Health authorities attribute the latest outbreak in Guangzhou, the capital of southern Guangdong Province, to the “delta” variant that was first discovered in India, the New York Times reported.
The city tested virtually all of its 18.7 million residents between Sunday and Tuesday, as testing facilities operate around the clock, as residents try to get up early to avoid long queues.
Guangzhou also imposed complete closures on neighborhoods with a population of more than 180,000 people, without allowing any of them to go out except to go for medical examinations.
The deputy director of the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control, Zhang Chubin, says at a press conference that each infected person has infected more people than any previous outbreak that China faced.
“The epidemic that Guangzhou is facing this time is an unprecedented adversary, which requires more resolute and decisive measures to deal with it,” he added.
The New York Times says that the health authorities’ policies in responding to the epidemic have differed since the first outbreak in December 2019, as the closure approach evolved from imposing restrictions on people to closing entire neighborhoods instead of cities or counties.
Although Guangzhou records only dozens of infections, China fears the wider spread of strains coming from abroad, especially since hundreds of millions of the population are still not immune.
And Beijing imposed a government-supervised quarantine for two weeks for travelers from dozens of countries once they arrived in the country, even if these people were fully vaccinated against the Corona virus.
The tests can lead to a possible false positive, resulting in more testing and additional days or weeks of isolation.
A German citizen who traveled to Shanghai last month said he was sent to a hospital isolation room for three days because tests showed he had antibodies, and attributed this to taking a second dose of the vaccine 16 days ago.
The German, who insisted not to give his name, said that he was subjected to continuous examinations, including swabs from the mouth, nose and anus, in addition to repeated blood samples.
The German indicated that after continuous tests proved that he did not have the virus, he was allowed to spend the remaining 11 days of quarantine in a center supervised by the government.
Many companies expect China to maintain strict travel restrictions until February, when Beijing hosts the Winter Olympics, and possibly until the fall of next year, when the Chinese Communist Party holds its party congress.