Fighting commotion in Qingdao. A massive screening campaign began on Monday in the seaside resort of 9.5 million inhabitants, after the discovery the day before of 12 cases of Covid-19 (including 6 asymptomatic). Around 150,000 people had already been tested Monday morning to try to identify contact cases. Authorities announced that the entire city would be tested “within five days” while Beijing dispatched a team from the National Health Commission to oversee the operations.
The city of Shandong province, east of China, found three asymptomatic cases on Sunday linked to a hospital that treats Covid-19 patients arriving from abroad. Tests on patients and hospital staff then revealed nine other infections, six of which are asymptomatic.
The emergence of this new cluster interrupts a sequence of more than two months during which China officially did not report any new local transmission. Only a few new patients are identified every day, almost all of them Chinese who have returned from abroad and placed in quarantine upon their arrival. If the Asian giant has contained the epidemic thanks to strict containment measures , the wearing of generalized masks and tracing applications, the discovery of new cases in Qingdao testifies to the difficulty in completely eradicating the coronavirus.
4 million visitors
Known throughout the world for its “Tsingtao” beer , the city is also a famous seaside resort in China. Nearly 4.5 million travelers came to the city during the national holiday week in early October, which could complicate the tracing of contact cases. Already, several Chinese provinces have advised their inhabitants not to go to Qingdao. In Jilin (northern China), people who recently stayed in Qingdao must be able to test negative or undergo a 14-day quarantine.
This new cluster comes as life is returning to normal for the vast majority of Chinese citizens. More than 637 million trips were made to China during the eight-day golden week that just ended, 80% of the level of a year ago, reflecting the gradual recovery of residents’ confidence in the risks of further uncontrollable epidemic outbreaks.
The authorities in Qingdao are now sticking to the practices proven in Wuhan or, in June, in Beijing when a cluster appeared on the main wholesale market: mass testing to find contact cases, isolate and quarantine all those who test positive, regardless of symptoms.