A testing blitz in China’s western Xinjiang region uncovered the country’s worst COVID-19 outbreak since the summer, even as authorities said all infections have been found.
Authorities in the region — the epicenter of Beijing’s crackdown on Muslim Uighurs — reported six new asymptomatic infections yesterday.
Xinjiang’s tally since the outbreak began Oct. 24 with the detection of an asymptomatic 17-year-old on stood at 57 infections and 223 asymptomatic cases, the regional health commission said.
Nine people are in “severe condition,” authorities said.
There were 61 asymptomatic infections reported on Saturday.
The new cases emerged after China tested millions of people across the region last week.
Some of the asymptomatic infections were found in a county near the outbreak’s original epicenter in Kashgar Prefecture, raising fears that the virus is spreading.
The outbreak is China’s worst since a surge in Beijing in June and July saw more than 330 cases in less than a month.
While Xinjiang’s outbreak is so far smaller than the one that hit the Chinese capital, the detection of dozens of asymptomatic cases underscores the difficulty of stamping out the virus even with some of the world’s most aggressive testing and contact-tracing measures.
Meanwhile, China is doubling down on safeguards to ensure that people traveling from abroad do not harbor the novel coronavirus.
Statements posted on the Web sites of Chinese embassies in countries including the US, UK, France, Italy and New Zealand over the weekend ask for negative antibody test results in addition to negative results from nucleic acid tests within 48 hours of boarding flights.
The requirement for double negative results would be effective on Saturday, the statements said.
While nucleic acid tests can detect the virus on a sample taken from a person’s respiratory track, there is a chance the result could produce a false negative.
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