China to test nine million after fresh outbreak

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese health authorities will test nine million people in the eastern city of Qingdao for the coronavirus this week after nine cases linked to a hospital were found, the government announced yesterday.

The announcement broke a two-month streak with no virus transmissions within China reported, though China has a practice of not reporting asymptomatic cases. The ruling Communist Party lifted most curbs on travel and business but still monitors travellers and visitors to public buildings for signs of infection.

Authorities were investigating the source of the infections found in eight patients at Qingdao’s Municipal Chest Hospital and one family member, the National Health Commission (NHC) said.

Authorities were investigating the source of the infections found in eight patients at Qingdao’s Municipal Chest Hospital and one family member, the National Health Commission (NHC) said.

“The whole city will be tested within five days,” the NHC said on its social media account.

China, where the pandemic began in December, has reported 4,634 deaths and 85,578 cases, plus nine suspected cases that have yet to be confirmed.

The last reported virus transmissions within China were four patients found on August 15 in the northwestern city of Urumqi in the Xinjiang region. Cases reported since then were in travellers from outside the mainland.

The ruling party lifted measures in April that cut off most access to cities with some 60 million people including Wuhan in central China.

Qingdao is a busy port and headquarters for companies including Haier, a major appliance maker. The government gave no indication whether the latest cases had contact with travel or trade. Travellers arriving from abroad in China still are required to under a 14-day quarantine.