A fresh outbreak of Covid-19 in China has spread to more locations, raising concerns over the country’s vulnerability to the highly contagious Delta variant. More than 300 cases have been reported in the last few days.
The outbreak has dominated the news, and the country’s top respiratory experts have expressed grave concern. On their recommendations the Chinese government has imposed fresh travel restrictions and is testing millions. At least a dozen locations are now dealing with fresh infections, which authorities have attributed to the Delta variant.
It’s unclear how many people in China are fully vaccinated, although authorities claim that more than 1.6billion doses have been administered so far. However, although case numbers are considerably lower than other places, it is considered the largest outbreak in months in China, a country that was largely successful in controlling the virus within its borders last year.
The latest outbreak first emerged in July in Nanjing airport in China’s eastern Jiangsu province, among workers who had cleaned a plane that had arrived from Russia. Authorities promptly tested the 9.2million residents of Nanjing and imposed lockdown on hundreds of thousands of people.
But over the weekend the spotlight turned to the popular tourist destination Zhangjiajie in central Hunan province, where many of the latest cases have emerged. The new outbreak has reached Beijing too, with the city reporting several locally transmitted infections.
China’s Global Times newspaper has called the outbreak “the most serious since Wuhan”, and in a separate editorial criticised “glaring loopholes in Covid prevention measures.” It said:
“It is absolutely worrying if a single flaw can affect many provinces and regions across the country. It shows that our systematic progress in fighting the epidemic needs to be strengthened.”