Authorities concerned as outlook for epidemic still 'grim' across country
Concrete and effective measures are being introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19 on the mainland during the summer holidays, as the government tries to come to grips with multiple outbreaks and maintain its dynamic COVID-zero strategy.
The mainland reported 65 locally transmitted confirmed cases on Saturday, with authorities indicating that the epidemic is still grim and complex.
In Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, health officials have urged locals not to visit high and medium-risk areas and regions that have reported COVID-19 cases within seven days during the summer holidays.
"Parents and their children should understand local epidemic situations and epidemic prevention policies before they start traveling to other cities and regions," Chen Bin, the city health commission's deputy director and spokeswoman, said at a news conference on Sunday.
"Also, those who return to Guangzhou are required to show a negative nucleic acid test and report their travel history to health departments and neighborhood committees," she said.
The official made the remarks after the southern metropolis reported three new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections in the 24 hours leading up to 8 am on Sunday.
The new cases have pushed the city's total number of infections to nine since Friday.
According to a statement released by the Guangdong Provincial Health Commission on Sunday, the province, known as the southern gateway of the motherland, reported 17 confirmed cases, plus eight asymptomatic ones on Saturday.
At a previous news conference held on Saturday, Chen said based on an epidemiological investigation and gene sequencing, medical experts believe the city's infections belonged to the same transmission chain that was imported by two couples who returned to Guangzhou on July 5 after taking a road trip outside the city.
The couples were four of the five confirmed cases detected in Guangzhou on Saturday, she said.
Zhang Zhoubin, Party secretary of the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said gene sequencing indicated the recent cases were infected with the Omicron BA.2.3 subvariant that is not homologous with previous cases detected in Guangdong.
Shanghai reported the first local case of the Omicron subvariant known as BA.5, an infection related to previous imported cases, on Sunday.
Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission, said that a COVID-19 infection registered in Pudong district on Friday was found to be BA.5.2.1.
In light of a recent outbreak related to a karaoke bar in Xuhui district, which has led to more than 200 related infections since July 3, the city will implement massive nucleic acid testing in at least nine districts, including downtown Huangpu, Jing'an and Xuhui, twice from Tuesday to Thursday to stop potential virus spread, Zhao said.
In Anhui province, the Sixian county government issued a letter asking residents to continue to adhere to static management measures on Sunday after the county reported 10 confirmed cases and 71 asymptomatic carriers on Saturday.
Sixian has been Anhui's epicenter for its outbreak since June 26, local authorities said.
In Hainan province, its capital launched weeklong temporary control measures at indoor venues for public gatherings and entertainment on Saturday.
Travelers now need to have their body temperatures checked and present their health codes, travel records and negative nucleic acid test results from within 48 hours of their trips before they can leave the island, said local officials.
The island province reported four local infections on Saturday.
Elsewhere, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and the provinces of Shandong, Gansu, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Zhejiang and Fujian all reported confirmed cases on Saturday.
Zhou Wenting in Shanghai contributed to this story.