, both of whom live in Taiping, a village in Chengdu’s Pidu district. The five other newly confirmed cases are all said to have been in close contact with the couple.
The source of the virus is still under investigation, but the market the 69-year-old woman visited on Sunday and the hospital she was diagnosed at have both been shuttered. Local officials have been advised to implement “war time” procedures, while Taiping has been reclassified as a medium risk area. Residents are no longer allowed to leave without a negative COVID test result.
Five areas of the city has been disinfected, residents are being offered free tests, and students and teachers in Taiping’s schools are kindergartens are being asked to get tested and quarantine as a precaution. Entertainment venues have also been ordered to ensure they do not exceed 75 percent capacity.
Sichuan officials have already started vaccinating the most vulnerable residents, with a total of two million people slated to receive the Chinese vaccine by the year’s end. The province hopes to vaccinate the rest of the population of 81 million by Chinese New Year in the middle of February.
Shanghai, meanwhile, is out of the danger zone after a small cluster of local infections were discovered at Pudong Airport last month. In a press conference on Monday, the east coast city’s Epidemic Prevention and Control department reported that there had been no locally confirmed cases for 14 consecutive days. As a result, both the Pudong New Area and Shanghai as a whole have been reclassified as low risk.
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Keywords: Chengdu COVID restrictions
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