China’s mass testing uncovers most number of infections since January

BEIJING: China yesterday reported its highest daily number of local coronavirus cases in months as mass testing campaigns uncovered a trail of Delta variant infections, prompting authorities to heavily restrict travel to major cities.

Local governments have tested entire cities and locked down millions, with the official figures yesterday revealing 71 new infections - the most since January, but a low caseload despite the outbreak spreading to dozens of cities.

China had previously boasted of its success in crushing Covid-19, allowing the economy to rebound and normal life to return while swathes of the globe struggled to douse a pandemic that has killed more than four million people worldwide.

But the latest outbreak is threatening that record with nearly 500 domestic cases reported since the middle of last month.

China's immigration authority announced at a press conference yesterday it would stop issuing passports and other documents needed for exiting the country in "non- essential and non-emergency" cases. That does not yet mean an overseas travel ban for the public.

Foreign crew on hundreds of ships have been stopped from disembarking and changing shifts at Chinese ports.

The central government has also ordered localities to cut off public transport and taxis in and out of areas hit by the outbreak, the Transport Ministry said at the same press conference.

In Beijing, where the city government reported three new cases yesterday, authorities blocked entrances to a compound where one of the patients lived, while residents reached over fences to receive parcels from delivery drivers.

Meanwhile, Shanghai is investigating a Delta case detected in an airport worker this week. - AFP