Coronavirus Outbreak Worsens in Southern China

This photo taken on May 30, 2021 shows a child (2nd R) receiving a nucleic acid test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Guangzhou in China's southern Guangdong province. - China OUT (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
STR/AFP via Getty Images

Officials in Guangdong, southern China banned all travel out of the southern province and its capital, Guangzhou, indefinitely starting June 7 to contain a local Chinese coronavirus outbreak.

“Starting from Monday noon, passengers leaving Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province are required to present negative nucleic acid test results from within the last 48 hours, as the city tightens its travel restrictions to curb the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] spread,” China’s state-run Global Times reported on June 6.

“We call on our residents not to travel out of the province unless necessary. Those who need to travel out of the province must have a negative test done 48 hours before their departure,” Chen Bin, a spokeswoman for the Guangzhou Health Commission, said at a press briefing on June 6.

Guangzhou previously required residents to provide a negative coronavirus test result 72 hours prior to traveling out of the city in an official announcement issued May 30. Health officials first detected Guangzhou’s latest coronavirus infection cluster on May 21 and reported last week that the outbreak had spread to the neighboring cities of Foshan and Maoming.

“If a person’s health code turns yellow, that person should go for nucleic acid testing immediately on the same day and report the test result. Anyone who tries to conceal or make a false report will bear legal responsibility,” Chen warned on June 6, referring to a Chinese government-run health app that tracks citizens’ health status.

“From May 21 to June 5, a total of 94 cases have been reported in the city, including 80 confirmed cases and 14 asymptomatic cases,” Chen told reporters at Sunday’s breifing. “Of the nine cases reported yesterday, six were in Zhujiang Street in Nansha district [sic].”

Guangzhou city officials promptly locked down Nansha district in an effort to contain the newly detected infections. Authorities suspended all public transportation out of Nansha and barred local residents from leaving the district, according to the South China Morning Post.

Guangzhou boasts one of China’s busiest international airports. The city’s travel ban has forced Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport to cancel up to several hundred flights each day since May 30.

“As of 1:30 pm Sunday [June 6], the airport had canceled 892 flights,” the Global Times reported. “Among them, 485 were inbound, according to flight data services company Variflight.com.”

Guangzhou carried out mass testing for the Chinese coronavirus over the weekend, according to the Guangzhou Health Commission’s spokeswoman, Chen Bin. Guangzhou health officials “administered more than 18 million tests” from June 4 – June 7, Chen said at a press briefing on Monday.

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