Mutant strains of the Chinese coronavirus allegedly imported from India are responsible for a recent surge in new cases of the disease in China’s southern city of Guangzhou and neighboring cities, local government authorities claimed Sunday.
“Guangzhou completed its first round of nucleic acid testing for 2.25 million residents on Saturday [May 29], with 20 people found to be infected with COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] as of 2:00 pm on Sunday,” Chen Bin, deputy director of Guangzhou’s municipal health commission, told reporters at a press briefing on May 30.
Guangzhou’s new cluster of Chinese coronavirus infections was “contracted with a fast-spreading virus strain detected in India according to genome sequencing results,” according to Chen.
The latest coronavirus outbreak in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, began on May 21 and has since spread to the nearby cities of Foshan and Maoming, according to the Chinese state-run Global Times.
Local media outlets have described the “rate of spread” of Guangzhou’s virus outbreak as “alarming,” the South China Morning Post noted Monday.
Guangzhou is home to one of the world’s busiest international airports and its new coronavirus outbreak forced city authorities to cancel hundreds of flights at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport on May 31.
“As of 11:40 am, a total of 519 flights at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport were canceled, accounting for 37 percent of total flights on Monday,” Reuters reported, citing data from the flight tracking website Variflight.
Guangzhou government officials on May 29 issued stay-at-home orders to residents living on five streets within Guangzhou’s Liwan district after tracing the city’s new coronavirus outbreak to a “75-year-old woman who reportedly was infectious when she dined with friends at a dim sum restaurant in … Liwan district,” according to the South China Morning Post.
Municipal government authorities also prohibited “all non-essential activities” in Liwan district and closed “entertainment venues and markets” on May 29 as part of the lockdown orders, the Post reported.
“[O]nly one person of each household is allowed to buy life necessities every day,” the Global Times reported of Liwan district’s lockdown order.
“[A]ll entertainment venues, indoor sports venues, wholesale markets and childcare institutions were asked to close. Restaurants are only allowed for take-away orders and schools, except for junior high and senior high, must suspend their offline courses,” according to the newspaper.
People attempting to travel out of Guangzhou via airports, train stations, or bus stations must show proof of having tested negative for the Chinese coronavirus within the past three days before they are allowed to leave the city, Guangzhou government authorities said in a statement issued May 30, according to Reuters.
“Liwan’s two neighboring districts Yuexiu and Zhuhai, with populations of 1.2 million and 1.7 million respectively, both started mass nucleic acid testing [for the Chinese coronavirus] on Sunday,” the Global Times reported on May 30 adding, “The testing will last until Tuesday [June 1].”