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China omicron: Returning traveler tests positive after completing two-week quarantine | News Today

China omicron: Returning traveler tests positive after completing two-week quarantine

| Local News | Yahoo news

The case, reported on Tuesday in the southern city of Guangzhou, came a day after health officials in the northern port city of Tianjin said they detected the first Omicron infection in mainland China – also in a traveler from abroad.

Tianjin’s case was identified as an asymptomatic carrier upon arrival. The individual was already in quarantine while genome sequencing confirmed he had the Omicron variant – suggesting the variant had not been directly exposed to local residents.

The second case, a 67-year-old man, entered China on November 27 in Shanghai and underwent two weeks of central quarantine, during which he tested negative several times. The man then flew from Shanghai to Guangzhou on AirChina flight CA1837. AirChina staff confirmed to CNN that the flight was nearly full, with all economy seats occupied and only six business class seats remaining.

The man then entered quarantine at home. He was tested again on December 12 – 15 days after arriving in China, with a positive result in the early hours of December 13. Subsequent sequencing of the genome examined by the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that it was the Omicron Variant, authorities said.

Unlike Tianjin’s case, the man was diagnosed as a confirmed case, which means he is showing symptoms. He is now being treated in isolation in hospital, officials said. Following his diagnosis, 10,544 people linked to the man have been tested for the virus – so far all results have come back negative.

Chinese authorities have not disclosed when, where or how the man caught the virus. On average, it takes between 5 and 6 days from the time a person is infected with the virus for symptoms to appear, but it can take up to 14 days, according to the World Health Organization.

Much remains unknown about the fast-spreading Omicron variant, including its incubation period. The variant carries an unusually high number of mutations that scientists believe could make it more transmissible and less sensitive to existing vaccines.

Last month, omicron was identified in two returning travelers in separate rooms on the same floor of a designated quarantine hotel in Hong Kong, leading scientists to believe it could have passed through the air in the hallway.

Jin Dongyan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, told CNN “there are several possibilities” as to how the man in Guangzhou contracted the virus, including that he was infected in China. .

“There have been many cases of infections contracted in quarantine hotels,” Jin said. He added that the virus could have a 14-day incubation period, but said it was “unusual”.

“It is also likely that the Covid test was not sensitive enough to detect the virus,” he said.

“It is very important to know whether the case in Shanghai was infected outside of China or in a local quarantine hotel. It is more important to trace the source of the infection,” said Jin.

Chinese public health experts and state media have previously expressed confidence in the country’s ability to fight the new variant, citing China’s strict border control measures and its ability to quickly identify and isolate the infected cases and their close contacts.

In China, all overseas arrivals must undergo a Covid test before leaving the airport, followed by at least two weeks of centralized quarantine. This is often followed by another long period of home isolation. Throughout the process, international arrivals are prevented from coming into contact with the wider community until they have completed the required quarantine process.

But China’s ambitious zero-tolerance strategy – consisting of mass testing, instant lockdowns and extensive quarantines – also comes with significant economic costs, as well as disruption to daily life.

Beijing is due to host the Winter Olympics in February. As the event approaches, authorities are resorting to increasingly stringent measures to curb local epidemics, which have continued to escalate with increasing frequency. The country has now reported locally transmitted cases every day for the past eight weeks.

China wants to return to

Eastern Zhejiang Province, home to the country’s main manufacturing and export centers, on Tuesday reported 44 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the past week to more than 200.

Authorities in areas affected by the virus quickly quarantined tens of thousands of residents, suspended businesses, events and tourist groups, and canceled flights, ferries and bus services.

Travel restrictions in medium and high risk areas will be in place until March 15 next year – well after the end of the Winter Olympics and around the time when the country’s annual legislative meetings come together. will end in Beijing.

Keeping infections away from the Chinese capital is a top priority for the government as the city prepares for the Games. All flights from Ningbo City, a major industrial hub, to Beijing have been canceled, while only one daily flight from Hangzhou, the provincial capital, to Beijing is allowed.

In other parts of the country infections are also being reported. In the north, Inner Mongolia has reported 5 symptomatic cases and 4 asymptomatic infections, while Heilongjiang and Shaanxi provinces have each reported one confirmed case, according to the National Health Commission.

In southern Guangdong Province, two people from the Dongguan Manufacturing Center tested positive on Monday, prompting a local lockdown.

CNN’s Cheryl Ho contributed reporting.

Local News News Today China omicron: Returning traveler tests positive after completing two-week quarantine

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