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Infection spread slowing, but Xiamen faces risks

By ZHANG YANGFEI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-09-23

East China's Fujian province reported 13 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest number in the past week following the start of a new wave of outbreaks in the province on Sept 10.

The 13 new infections on Tuesday included 11 in Xiamen and two in Putian. No new asymptomatic infections were reported.

The province has reported 418 confirmed cases since Sept 10, all currently hospitalized, according to the latest data released by the provincial health commission on Wednesday.

The dropping number means that prevention and control measures have been effective in Fujian, but uncertainties remain, experts from the National Health Commission said.

After the local outbreaks, China's top health authority sent a group of experts to Fujian to provide guidance for pandemic control efforts. The team analyzed the outbreaks and said they believed the situation has been mitigated in Putian but remained severe in Xiamen, China Central Television reported.

Although most of the new cases were infected by contacts who had been isolated, there remained a few cases reported in residential communities.

Putian, the first city to experience an outbreak, has reported single-digit new cases for four consecutive days thanks to the timely measures it took.

The city adopted mass nucleic acid testing and quarantine methods and Xianyou county, the hardest hit area, has conducted 10 rounds of nucleic acid testing to identify infections as early as possible.

Xiamen, however, is still facing risks. The experts said the number of new confirmed cases has risen rapidly to nearly 200 since the city reported its first one on Sept 12.

Xiamen has not yet cleared possible infections in the population and, as an important logistics and transportation hub in the country, the city is still at high risk of spreading the virus to other places since a large number of people had already traveled out of infected areas.

Attention should also be paid to the risk of infection within hospitals as the number of hospitalized cases has risen, experts noted.

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