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Putian reports 32 COVID-19 cases; Delta variant likely

By ZOU SHUO in Beijing and HU MEIDONG in Fuzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-13

The city of Putian, Fujian province, had reported 32 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases and 32 local asymptomatic carriers, as of 4 pm Sunday, according to local authorities.

All of the infections were situated in Xianyou county, the city government said at a COVID-19 prevention and control conference on Sunday.

The town of Fengting, in Xianyou, has been classified as a COVID-19 high-risk area, and three villages in nearby townships have been classified as medium-risk areas, said Hu Guofang, deputy mayor of Putian.

The first two cases in the outbreak involved two students at a primary school in Xianyou on Friday, found during random testing, which is regularly conducted. The two brothers, and later their parents, tested positive.

Since the virus reemerged on Friday, local authorities have conducted extensive nucleic acid testing. All patients with confirmed cases and asymptomatic carriers are in stable condition, Hu said.

According to Fujian's Quanzhou health commission, one locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 case and one asymptomatic carrier were reported in the city on Saturday. The cases were related to those reported in Putian. Quanzhou and Putian are neighboring cities.

Yin Li, Party secretary of Fujian province, said at a news conference on Saturday that the outbreak situation is severe and complex.

He called for resolute scientific measures and swift action to contain the virus as soon as possible.

A working group led by Li Bin, vice-minister of the National Health Commission, arrived in Putian on Saturday night to guide the COVID-19 prevention and control work.

All kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and tutoring institutions in Putian were to suspend in-person teaching starting Monday, the Putian education bureau said on Sunday.

Schools should provide online instruction for students, who are advised to stay at home and not to attend any gatherings, the bureau said.

The Education Department of Fujian Province and the Fujian Provincial Health Commission said in a joint notice on Sunday that schools and universities in the province have been asked to conduct nucleic acid testing on all students and faculty before next Sunday.

Students and teachers who are in Putian should not return to school, and those who have traveled to Putian since Aug 26 should delay returning to school and start a 14-day health monitoring, the notice said.

Putian's COVID-19 prevention and control headquarters have advised residents not to leave the city unless absolutely necessary, and anyone who must leave should first have negative nucleic acid testing results within 48 hours of departure, it said in a notice on Sunday.

Operations at indoor venues such as bars, museums and movie theaters have been suspended.

Putian city government officials said at a news conference on Saturday that viral genome sequencing of cases in the outbreak is ongoing and the virus has been preliminarily identified as the highly infectious Delta variant.

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