A city in southern China that is trying to contain a COVID-19 outbreak told the public on Sunday not to leave, suspended bus and train services, and closed cinemas, bars and other facilities.
Anyone needing to leave Putian, a city of 2.9 million people in China’s Fujian Province, for an essential trip must have proof of a negative coronavirus test within the past 48 hours, the city government said.
China declared the virus under control early last year, but has suffered outbreaks of the more contagious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. Authorities say that most cases have been traced to travelers arriving from Russia, Myanmar and other countries.
In Putian, 19 new infections that were believed to have been acquired locally were reported in the 24 hours through midnight Saturday, the National Health Commission said. One was reported in Quanzhou, also in Fujian.
The first cases in Putian were students from Xianyou County, but experts suspect the outbreak might have originated with the father of one student who returned from Singapore on Aug. 4, the Global Times newspaper said.
The traveler underwent a 14-day quarantine and nine nucleic acid and serologic tests, all of which were negative, the newspaper said, citing local authorities, adding that he tested positive on Friday.
Residents of villages in Xianyou, where infections were found, were barred from leaving, the newspaper said, adding that bus and train service to Putian was suspended Saturday.
Cinemas, card rooms, gyms, tourist sites and other facilities in Putian were ordered closed, the city government said. Restaurants and supermarkets were told to “strictly control” customer numbers and to check for fevers. Schools were ordered to require students to wear masks in class.
Experts were sent to Putian to oversee disease-control work, the Health Commission said on Saturday.
China has reported more than 4,600 COVID-19 deaths out of 95,199 confirmed cases.
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