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Putian residents queue for tests. Photo: Weibo

Fresh Covid-19 outbreak in China prompts focus on vaccines for teens

  • Delta variant imported by adult patient who came back from Singapore on August 4 believed to be the source of infections in Fujian
  • City at centre of outbreak has shut public places, imposed strict outbound travel restrictions and told schools to step up inoculations
China has been hit by a fresh local outbreak of Covid-19, this time in the southeastern province of Fujian, prompting authorities to ramp up vaccination efforts for teenagers.

Putian, where the current outbreak is mainly concentrated, reported a total of 32 locally transmitted coronavrius cases as of Sunday afternoon, local authorities said.

The cases included 15 pupils from a primary school and eight adults from a shoe factory. Separately, Putian health authority also reported a total of 32 asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases.

The caseload marked a sharp rise from Friday’s report of one confirmed case and four asymptomatic ones and 19 confirmed and 17 asymptomatic cases in Putian on Saturday.


Covid-19 Delta variant cluster spreads in China’s eastern Jiangsu province

Covid-19 Delta variant cluster spreads in China’s eastern Jiangsu province

These include six people from two families, including three children aged between 10 and 12 years.

Another confirmed case was reported on Saturday in Quanzhou, a city bordering Putian. A total of 841 people have been identified as close contact in Putian.

Local authorities said on Saturday some samples had been sent for gene sequencing and the initial result showed the infection was caused by the Delta variant, imported by an adult patient who came back from Singapore on August 4.

The patient had been quarantined in Xiamen for 14 days after arrival and tested negative three times after returning to Putian.

China vaccinates two-thirds of population in Covid-19 immunity race

This comes after China contained last month’s nationwide wave of Delta-variant Covid-19, the worst outbreak of the pandemic since the first in Wuhan last year.

Li Bin, vice-director of the National Health Commission, led a team to Putian on Saturday to inspect and offer guidelines on the Covid-19 response.

Fujian province has deployed 456 medical workers to assist mass nucleic acid testing in Putian. The city issued a notice on Sunday to tighten pandemic controls, including shutting cinemas, bars and museums, and imposing strict outbound travel restrictions.

The city also requested schools to step up Covid-19 prevention measures, and to complete travel history investigation and nucleic acid testing of schools in areas at higher risk of infection by September 17.

It also required authorities to step up administering second doses of Covid-19 vaccines to 12 to 14 years old, and to complete vaccination for school faculty and for pupils aged between 12 and 17 before Wednesday.

The Fujian education department also issued a statement on Sunday, requiring all schools to step up on-site Covid-19 prevention and complete a new round of testing within a week.

Zhang Wenhong, director of the department of infectious diseases at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, said China still faces a great challenge in pandemic control amid the growing fourth wave globally.

“We have maintained a very proactive but also cautious prevention policy. We will never allow the pandemic to spread in China,” he said when delivering a speech at Shanghai Tech University on Friday.

“We have to pick up the pace to realise effective prevention, with a combination of fast-testing technology, vaccines and anti-virus medicine in the future,” Zhang said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: jabs efforts ramped up after fresh outbreak