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China’s COVID-19 outbreak grows rapidly (official)

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China’s COVID-19 outbreak grows rapidly (official)

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SHANGHAI – The latest COVID-19 outbreak in China is growing rapidly, a health official said, as authorities demanded great vigilance at ports of entry amid growing infections in a northeastern border town caused by the virus from abroad.

Some 377 locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms were reported from October 17 to 29, according to data from the National Health Commission (NHC). China has faced a series of outbreaks this year as it largely contained a national spread in early 2020.

The numbers remain tiny compared to clusters outside the country. However, as the rest of the world seeks out how to coexist with COVID-19, China has maintained its zero tolerance, urging vigilance around border areas and ports to prevent infected inbound travelers from spreading the virus to residents.

“In the past 14 days, 14 provincial regions have reported new locally transmitted cases or asymptomatic carriers,” NHC spokesman Mi Feng said on Saturday.

“The epidemic is still developing rapidly and the situation in controlling the virus is serious and complicated.”

Heihe, a small northeastern town of 1.3 million people on the Chinese side of the Amur River on the border with Russia, reported 26 local cases on October 29, a large increase from nine on October 28. and only one on October 27. .

“The epidemic has exposed the laxity of some local authorities,” said Wu Liangyou, another NHC official.

China, especially ports of entry, should step up screening for people at high risk of infection and improve surveillance for potential outbreaks, as the virus is still spreading to neighboring countries, Wu said at a briefing. Press.

Investigations and virus sequencing results showed that the Heihe cluster was not linked to an ongoing epidemic mainly hitting northwest China, indicating that there was a new source of the virus imported from the foreigner, Wu said.

Many local infections found in northern and northwestern China since Oct. 17 could be traced to a source of the virus imported from overseas, the NHC said last week.

China’s border cities, many of which have relatively few resources, have tended to experience more severe disruptions than wealthier cities amid epidemics.

The small southwestern town of Ruili on the Myanmar border has seen its once strong jewelry business, a mainstay of its modest economy, held back by some of the toughest virus measures in China due to repeated epidemics.

In major cities, authorities have promised strict virus restrictions for major international events to minimize the risk of imported virus.

To safely host the Winter Olympics in February, Chinese athletes and staff supporting the event should be given a vaccine booster, while booster shots are recommended for foreign athletes but not required, according to a report from the state television.

China aims to complete immunizations for children aged three to 11 by the end of December, excluding those suffering from health conditions that could make a COVID-19 shot dangerous, Wu said.

It has already fully vaccinated around 75.8% of its 1.4 billion people and is giving eligible adults a booster.

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