Shanghai airport worker gets virus; 8,000 tested

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in China’s financial hub of Shanghai quarantined 186 people and conducted coronavirus tests on over 8,000 after a freight handler at the city’s main international airport tested positive for the virus.

No additional cases have been found, the city government said on its microblog yesterday. It remains unclear how the 51-year-old man contracted the virus, which largely spared the sprawling metropolis despite its dense population and strong international links.

In the northern port city of Tianjin, over 77,000 people have been tested after a locally transmitted case was reported there on Monday. That case was believed to be linked to a cold storage warehouse, reinforcing suspicions that the virus may be spreading to victims from frozen food packaging.

The National Health Administration yesterday reported 21 additional cases brought from overseas, while 426 people remain in treatment for COVID-19, which was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

China reported 4,634 deaths among 86,267 cases of the virus, while 788 people are currently being held in isolation for being suspected case or for testing positive without showing symptoms.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s top government think tank is maintaining a grim outlook for the country’s economy this year despite an improvement in exports and said the shock unleashed by the pandemic will continue to be felt in 2021.

The Korea Development Institute said yesterday it projected the country’s economy to shrink 1.1 per cent this year after the spread of the virus destroyed service industry jobs and cut down consumer spending. The economy would be even worse if not for robust global shipments of computer memory chips, the country’s most important export item. The industry has seen increased demand driven by personal computers and servers as the pandemic forces millions to work at home.

While South Korea has not seen an explosive second wave of the virus, there is still concern over a steady rise in transmissions that experts said could get worse in the winter.

Travellers walk along a concourse at the Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. PHOTO: AP