The newest surge of COVID-19 cases in China has prompted lockdowns and mass testing in at least three cities along the country’s east coast on Wednesday.
In the Fujian province, travel has been restricted in the city of Putian, with a dozen toll stations around the city already closed. For the ones that remain open, checks have now been set up to help curb the spread of the Delta variant.
On Wednesday, the National Health Commission said an additional 50 COVID-19 cases had been diagnosed in various parts of the Fujian province, with most in the Putian area.
Other cities nearby, Xiamen and Quanzhou, have also restricted travel to limit cases as the Delta variant spreads through the region.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Since the start of the pandemic, first detected in late 2019 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, China, has imposed strict testing, lockdowns, quarantines and mask wearing requirements.
Fujian has seen at least 152 new cases in recent days, prompting stay-at-home orders and the closure of entertainment, dining and fitness venues, along with the cancellation of group activities including those for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.
Long-distance bus service to other parts of the province has been suspended.
China has largely stopped the spread of COVID-19 but new outbreaks continue to occur in various parts of the country. A Delta variant outbreak in July and August spread to several provinces, raising concern about new and more contagious variants.
The National Health Commission says it has administered more than 2 billion doses of vaccine, although the efficacy of the domestically developed serums has been called into question, particularly in dealing with the Delta variant.
While the lockdowns and other stern measures have taken a toll on the economy and daily life, most of the country has overcome the impact of the initial outbreak.
Authorities are taking no chances, however. The discovery of a suspected case in Beijing’s eastern Chaoyang district prompted officials Wednesday to bar residents of a high-rise community from leaving their apartments, according to the newspaper Health Times published by the ruling Communist Party.
Students and teachers have also been encouraged to avoid traveling during the upcoming three-day Mid-Autumn Festival beginning Sunday, along with the October 1 to 7 National Day vacation.
“Even with 91 percent of students and teachers vaccinated nationwide, it is still recommended students do not leave their home provinces and stay on guard,” Wang Dengfeng, head of the COVID-19 prevention office at the Ministry of Education, was quoted as saying by the official China Daily newspaper.