Fujian steps up epidemic control as new cases surge
Fujian province has tightened prevention and control measures to contain a surge of cases in the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
From Friday to 8 am on Tuesday, the province reported 120 confirmed cases, with 75 in Putian, 12 in Quanzhou and 33 in Xiamen. There were also 19 asymptomatic infections in Putian during this period, the provincial government said on Tuesday.
Putian has quickly imposed strict measures to curb the spread of the virus. Entrances to residential communities have been placed under tight control, with guards posted 24 hours a day to check people's temperatures, health codes and ensure masks are worn. Couriers have been told to place deliveries in designated areas to avoid people-to-people contact.
Restrictions have also been placed on road access to the city. Twenty highway entry and exit points are under strict control, with 12 sealed off. The city has advised residents to stop using public transportation, unless essential, and transportation stations, markets and shopping malls have been told to strengthen management and avoid crowding.
Tang Longjian, a community worker in Quanzhou, said the farmers' market in his community has left only two places open for residents to buy groceries. Staff have also been deployed to check the health codes, travel histories and nucleic acid test results of people trying to enter.
He said the community will implement more stringent measures and close all entries and exits except two. Only one person per household will be allowed out to purchase necessities. "This is to reduce the flow of people and minimize the chance of being infected," Tang said.
Putian and Xiamen have both suspended school openings and shifted all classes to online. The cities have also begun mass nucleic acid testing and imposed travel restrictions, telling residents they can only leave for essential reasons. In order to leave, a person must submit proof of a negative test result within 48 hours of departure.
Fujian province has deployed 122 experts, over 2,000 medical workers and four vehicles in Putian to treat patients, conduct nucleic acid testing and investigate the outbreak.
The National Health Commission sent a working group to Putian on Saturday to offer guidance.
Xiamen resident Lu Fang said people have accepted the restrictions. "Although quarantine at home is boring and children cannot go to school, these are nothing compared with our health and safety," she said.
"The measures have been taken to stop the spread of the virus. We believe these are effective measures, and we are willing to cooperate fully. If everyone cooperates, we will be able to shorten the quarantine time," she added.
The first case of the current outbreak was detected on Friday during routine nucleic acid testing at an elementary school in Xianyou county, Putian, when a 12-year-old student tested positive. Health experts suspect the source of the outbreak might be the student's father who had returned from Singapore, the city government said on Friday.