Authorities in China’s largest city, Shanghai, confirmed three new cases of the Chinese coronavirus Thursday, hours after sealing off two major hospitals connected to the outbreak.
Health authorities reportedly detected the new infections at the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, located in the city’s downtown Xuhui District, and Renji Hospital, located in the central Huangpu District.
According to the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the patients include a 56-year-old man named Li, who works at the Shanghai Cancer Center; a 53-year-old man named Zhou, who works at Renji Hospital and is Li’s neighbor; and a 48-year-old woman named Tian, who is an acquaintance of Li’s.
“The man [Li]’s residential community in the city’s Huangpu District has now been categorized as a medium-risk area, a district official said, and all of its residents will be quarantined in designated hotels and tested for the virus,” the Shanghai-based and Chinese Communist Party-run Sixth Tone reported Thursday.
Health authorities said they began mass testing for coronavirus at the two hospitals Wednesday. About 6,000 medical workers at the Shanghai Cancer Center had tested negative for the Chinese coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, Zhang Wenhong, director of the infectious diseases department at Shanghai’s Huashan Hospital, told reporters on January 21. Workers across all Shanghai hospitals will also be tested for the Chinese coronavirus as soon as possible, local media reported Thursday.
The infections are Shanghai’s first new locally transmitted cases of coronavirus since November 23. The outbreak in Shanghai joins a nationwide resurgence of the Chinese coronavirus across northern China — including Hebei province, Beijing (which is surrounded by Hebei), neighboring Shanxi province — and Hong Kong that began in early January. Shanghai is home to China’s largest urban population of 24.28 million people. The city also serves as one of the world’s largest seaports, meaning the outbreak threatens to spread beyond the city.
The two hospitals linked to Shanghai’s latest coronavirus outbreak “are well-known around China with patients from all across the country. Statistics from the cancer center’s official website show that its outpatient visits reached 1.57 million in 2019,” the Chinese state-run Global Times reported Thursday.
Both Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center and Renji Hospital “have temporarily suspended their outpatient services, with inpatient services unaffected,” Shanghai Health Commission Director Wu Jinglei said at a Thursday press conference, according to Sixth Tone.
“Patients requiring special medical attention will be transferred to separate facilities if needed,” Wu added.